Tuesday, June 18, 2024

5 alternatives to the Gulliver Theory about Arsenal injuries

Following up on the highly researched, completely serious and not at all tongue-in-cheek Gulliver Theory posited yesterday by the Guardian’s Barney Ronay, we’ve come up with five more completely serious and not at all tongue-in-cheek literary-based theories as to why Arsenal pick up so many injuries.

Please note that use of these theories in academic papers or over-earnest blog posts about the current injury situation is not only welcome, but highly recommended. It will make you look super smart and stuff.

1 – The Captain Ahab Theory

Wenger’s attempts to sign French Under 19 international Ishmael Pequod should have been a dead give-away here. In the great novel, Moby Dick, Captain Ahab seeks out the white whale who bit off his leg on a previous voyage, leaving with him a whalebone falsey.

It’s a metaphor for the way that Arsenal’s seasons have been brutally undone by injury. Think of the broken legs suffered by Eduardo and Aaron Ramsey, while after the 1-1 draw with Norwich on Sunday, Wenger said that Santi Cazorla ‘played the second half on one leg’.

Cazorla is Ahab, seeking revenge in his tiny, always smiling way, on the whale that cost him both limbs, ultimately doomed to a watery death as the great creature sinks to the bottom of the ocean while he is trapped by his own harpoon.

Joel Campbell, the last man alive, floats about on some flotsam until rescued by a free transfer to Huddersfield Town.

2 – The Stand Theory

In Stephen King’s epic post-apocalyptic novel, The Stand, the world has to rebuild following the outbreak of a virus from a secret military facility. The pandemic kills off 99.4% of the world’s population, bringing about a battle between good and evil as Randall Flagg seeks to gain dominion.

The virus, known as ‘Captain Trips’,  is eerily reminiscent of the problems suffered by Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta. His calf problems affect his balance, thus causing him to stumble or, indeed, trip.

It’s also highly likely that Stan Kroenke is the darkness that lurks in this world, using his wealth to build a secret underground laboratory beneath the Arsenal training ground. From time to time tiny amounts of the virus are released, this debilitating certain players, making them more susceptible to muscular injuries.

What we’re witnessing is the precursor to the end of days. Arsenal players are Guinea Pigs until Standall Flagg, dare we say it, unleashes the virus on the rest of us, leaving Robbie Savage wandering the desolate wastelands ‘M-O-O-N, that spells … er … I dunno …’

3 – The Game of Thrones Theory

In George RR Martin’s novels, nobody is safe. Your favourite character can end up being slit from belly to throat just when you least expect it.

In the Kingdom of Wengeros, the quest for the Iron Throne (Premier League), comes with many casualties. The Red Wedding is what happened when Mathieu Flamini and Mesut Ozil invited the team to their nuptials, many men were lost that day.

Arsenal are a team of Tyrions, tiny little men who consistently have the shit kicked out of them by oafs, ogres and bullies. Even their own version of The Mountain, Per Mertesacker (The Tree), can’t protect them.

Aryan Ramsey has to survive with his tiny Needle, set upon by Roose Bolton Wanderers, while Jack Wilshae is forced to sell his body for medicine.

Ultimately, they’re all Littlefinger because that’s the only bit of them not broken.

4 – The Catch 22 Theory

Arsenal get a lot of injuries, thus are reliant on a smaller group of players. Lacking the depth to rotate properly, those players are more likely to succumb to problems based on fatigue and over-playing, and thus spend time on the sidelines. The previously injured players come back but because there are other players out injured, they’re over-played and get injured, just in time for the other injured players to return and take their places but because there’s little in the way of rotation they end up getting injured again because they’re playing too often. So when the other players find some fitness again … and so it goes.

5 – The Ulysses Theory

Arsenal are one of the richest clubs in world football with fantastic resources. They have a supremely intelligent, deep-thinking manager at the helm. They have state of the art training facilities, the best equipment, highly qualified medical staff and the best in sports scientists.

They have invested heavily in data, performance management and the latest technologies when it comes to treatment such as weightless treadmills, cryo-pools and more.

A veritable glut of new staff have been recruited, including Head of Performance Enhancement Shad Forsythe and a number of new specialised physios, strength and conditioning coaches, muscle mavens and fitness experts. Yet still, season after the season the injury situation never gets any better.

Like Ulysses, it’s f**king baffling.

Feel free to chip in with your own theories below.


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the only sam is nelson

it’s definitely the James Joyce one


Why do I keep hearing Jenkinson counting numbers in my head…. “1 in 1”, “2 in 2”, …..

Now, we are in “3000” in “3000” ffs!

Am I going nuts or what?

the only sam is nelson

He’s got no hair but we don’t care….

or, to put it the James Joyce way: Bald he was and a millionaire, maestro di color che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it, it is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.


