Wilshere and Vermaelen out for months: how badly will this hurt us?

Jack Wilshere: out for two to three months.

Thomas Vermaelen: out for two months.

My reaction: siiiiiiigh.

Vermaelen is out for two months

It’s hard to keep a smile for more than a few days around here, isn’t it? We get thumped by Manchester United, respond with some of our most spontaneous and exciting transfer business in many a season, and now this!?

If this weekend’s match against Swansea marks the real start of our season — the first game since Wenger’s transfer splurge — it is a real shame that we will be about this pair. But it should not stop us getting three points against a promoted team that is destined to struggle through this season.

The bigger issue is how badly Wilshere and Vermaelen’s absence will hurt us over the next couple of months.

Following the exits of Fabregas and Nasri it is safe to say that Wilshere and Vermaelen’s importance is as high as it has ever been. Along with Robin van Persie and Bacary Sagna they are our two best and most consistent performers, as well as two of our best distributors of the football.

The biggest problem I see is that Vermaelen’s absence will slow the integration of new signings Per Mertesacker and André Santos. With two new defenders set to be thrown straight into the starting team, it could cause more of a disruption than we would ideally prefer.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Wenger has a word to Mertesacker and puts him in charge of matters at the back. He will undoubtedly be paired with Laurent Koscielny at the back and in my opinion the pair have huge potential. While Koscielny might have been at Arsenal for a season longer it will fall on Mertesacker to use his experience to take control to make it work.

Further forward Wilshere’s potential three-month absence robs us of the unique energy and heart that only he can provide. My view is that Wenger will opt for a midfield three of Song, Ramsey and Arteta but I fear they may be a little bit too one-paced. In my mind there is nobody to move the tempo up a notch and that could be problematic in the bigger games.

The best way to alleviate any concerns with pace in the midfield trio is by ensuring we have as much pace as possible on the flanks and by encouraging new signing André Santos to attack as much as possible. This would give us an air of unpredictability out wide, solidity and technical quality in the middle of the pitch and offer the best way to cope with the losses of Vermaelen and Wilshere.

Let me know what you think.

* * *

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  1. @ John – You’re right but… “The bigger issue is how badly Wilshere and Vermaelen’s absence will hurt us over the next couple of months.”

    That’s what I focusing on, rather than just the weekend’s game.

  2. I have a bad feeling that this might hurt us. Especially in defense, Vermaelen was massive for us. He provided the vital aspect of leadership for us. But now, both of them are injured and we have to face reality. Just hope Mertesacker will fit in straightaway. Or whatever it is, we should hope that our team comes through this phase without much damage and pray for the speedy recovery and return of the injured duo.

  3. Ah just wanted to clear that up cos I thought maybe i’d got it wrong and that I would be pleasantly surprised to see song back this weekend! Sadly not. Anyhow as u correctly say the bigger issue obviously is vermaelen and wilshere….I think both are going to hit us very badly sadly. Vermaelen has been an absolute rock and one of the few positives at the start of the season. Wilshere also is probably in our top 3 players and certainly top 5. Any side missing those 2 players will be hit hard but especially us given the loss of nasri and fabregas already and our already defensive frailties. Mertesacker is not in the class of vermaelen simply cos he does not have his mobility. He is a good signing and a good player but is not the same. He doesn’t have Vermaelen’s mobility and never will and it is asking a huge amount of him to come in and dominate the back 4 straight away.

  4. If Mertesacker turns out to be the world class defender we all think he is, then we are ok. I swear, I am worried about his lack of pace. As per cover, I think we all overlook Ignasi Miquel. I mean, he is just a year younger than Phil Jones and is taller (Miquel is 6’4″, Phil is 5’11” according to Wiki). Miquel is fresh from winning the U19 Euros with Spain. Yes, he needs to put on some more bulk, but I think he is intelligent enough to act as cover, along with Djourou.

    If you think the midfield is too slow, then bring on Santos to play as a left sided midfielder. He is done it before for Fenerbache to devastating effect.

    I think we will be alright, but only if Mertesacker performs.

  5. From the vidoes i saw for Santos i beleive Arsene will use him as LW rather than LB and may push arshavin in the midfield to play behind striker or to link midfield and forward. He would have thought about Vermaelen and Gibbs as LB which now would worry him a bit.

    Without Wilshere i think the midfield will constitute Arshavin/Ramsey,Arteta/Rosicky and Song/Frimpong based on the need of the match.

    Losing Wilshere would be a big loss compared to Vermaelen at the present moment

  6. the present arsenal squad is made up eternally sick and injured. There is hardly any fully fit player. It will not be out of place to call this squad of walking wounded. How come such a high paid manager, coaches and a team of supposed to highly professional doctors do not see the men they are signing are weak and fragile when fully aware the tough schedule of epl where only the toughies to survive three quarter of the season. Get rid off the shits like djurou and diabys (both cry babies) though so young but hardly fit. The blame lies with the management for the present spate of injuries and no one else. .

  7. It’s all about the result on Saturday. A draw and we will be the laughing stock. I’m happy with Mertesacker but I think Arteta is past his best.

