Of course, they are not the only club that statement could apply to but, over the years, Arsenal players have developed a reputation of being ‘made of glass’.
Whilst short-term niggles and injuries plague every club and every player at some point, the North Londoners have tended to find their season’s expectations dismantled by long-term and often serious injuries to their star players.
One of the most damaging was Robin van Persie’s season long ankle injury picked up in an international friendly for the Netherlands against Italy in 2009. Arsenal were without their star striker for six months.
Arsenal players Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby, Kieran Gibbs and Thomas Rosicky have each had their turn to suffer months on the sidelines in recent seasons. It often proves just as difficult, one fit, to find their form, fitness, and match sharpness and, in most of the above cases, it took months of poor performances to get back on track.
Former Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas’ leg break against Barcelona in 2011 left the team without their captain and playmaker for the rest of the season. His injury in April of that year proved to derail the Gunners’ fight at the end of the season, as they failed to really ‘click’ without the Spaniard in the team.
Bacary Sagna has undoubtedly become one of Arsenal’s best players over his five-year career at the club. However, the defender suffered a broken fibula in Arsenal’s 3-3 draw with Norwich last season.
He is back in training along with Jack Wilshere but both players are likely to take time getting back to their best after long and difficult times out of the game.
First choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has been out with ankle injury for over a month, whilst second choice goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has been out for the entire front end of the season with a back injury.
Kieran Gibbs, Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott have all fallen victim to the ‘niggle’ – recurrent ‘minor’ injuries that often result periodically as a direct result to an initial long-term injury.
Now, Laurent Koscielny is out after returning from international duty with France with a back injury and it is understood the medical team are, at present, unsure of an approximate return date.
Could it be another ‘what if’ season for Arsenal or will their conviction in their quest for silverware prove to be unbreakable?