With several players unavailable due to soft tissue injuries, back in October I asked whether the club would be reviewing their training practices and Joe Montemurro revealed the club were conducting an internal investigation to determine the faultlines in the spate of muscular injuries that dogged the team during the autumn.
Ahead of tomorrow’s London derby with West Ham, I asked Montemurro what the outcome of that investigation had been. “One of the big things was the infrequency of training because of the changing schedules was really hurting us. You might have a normal load leading into a Sunday to Sunday schedule, then we’d have a schedule change and we would have to push the load up a little bit more to get the players ready in a shorter space of time. That was definitely one aspect.” In October, Arsenal had cup ties arranged at relatively short notice away at Manchester City and Chelsea, both of which were midweek fixtures.
“We had to be better in terms of testing and then re-testing. We test the players (on muscular elasticity for example, to try to pre-empt muscular injuries) and we had a couple of scenarios where we probably should have re-tested and followed up more frequently. That was probably also down to the infrequency of training due to the schedule (players will have recovery sessions after games but not full training sessions).
“That has changed a little bit because we had to change training schedules quite a lot. We have better frequency and regularity now and we’ve had better consistency in our training.” Montemurro says the investigation just revealed some small tweaks were required, “No big excuses from us on that one, just some things we need to make sure we flag and follow up on.” Ahead of tomorrow’s game, Joe revealed that Jordan Nobbs is fit for selection after missing last week’s game with a tight calf. Steph Catley (hamstring) and Viki Schnaderbeck (knee) are the only players unavailable for selection.