Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that injuries to key players has been the main reason behind the Gunners failed Premier League title bid this season.
The Gunners led the English top flight for much of the first half of the season but fell quickly off the pace after the turn of the year to leave them battling for Champions League qualification once again.
Arsenal have lost the likes of Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil to injuries in recent months and the French manager insists that his side were unable to cope without so many of their key players. He said:
When we came out of Christmas, we were in a strong position and what you want then is to have your strong players available in March and April. We had too many injuries.
It is very, very difficult – you can have one or two, but after that when you have too many injuries you always have to play the same players and that is detrimental to the efficiency of the group.
The regret we have is that too many players were out at the same time between Christmas and April.
Wenger, whose side have now secured Champions League qualification thanks to Everton’s loss to City, feels that victories against big teams would have seen them still have a fighting chance of the championship. He added:
The restriction we had was in the big games, when we only made draws and not wins in some of them, that is where the missing points are at the moment because we are very close to the top.
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Maybe one or two wins at home would have made that difference.
The regret we have of the season is that we have been remarkably consistent, (but) it is against the teams who did not fight for the Premier League title – and especially away from home in some of the big games – we could not claim the points.
The Gunners have topped the charts for injuries throughout this season or we can say for many of the past few seasons. We can talk about the lack of depth in the squad, but when we strip five key players from any Premier League side, they are liable to struggle, as Arsenal have done lately, dropping out of the title race.
The injury problems have hit a new low this season and it has cost them the title. They led the league standings as recently as February, but now are condemned to a top-four place and it is the fitness issues that has caused so many problems for Arsenal in the past few seasons.
We could have claimed the title had Ramsey and Walcott in particular remained fit throughout the season but it wasn’t to be.
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