Over the years several persons affiliated to Arsenal have called on the club to improve the squad when most seasons ended in disappointment. And the disappointment in those barren seasons where often borne out of the fact, that injuries had derailed the club’s season. Evidently that was shown by different statistics when Arsenal was always on top of the injury league table. This was reflected in the fact that Arsenal’s players were unavailable for more days that any other club in the Premier League last season.
In the past few seasons, the club has adopted different measures to address the injury issues that has always beset the club with the introduction of GPS device into player’s jerseys in training to determine the distances they have covered so as to know when they are in the famed red zone to prevent an injury. To that a large extent, the use of technology which no doubt is good, still did not improve the injury issues within the club.
However following the lengthy injury list last season where key players like Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wishere, Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs were out almost at the same time, Arsene Wenger acknowledged that the club will carry out an investigation into the injury issues at the club, and come out with a solution.
To this effect, the signing of the German national team fitness coach, Shad Forsythe signals a strong intent from the club to address the injury issues bedevilling the club. The 40 year old American, who has worked with the German national team for 10 years, comes with a measure of youthful zest that will change how fitness issues are addressed at the club. Although, the position of Tony Colbert, Arsenal’s long term serving fitness coach is unclear with this appointment, the American will no doubt change the way things are done at London Colney.
This no doubt marks the most important signing at Arsenal this summer besides the signing of players into key areas of the squad. The fact he knows Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski so well is already a positive for starters. No doubt he will inject some innovation into the fitness regime of the club. Especially as it concerns relapse of injuries which is a common trend at Arsenal. The fact that the likes of Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger have maintained their fitness levels at the World Cup after their injury hit seasons at Lazio and Bayern Munich respectively speaks volumes about the abilities of Shad Forsythe.
As the season opener draws near, many observers will inevitably keep a close eye on the new players that have been signed. Yet in the background will be a coach who will make sure that these players stay fit, his coming might not have been received with adulation, but his importance cannot be understated.