Put 4 & 5 together for the Finnigans Wake theory…

Bould's Eyeliner

The Picture of Mourian(ho) Gray: Mourian(ho) once received a portrait of the Arsenal Invincibles team, as a gift from a friend, a portrait so lovely that he soon grew bitter with envy that the portrait would remain forever etched in perfection in the record books, that he wished, longingly that whatever harm may become him, would instead be placed on the portrait instead. Unbeknownst to him, his wish came true, and he soon discovered the fact when he tripped over the massive cunt of John Terry, and did not suffer a single injury-he should have lost his leg. A young… Read more »


6 – The November’s a Cunt Theory


Next year we should all do Movember, this is a campaign for men’s health, so may help Arsenal’s November health.



We’re not going to have forced nut squeezin’s and proctological fingerin’s are we?

I guess if it’ll help with injuries…


Just grow a moustache in November ie do less shaving than usual.


The Hunt for Red October Theory –
A Scottish man with a Russian accent arrives (in October 😉 ), and all the players spend the entire month using up all their energy to impress the man so he defects to Arsenal.
Ultimately Hector Bellerin decides he can be the only player with a weird accent, he decides not to defect and everyone is dejected as they’re now stuck on a submarine, Alexis Sanchez is doomed as he can’t swim

Clock-End Mike

Ah, but the Russian October is really November in the rest of the world…


Shrondinger’s Theory
If Aaron Ramsey was put into a box with an unstable and radioactive Ryan Shawcross he would be both injured and uninjured at the same time. Indeed, this theory would also be true if all Arsenal fans refused to watch any more of our matches, our players would be in both a state of injury and fitness at the same time, freeing up a gang of ultra fit clones to operate in our midfield.

Le Jim

Lord of the Rings: Lots of people die and get injured and stuff when we go to Stoke because ogres and shit. Yeah.

50 Shades of Gandalf the Grey

Lord of the Rings: Times are dark, the dark lord Saurinho has just returned. Through his evildoings and curses injury has festerred itself amongst the Fellowship of the Arsenal. Our great wengalf the grey has fallen, coming back as wengalf the white. The injury problem is slowly corrupting the rest of the fellowship, one by one they are falling into darkness. As usual our Wilshomir was the first to succumb to the evil conjured in the firey depths. So too were Dannyadock brandybeck, Alexagorn sanchez, Theorin Speedyshield and santdir the dwarf affected by the power. We pray that our stout… Read more »

Kenyan Gooner

Blogs, I bet if Wenger could stand in the middle of the pitch, stretch out his arms and scream to the injury gods, ‘Are you not entertained?!’. Maybe, just maybe, that would be the end of our injury problems.

Le Jim

Well, beats mine, I guess 😉


There is a plot needed so that source of evil be consumed by the Flame of Ozoldruin.


9/10 – where is der Ent?


I think Nevil Shute’s masterpiece On The Beach quite accurately reflects Arsenal’s medical problems: everybody dies, nobody is spared.


Though not a theory, Murphy’s Law sums up Arsenal situation.


I’m just relieved that in theory 1, Joel Campbell got out while he could.


I was going to go for the Benjamin Button theory, but clearly that’s Chelsea’s story as there is no way Costa is not older than 35 years old.


The Matrix theory –

Wenger….”There’s a glitch in le matrix……”


The anti Lance Armstrong theory…

Hater of Terry, The Scum, the Spuds and the Mug smashers

The Breaking Bad theory One Kronke, a drug lord from Colorado notices that the Arsies make the best Meth in the world (Blue in color in fact). Rather than kidnap the Arsies to Colorado, he decides that he can take over the Arsies kingdom and kill two birds with one stone by penetrating the European market and acquiring the best workers. Since Arsies are great at fleeing, Kronke ensures that they are crocked all the time. At some point, Abou the Diaby was crocked for years because he was the best at meth making. Now that the demand for Meth… Read more »

Nick of Gunners

42 theory
Some people say that if ever we ever get the answer to the great question why Arsenal get so many injuries, the world will vanish and will be replaced by something even more inexplicable. Other people say that alredy happened.

Rip Van's Winkel

The Immanuel Velikovsky theory, where he postulates that the Earth is glanced by a comet every 30,000 years, and the rotation of the planet is reversed so that the sun rises in the West End and sets in the East End, causing
the Poles to reverse, so that people spontaniously start smoking, even in the shower. I think it happened on last
Sunday, when Alexis and Özil fell into black holes, where they were consumed by photongraphers.
He was poo-pooed by all the other theorist in the 50’s, but he’s having the last laugh now.