    I honestly don’t know what’s in the soup at Arsenal but we seem to get injured far too much. We’re like a bunch of hot house flowers. It’ll be RVP next and then Walcott. I’m very hopeful about Frimpong. He looks like he got guts and talent. Long may he stay off the soup.

  8. We will definitely miss those 2! I am not too worried though because we have more depth since the splurge (It really doesn’t feel like were still missing 7 players!). We have a capable Koscielny and the ever reliable Sagna to cover for Mertesacker’s apparent lack of pace. To be honest, I think he will manage because he is class.

    I agree with Andy with the monotonous midfield and the flank-attack if we did end up with Arteta/Ramsey/Song trio but it could work for us because we will be more stable and be more direct when coming through the middle. I think we will miss Wilshere’s offensive contribution but this is why I think Frimpong will be important. His energy and reckless but effective tackling will give the side a boost when he makes them ball winners. Also, we can unleash the Ox on the wings to provide some creativity (5 assists in 2 under 21 games! nice!) when Walcott gets frustrated and can’t be bothered anymore.

  9. This is the reason we needed a defencive midfielder. Any ways Mertesacker can cover the height but on the ground his current international game shows that things didnt go well for him. But if sagna and santos can assist him good things can go good cox Kocielny will be useless when it comes to central defending. Arshavin should be be replaced by Ox. The guy is plying nuts in every game losing ball like some kid seriously. But hopefully new signings will give us a reason to believe more firmly again!

  10. Mertersacker is good for us cos we concede more from set plays, rather than from open play. He could stay back and sweep.
    I would like to see Arteta and Benayoun start in midfield though.
    What of Miyaichi? I need this guy to show his pace somewhere, sometime.

  11. Please Is Almunia still training with Arsenal squared? I have been looking at the squared pictures at training and not a single pic of Almunia.

  12. I think he’ll start with Mert and Ateta and have Santos on the bench – he might see it as to big a risk to try to start with three new players in the one game.

    I think the loss of TV and Wilshire will be felt less once we have the suspended players back and if we can keep clear of other injuries in the meantime

    Cover for RvP is my big concern – who is going to take his place when he inevitably gets crocked?

  13. Thanks for the posting Drew,desperately need in these parts.
    I agree with Terry I think Per and Arteta will get a start but I think Santos may also.
    He’s more rested than the others and I think when you have a guy with 27 goals from the left back spot over the last 6 years and so far you’ve scored 3 goals in three games
    well, it’s worth a go.
    I’m worried quite a bit really. Not that we shouldn’t beat Swansea but the same could be said about WBA last year and let’s face it the baggies handled us.
    Plus there is the hard-luck element to deal with. Red cards,own goals, plain old screw ups, gosh, we’ve pulled it all over the last few seasons.
    I guess what I could really go for is a good old fashion… 1-nil to The Arsenal.

  14. Good luck for today!! I’m off to work now, and I’m looking forward to the 13 th, I can watch this match, and you know, I live in Dortmund !! 😉

  15. @Opus
    Who knows? Somewhere he can do us no harm.
    I just hope he stays there and keeps Seb Squidiki with him.

  16. @billi,
    Good start by your Westphalians,they look sharp and Kagawa’s runs are extremely dangerous. My wife is from Ibbenburen but she hates football and anyway her Dad was a Munster supporter. Oh dear, Bayern just scored an offside goal. We could use a break like that. What are the chances?

  17. It’s a win,but nothing to get excited about,U know what’s the most annoying thing about this new season,it’s not the arsenal sluggish play,not arsenal players defending while waiting for the team they are playing against to the cross the ball into the box,instead of preventing it,it’s having to hear that arsenal are playing for 4th position,yet it’s a new season,we are playing for trophies not runners up positions.

  18. One thing I seem to not understand is to catch the quality of Ramsey – What is there? Passing was regular.. tackling is weak.. the one time he had 4 arsenal Players wide open for a simple pass- he screws that up royally…Quality?? Really? I dont think he will be a great player in the long run..just an average one…
    But other than that, the team is simply lacking spirit and leadership.. it’s like they are just showing up for work.. no belief this year in them..everyone can see that (“just do whats needed to keep your job attitude”)..

  19. Well you guys can be as pissy and negative as you like. We NEEDED that win and got it.
    We needed a clean sheet to get the 3 points and got that too.
    Mertesacker can defend and not only can Arteta pass well he’s not beyond dishing out a kicking if and when called for.
    Everything is going to have to be hard fought for this year even 4th place.
    Snivelers and faint hearts may as well tune out now.
    Let’s hope we suck and get a clean sheet win midweek and then perhaps go for another next weekend. That would be my most ardent wish.

  20. I hate people complaining all the time about the team. We needed to win and we won today, Period. I don’t want to know who played well and who did not. Thanks you guys you made me proud and happy today.

