Arsenal’s new goal keeping recruit, David Ospina, has been ruled out of the Emirates’ Cup scheduled to commence today with the North London club trading tackles with Portuguese Priemiera League Champions, Benfica, according to reports emanating from England this morning. The 25-year-old, Colombian safe hands who happens to be Arsenal’s only and first ever Colombian, is said to have picked up a thigh strain during training. Ospina, who had a superb World Cup performance, came to Arsenal in a deal to the tune of around £3.5m and accepted to a £60,000-a-week deal offer from the Gunners. He was brought into the Arsenal fold to provide quality completion to Wojciech Szczesny, the club’s number 1 of last term.
This should elicit some worries for Wenger as only two goal keepers are registered with the senior team so far and one of them is out injured. Although the extent of the strain is not thought to be very serious, the chance of reoccurrence of injury to any of the goal keepers poses a threat to the Gunners’ challenge for titles next term. Daily Cannon started this article in somewhat sarcastic way that reflects or paints a very fearful picture if something is not done quickly. It says ‘‘ Showing that he will fit right in at his new home, the Colombian wasted no time in checking out where most Arsenal players like to spend a large part of their season- the medical room’’.
A factor that has continually plagued Arsenal’s ambition in the English Premier League and other competitions is the very heart-breaking and season ending injury spells to players especially, ones in key positions. Some have said it is a result of over-stretching the players by virtue of the lack of credible replacements while others have simply laid it on the inefficiency of the team physios and other back-room staff responsible for the athletes’ optimal performance and general well-being. Long injury spells to important players like Robin Van Persie, Eduardo, Bacary Sagna, Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, in the recent past have had great impact on the North London side’s ability to challenge effectively in the English Premier League and also in Europe.
Even though, Arsene Wenger snapped up the German National Team physiotherapist and athletes’ performance expert, Shad Forsythe, just before the 2014 FIFA World Cup began in Brazil, the inevitability of injuries to players is something well beyond their control. The best fitness coaches and team physios could do in matters concerning injury is to ensure the speedy recovery from wound, strains, sprains and fractures, as they are not known to perfectly prevent injuries from happening. Wenger obviously became very keen on alleviating the problem of injuries and quickly moved for the American expert, who he believes is the man to help his players recover quicker. This must have become a priority with the discovery of a study by www.physioroom.com, which circulated in the football circles that Arsenal players spent more time on the side-lines last season than any other team’s players. At a point in the title challenge last season, Arsenal topped the Premier league injury table with 13 players in the London Colney treatment room, which included star men like Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott. Arsenal Chief Executive came out after this study to assure supporters that there would be a thorough investigation into both how and why the club have such a poor injury record and thankfully enough, Shad Forsythe, came in this season.
Arsene Wenger, to reduce the effect injuries may have on the goal keeping department of the team, should as a matter of emergency bring in another goal keeper who is willing to learn from Ospina and Szczesny, in a new acquisition deal or promotion of Damian Martinez who fits the bill perfectly. That way, while Shad Forsythe would be working to enhance a record time recovery for any injured goal keeper, Arsenal would still have a good stand-in player who could grow into that position, just as Szczesny himself did.