Despite the depressing news that Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta are set to miss at least the next couple of games (probably at best a few weeks), there is still several silver linings to the injuries that rip the heart out of our first choice midfield.
Certainly losing our 2013/14 Player of the Year and captain is not ideal, but (at the moment) we have the numbers to cope with the loss and Wenger will be forced to do the following:
1. Mesut Ozil will now almost certainly start as the number 10.
Arsenal’s attack looked far more organized and fluent with Ozil in the middle of the park. If anything Ramsey’s injury will force Wenger to play the German centrally again with Wilshere likely to drop into the deeper central role.
Which leads us onto the next point…
2. Wilshere can become our new Ramsey.
Jack is coming back to his best. He was superb against Manchester City and has looked the better of the two Brits in central midfield recently. This is an opportunity for Wilshere to cement a starting spot and start producing.
He did roll his ankle rather nastily against Spurs however and has yet to be a consistent scorer. While he played on yesterday he was replaced and Wenger hardly sounded convinced as to whether he will be available over the next week or so.
3. More gametime for The Ox.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brilliant against Tottenham, and hopefully he can really push on too with options slowly depleting. He formed an exciting partnership with Calum Chambers down the right and will get plenty of opportunities to build on Saturday’s performance.
Not convinced he is ready to play in the middle yet, certainly he proved in patches last season he can do a job there, he is far more effective out wide at present. Just playing regularly will make him a better player.
4. More room for Diaby to be re-introduced (slowly).
Only a fool would bet on Diaby filling the Arteta void on a consistent basis, but if the Frenchman is able to share the responsibility with Flamini hopefully he can become a first team regular again. However this a little bit of a stretch.
Ramsey’s injury has also provided an opening in the box-to-box role that he made his own in 2012/13 for a month or so. Like I said, we certainly can’t bank on Diaby remaining fit, but if he can he would become a huge asset.
5. Another forced rest for Ramsey
Unfortunately the Welshman hasn’t hit the ground running as he did last season. Certainly he’s scored vital goals this campaign, but has been unusually sloppy in possession and his passing sometimes a bit skewed.
After a disastrous thigh injury forced him out of the game for three months last season, he returned fit and strong – the same could happen this time round. But we can only hope the injury is not so serious. Despite missing the Cup game in midweek he has played a lot of football and is a constant engine. An enforced rest may do him some good.
As I mentioned at the start, we certainly would never wish this situation upon ourselves. Muscular injuries to two of our first choice midfielders in the first half of a NLD is a real worry – what’s Shad Forsythe been up to?
There are some potential positives from such a frustrating and incredibly persistent problem for Arsenal football club. So stay positive Gooners!