  21. High all, not long back from Upton Park, goals goals goals and shit defending, but the 3 points was welcoming in the end no matter how it was required. Good night all. Up de ammers

  22. What am afraid of the ho lucky the in was. What is the keeper hadnt made that silly mistake.More worrying is how United are scoring goals for fun and at worst how Mancity seem to be playing from Mars. At this rate it is realistic to think it may be a tag of war ith Liverpool for 4th spot. Our finishing is again pathetic with the exception of Frimpong the only one capable of taking a shot. Ramsey is indeed a shadow of Fabregas and he will never be him. Only Wilshere can come close . Ramsey is indicisive and slow in passing the ball other than rotating around with it. He never makes decisions to be direct if he has chance to penetrate like Fab did.Per was in all fairness descent.Wilshere doesnt seem to play well on the wings and its high time AOC and Miyachi begun their trade as we partner him with V.persie.

  23. It is clear Wenger still does not reward form, but squad seniority/experience. Overall, the players did very well. If only Walcott could be rotating the wings alone leaving Arshavin in the middle to do his assist work, then we could be scoring 7,8,9 goals. Why MUST Arshavin ROTATE too? Why cant he play in the middle? This is where our manager is indeed short sighted. Arshavin is the assist master, a kind of 8,10 player….can we stop making this guy run down the flanks to defend?
    Now that Gervinho is back, he can do the vice-versa swapping with Walcott. Where is MIYAICHI wenger, where is PARK? I wanna see them soon. I cant wait to see them play competitively for us.

  24. The lack of Wilshere and Vermaelen will cost us points, undoubtedly. This squad is cobbled together from last minutes signings and a makeshift patchwork of current players. We still lack depth, experience and playing time as a unit.

    If if were not for Arshavin’s instinctual talent to pounce on that (dare I say it) Arsenal-like mistake, we would be bemoaning and lament more dropped points against a newly promoted side.

    Thankfully we escaped, just barely, will all three points and can hold our heads up going into CL play. Whether that will be translated on the pitch into anything positive will be revealed tomorrow.


  25. @1ntta,
    Howdy old timer, haven’t seen you over in these blog parts for a spell.
    Fair enough, we won a game on somebody elses f-up,
    What comes around just keeps going around,
    Clean sheet and an opportunity goal. a for sure pinched up fininsh but hey, we got over the line with all 3. The team was shakey at the end but held on. Full kudos to them. Perhaps we’ve exhausted every possible way to blow a game and now we’re on to something better. Anyway I’m not one to look a 3 point gift horse in the mouth and anyway I don’t speak greek. I figured if nothing else you more than anyone would have appreciated the scoreline hyuk,hyuk… BTW what would you think of us scoring a cheap goal in Westphalia tommorow night and clinging on for the away win or is that not good enough?

  26. @leftcoastgooner,

    Howdy friend. As the great Lefty Gomez of the New York Yankees once said, “I’d rather be lucky than good”. I’ll take any victory anytime, anyhow. Maybe it IS time for a return to “1 Nil to the Arsenal” until we find our scoring boots again. But without Vermaelen that will be a tall order, unless Mertesacker finds instant partnership with Koz. Not exactly Ferdinand and Vidic, but maybe, just maybe, they will find a way to get some confidence in front of net and string some decent games together.

    Tactically we must adjust more quickly to our new reality, and actually try and play some DEFENSE, and maybe use Ateta’s creativity to attack on the counter with the pace we have.

    Regardless, looking forward to tomorrow.


  27. @1NNTA,
    As the great port-sider Jerry Koosman of the New York Mets once said.
    “Geez fellas I’m really broke.” Just kidding. Yep it’s going to be a stretch without Thomas V. But looking just now at our last CL clash with BVB a 2-1 away loss another Thomas (Rosicky) score 2 for the home side. We still went through on a 3-2 aggregate and an away goal.
    That got me thinking though is there any chance that Le Boss will try Rosicky in the midifeld on the emotive hunch? Just ruminating.
    Take it easy dude,

  28. Word is @Leftie that Rosicky and Ramsay are both crocked tomorrow’s game. The Gooner Hospital Ward just keeps expanding!

    I want to see him blood Miyachi and Park and Ox-C soon as we desperately need an injection of pace and skill up front. Walcott is really pissing me off Whoever described hm as a county grade sprinter masquerading as a footballer was spot on.

    But I am hopeful that the new signings will settle in and we can see some of the old spark return.

  29. @Terry
    Do you think your above mention trio is ready for an away CL match with the current Bundeslige Champs? I’d also like to see them get a start especially Park whom I rate as a real competitor but I think tommorow night at Dortmund will be a lions den, perhaps not the ideal locaton for unvailing fresh erm,,, meat.
    However, with the training table an SRO affair you have to go with what you have.
    Who knows but there may be a lion tamer in our midst. We’ll find out soon enough.
    I gotta tell you I just finished watching MNF here and I’m already getting nervous about tommorow night. I think there is some possibilty we could win this outright. Borussia has had at best a mediocre start but Gotze was given the weekend off (that backfired really)
    and I think they’ll be hungry for it. In our favor we have more CL experience and being the away side less pressure. Because of course, a draw in Germany works to our advantage they will have to commit to the attack completly. For this reason alone we will undoubtedly get opportunities on the counter. The question is can we finish them?

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