Wendy Grindle

The injuries are clearly caused by Wenger’s healthy eating policy. No alcohol in the players’ restaurant, probably only grilled fish and spinach on the menu. We never had these injuries in Tony Adams’ day, when the team trained on beer and Mars bars.


The Big Break Theory: Two brilliant scientists Arsene Wengstadter and Shadon Fooper come up with a theory to make nerds into sturdy football players. Unfortunately, Arsene falls for the next door neighbor Penny Pincher and loses interest in funding the project. Now Shadon is in complete control of the project and he starts out a new experiment (called Fun With Arsenal Player Flags) in which he tries to collect players from different nationalities and see how robust they can be when exposed to Gamma radiation. Unfortunately, none of the Arsenal players are able to withstand Shadon’s crazy experiments and they… Read more »

El Doctor

The No Country For Old Men Theory The universe we inhabit is made up of a series of extremely complex, interconnected processes – many of which, for all of our science and technology, we still as yet barely understand. In the face of such overwhelming complexity – in this case as regards the multiple underlying processes contributing to football injuries – it is far easier for the psyche to cope by just attributing blame to a single individual instead. Who better to scapegoat, then, than the man who has been at the helm of your club for twenty years, as… Read more »


The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thingy: In the beginning Dr. Wenger handled the football well and everything was beautiful. But due to a great evil called useless referees he was forced to take a drug that would make his players tougher. This made them crumble at crucial times, especially in November where the men got injured and played like shit and the next match they were exhausted due to the drain of the evil drug. He was also the only one to not use EPO as a drug.


I like the ulysees theory

Many people who go on about how good football we play,cant be watching most games.
most who go an about james joyce’s book have never read it and if they tried to would find it as impenetrable as arsenes logic.

how about the battlestar galatica or matrix theories.what happened before will happen again and repeat in endless cycles and parallel universes.


The Bram Stoker Theory Just after Arsenal Sign Cech last summer they finally complete the signing of Vlad Dragomir a Transylvanian Youth who has played over 600 times for the romanian U21s. Vlad is a full blooded tackler, whose all action style often sees him arriving in the box as if by mist. He can’t break into the first team as he is terrible with crosses not only that but Vlad is markedly better in flood lit cups and is often pale and wan during more traditional kick offs. Slowly all the rats start to disappear around london colney, then… Read more »


The X-files theory — Cigarette Man decided that Arsenal will never field a healthy first XI. (Apparently he’s been trying to recruit Sczesney to his side.)


Or how about this version of the Matrix theory:

The construct of the world we have been jacked into, controlled by the Pundchines, is not reality. We all need to take the Red&White pill to be free of it. Then on to wage battle with Agent Deanho.



The World According To Garp. First line reads, ‘In the world according to Garp everyone is a terminal case’.


Yeah, I’ve had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and what we’ve come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: People aren’t wearing enough hats. Two: Matter is energy. In the universe there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person’s soul. However, this “soul” does not exist ab initio as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man’s unique ability to be distracted from… Read more »


The “8 mile / Lose Yourself” theory: Because of nerves, our players go into games with their knees weak and arms heavy. Cazorla even vomited on his Arsenal sweater before the Spurs game! Things like this obviously lead to more injuries. It also explains why we choke in some of the big games, they keep on forgetting the tactics Wenger writes down…

Kenyan Gooner

Who then says that Wenger doesn’t rotate? Like blogs says: “The previously injured players come back but because there are other players out injured, they’re over-played and get injured, just in time for the other injured players to return and take their places” Injury automatisms.

David C

I never knew y’all were so learned.

Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

The trolley problem theory: The Boss is on a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. He can see two men, Arteta and Flamini tied down to the track and unable to move, but he can see Diego Costa tied down to an alternate track, and all the Boss has to do is activate a switch to injure Diego Costa instead of Arteta and Flamini. He activates the switch but Mourinho comes from behind a large tree near the alternate track, unties Diego Costa, and ties down both Kosciselny and Gabriel instead, having cunningly abducted them from a Charity event.… Read more »


No new theory I’m afraid, but I just wanted to thank you all for some brilliant ideas – a number made me laugh out loud. I declare 42 as the winner, although Schrodinger’s Theory came in a close second.

Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

You are too kind. Do I win a blender?


The Goodfellas theory

Everyone is on drugs and having a great time. Even Jamie Vardy’s having a party behind Claudio Ranieri’s pizza front.
But some people just won’t do drugs. So Robert de Niro and Joe Pesci sneak round and break their knee ligaments with baseball bats.
Flamini has been spared because he’s a “named” guy and untouchable, and no one will mess with his best mate, Özil.
But there’ll be a happy ending when Lionel Messi ends up having to join the witness protection scheme, signing for the Arsenal under the pseudonym of Nicklas Bendtner.

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