Not a problem. We are well stocked in the goalkeeper area and have plenty of cover. We are also well stocked in the central midfield area and have plenty of cover. Oh, hang on, that last bit is wrong. We are well stocked in the central midfield area and have very little cover. It’s a strange one isn’t it?
For the majority of the season we’ve all highlighted just how unbalanced the squad is. In some areas we are weak and have only one senior player to fill the role. In others, such as central midfield, we’ve bemoaned the fact that we have so many on our books. Where are they now though?
Injured, that’s where they are now!
Currently our central midfield injury list contains Dan Gosling, Kevin Nolan and Danny Guthrie while Alan Smith has not long returned to training after five months on the sidelines. That leaves us only Cheik Tiote and Joey Barton as fit, recognised, first-team central midfielders which is pretty poor in all honesty. We could call on some kids for Chelsea, but call on too many and I fear we could get our backsides kicked at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Injuries happen, but they happen a lot more to our players for some reason. How can arguably our strongest area on the pitch be decimated by such a string of injuries?
In fact our whole squad has been ripped apart through injury for the bulk of the campaign. Hatem Ben Arfa has been out for most of the season, Steve Harper has missed a lot of football, likewise Steven Taylor, and we missed Andy Carroll for a month before he became Judas Carroll and trotted off to Liverpool where he remained injured for a further six weeks. Jose, Shola and Barton have all been missing for a few weeks and then there is Stephen Ireland who popped his head in the door to use our treatment facilities.
When you look at all that it does kind of make you wonder how we have managed at times during this season. It also leaves me wondering what could have been had we had even half of those players available for the majority of the campaign. I’m under no illusion that we’d have more points on the board. How many though is the question, albeit a redundant one.
So whilst it’s the midfield injuries that are currently hurting hurting us I guess it’s not exactly out of kilter with the rest of the season. We’ll cope, because we have to, much like we’ve done for the rest of the season.
As I said, it makes you wonder just what could have been. Either that or it makes what we’ve achieved this season that little bit more special. « Two more friendlies added. | Orange call up for Krul. »