Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Arteta: Squad fitness the key to success

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.

Speaking to Sport Magazine’s Sarah Shephard (photo evidence for those suspicious after the Cesc affair, here) the midfielder remarked:

“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


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the only sam is nelson

Oh the tease, he so *nearly* reminded us that a returning player would be LANS but instead he just went shy and merely danced around the idea of fitness being an alternative to signing players

obviously mikel needs more media training before he can master the full LANS press conference


Fitness to the whole squard plus a few new players and we will be spanking every team

Master Bates

maybe they should more versatile players ,Sign Poldi who can play Striker and Left Wing and Vertonghen who can play CB and cover DM and LB . Because injuries are always a step ahead and I don’t think it will be different next season. Arsenal used the most number of players this season and we always lead the injury table. Something should be done


Yeah I think you’ve got a point there in terms of the defence and up front but its hard to find CB that can play wing backs that support Arsenal’s play. We do have versatile players in the form of Le Coq, Arteta, Verm, and Song. Lets hope we can sign someone that can play anywhere across the front like Poldi.


Lets just be glad that Van persie hasn’t been injuried so far this season…

Cygan's Right Foot

Why would you even say that? If he gets injured by club wielding Barton, you’d best go into hiding


Wouldn’t it be just great if Gervinho managed to rile Barton up enough for the cunt to get sent off?

…a girl can dream, right?


lol i guess I’m not that superstitious + you couldn’t prove causation 😀


It helps if all the manager is willing to play all the fit players in the squad. If there are some players that never get on the pitch, then they are wasting a place in the squad. This means more pressure is placed on those players the manager does trust, making them more susceptible to injury. So, while fitness is a key part of success, having sufficient quality in the squad is also very important.


Why does any body need so many PUMA bags?

why is my name required

For me the spine of the team is the most important, imagine them all healthy. its possible we will be more than capable of competing for the title and europe

etc. Szczesny – Vermaelen – Arteta – Jack – Rvp

if these guys remain injury free i believe we will be steaming up the table in no time. i also think a healthy defence helps greatly


Song too but we worry more about suspensions than injuries for him :cP Oh And Bacary and Theo


I don’t know if Theo is quite as essential as the others, but I do agree about Sagna, it’s not just that he’s so much better than all the other options, it’s also not only about his consistency, but also his leadership.

Der Springer

I think that any referance to the ‘spine’ of the team must include Song. My thinking would be more like Szczesny – Vermaelen – Song– Arteta – Rvp.


And Sagna


Even the opposition defender swoons when they’re near Arteta!

Seriously though, credit to the squad, Arsene and the back room staff if we get 3rd. Its been a trying season and lets hope we can end it with a flurry despite the injuries and other shortcomings.

Save 75 cents

Wow. This is about that dimwitted reporter making the comment that what the US senator Bobby Rush did during a session needed to be done. Are you fucking kidding me?! I hope that we don’t sign more then 2 players in the off season. Even though Vertonghen would be nice I dont see a player of his caliber being happy sitting on the bench…..1 player who can play up top is what we need. With Afobe and Joel Campbell in the wings for the future I don’t think we have much need for anything else. Hell we can’t forget about… Read more »


I don’t really see the point of Vertonghen, at the moment we have 4 defenders on long term contract and are good enough to play at the back without a problem. With Squillaci still hanging around and Miquel and Bartley bleeding through the ranks, Vertonghen almost seem like a luxury we don’t need. It would be interesting to see where le Coq plays next season. I personally think we need an experienced DM to give Arsenal options to rotate in DM as there is another African Nations whatever next year. I would love to see Fellaini plying his trade in… Read more »


Verthongen represents an opportunity to add versatility, quality, and experience that we shouldn’t pass up. He can cover song and 3 defensive positions. With our injury record, I doubt he’d be warming the bench that much. I personally don’t want the club to miss out on one of the top european prospects in the last 3 years. He’s very technical for a defender, tall, strong, and seems mentally driven(Ajax Captain)…..I deffinitely see lots of merit in his signing


All good points but where will he play if everyone is fit? I personally quite like the Mert-Kos and the Kos-Verm partnerships. Fullbacks wise I doubt he can add much to what le Coq or Verminator can produce. I can’t imagine Verthongen dethroning Song or to be use as an all rounder like Arteta.


Josh – Having everyone fit is not a pre requisite to be playing at all. Form and ability also count and if someone like Kozzer was in terrible form then he’d be benched and you’d play another. Having options does put pressure on those who might just get a little too comfy in their starting spots. ALL the top clubs have this with the odd exception of course.


Thats a fair point and I thoroughly agree with you. I’m just questioning the need of a player like Verthongen that I see as a luxury not as a necessity. We do have competition that are coming through in the form of Bartley and Miquel in central defence, Nico Yennaris in full back, Frimpong and Coquelin in midfield.

