For the record, I don’t dislike any Arsenal player but there have been a couple that have made me pretty nervous.
Mathieu Flamini was one. His ‘performance’ against Barcelona at home last season summed him up; he came on and a minute later conceded a penalty.
He was reckless and, at times, unprofessional during his second stint in north London.
I don’t believe he was necessarily a malicious player by any means but his age and subsequent lack of speed sometimes meant he would dive in unnecessarily. I was waiting for the day he broke someone’s leg.
When Flamini left, I wished him well but was ultimately glad.
Another player I’m somewhat nervous about is Gabriel.
When he first signed for us from Villarreal in 2015, he didn’t seem too bad. Arsenal fans, myself included, liked his passion and fearlessness.
However, after eight months we heard news of another injury to Jack Wilshere sustained in training. Gabriel was reported to be the person who tackled him and therefore injured the midfielder’s ankle. This injury would keep Jack sidelined for almost an entire season.
Now, I realise that Gabriel would have felt horrific about this and it wasn’t his fault that Wilshere suffered complications, which resulted in him being out for so long.
Although many questioned why the centreback is sliding in for challenge like that in training, most figured that he’d learn from his mistake.
However, I can’t help but be concerned seeing the latest pictures of him tackling Alex Iwobi and Rob Holding in training ahead of the north London derby. His studs are showing and without a video for context, I couldn’t help but wince when I saw the stills.
I understand the need to be ‘robust’ but is this a little too far?
I might just be oversensitive since I’m more or less constantly in a mild state of paranoia over our yearly injury crisis announcing itself and if he’s really dangerous Wenger would most likely say something. Although we don’t know for sure that he hasn’t.
Also, I do understand that we can’t mollycoddle our players, especially the young ones. We don’t want them scared and presumably the best way of ensuring this is to expose them to the harsh realities of the sport.
I just hope that everything’s under control.