Mikel Arteta believes that squad fitness rather than new signings will be the key to Arsenal securing success in the future.
Lamenting the fact that the Gunners have once again suffered a spate of long-term injuries to key players, the Spaniard hinted that while new faces can help with squad rotation, wholesale changes are likely to have less of an impact than a consistent starting line-up.
“Obviously if you spend a lot of money to bring in top players you have a better chance because you have a bigger squad and you can change the team around but, for me, a key thing with our squad is the injuries.
“We’ve been hit with important, long-term injuries the whole season that really, really affect the team. I always said I would like to see this team playing with the same XI for 10-15 games – then we could talk about if we were good enough or not.
“Now we’re starting to do it and we are starting to get really good results. So for me the biggest concern is to stop the injuries.”
The injuries which have ravaged Arsene Wenger’s squad have not gone unnoticed by supporters who’ve regularly, and somewhat unfairly, vented their fury at the club’s medical staff.
While no expense has been spared in creating a new medical centre capable of providing state-of-the-art medical care, it remains an unfortunate fact that luck, or rather bad luck, also plays a part in keeping players out of action.
As such, it’s rather obvious that when back-up players are called-on they need to be able to perform. If they aren’t up to the required level, they need to be replaced. It’s simple. As Martin Keown made clear recently, you’re only as good as your squad.
The full interview with Mikel Arteta in this week’s Sport Magazine, out on Friday. Or you can download the free Sport iPad App from iTunes