Surely that resources can be better utilise in getting an experience cover for Song and van Persie and to renew contracts of key players in the squad.


Well no shit! How many seasons have we had long-term injuries to a couple major players (or those who would be major players if they weren’t always injured, see Diaby)? We see now how incredible RVP is and has proved himself to be because he’s finally fully fit. Rosicky as well. But we almost always lose 1-2 defenders for half the season to a whole season (Verminator) and another key player like Jacky boy. It goes without saying that any squad who loses 2 of their preferred starting 11 will suffer for it. But in the past couple years we’ve… Read more »

Ghana Gooner

Podolski, Hazard, and Vertonghen. We dont need M’Vila or any othe midfielder. This 3 players plus the current squad will all teams in Europe.


In fact, I can single-handedly all teams in Europe.


How can everyone still want Hazard …. after he said the other team in london was a great team i dont want him anywhere near us


You tell them, captain!


We need m-villa if song got injury who will replace him we need 4 rotation of squad


diaby, frimpong, coquelin, yennaris or lansbury.


Having a laugh? Coquelin is the only option there.
You can’t honestly name Diaby he’s is always injured and without a long term run of form I’d put him last on my list, Frimpong mentally isn’t ready yet & will get red carded immediately and miss out, Yennaris and Lansbury aren’t ready.


Do you think m villa would play as a squad rotation player? He’s a starter for the French national team. If he did come I could see song moving into a more central midfield area he currently roams into now. I personally would prefer him to hazard as we have ryo coming back from Bolton who looks class, also he is just another transfer whore who wouldn’t play for the club and we just got rid of na$ri so why get another?


i bet arsene won’t buy a defender.we have 3 world class defenders and there is djourou.besides there is miqeuel and even song can play CB.
with podolski done i would prefer another striker.maybe olivier giroud.
next season it’s going to be about our attack.we need plenty of variety upfront.

Naija Gunner

“Should be done prudently” love it @Nick, that’s just the key word for all the business of next season.

Greenwich Gooner

doubt we can sign anyone until we’ve offloaded the unwanted players like Denilson, Bendtner, Almunia, Squillaci, Vela and probably Arshavin.
Their loan clubs pay their wages but there’s a limit of 25 on the size of the squad. For too long now, ours has been bloated by players who aren’t good enough for the Arsenal first team. I hope and trust that someone’s working on sorting it all out before Aug 31st midnight


Um, you do know that players on loan aren’t included in our squad?

Greenwich Gooner

add Chamakh to the list. I hope a french club wants him back. He’s so anonymous, I momentarily forgot he exists.
Or ‘Chamack’ as the bloke in front of me last week at the Grove had on his shirt!


Injuries are part and parcel of the game. Investing in more players who can help contribute over the entire course of the campaign is one of the simplest ways to cope.


Our first 11 is quality our squad is not. We like most clubs will suffer injuries and it seems we get more than most. We need quality signings to add to the squad to be able to rest key players and hopefully we will then get less injuries. We have got away with it with rvp this season next time if he stays we may not be so lucky. We need quality signings to win things and not just a top four finish. 3 players of proven class will transform us into a club challenging for the title. Let’s see… Read more »


Ok so people have been talking about the new teen sensation Christian Eriksen. I see him in Na$ri’s mould on the left but would I take him over Ryo Miaichi. I would see eriksen being versatile and be in different positions.


A team: Szczesny –
Sagna – Vermaelen – Kosy – Gibbs
wilshire – arteta
walcott Gervinho

Bteam: Fabiansky
Jenks – Per – Djorou – Santos
Ramsay – Rosicky
OX Ryo/Arshavin

Two very fine teams. And now I remember Diaby… oh well. Point is, we’re not really screwed anywhere. Any one of the b-teamers could fill some A teamers slot and manage fine. 1-2 quality players in the right position (i’m thinking left wing at least, depending on Ryo though) along with Podolski and we’re golden.

[…] Arteta reckons they’ve been a large factor this season. In an interview with Sport magazine, he said: For me, a key thing with our squad is the injuries.We’ve been hit with important, long-term […]


Podolski, Erikson and Vertonghen


Do interviewers often sit on a cozy loveseat with their interviewees across the pond (I realize she has a recorder)? Or is she just that enamored with Mikel that she wants to be all up in his bizness?

[…] made an interesting observation in an interview with Sport magazine which I came across courtesy of Arseblog News (where would we be without it?). He’s reiterated his feeling that our best form would follow […]

[…] Arteta reckons they’ve been a large factor this season. In an interview with Sport magazine, he said: For me, a key thing with our squad is the injuries.We’ve been hit with important, long-term […]

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