If Arsene Wenger is a religious man he must thank The Almighty every night for the current form of Jack Wilshere. After over a year on the sidelines the Arsenal midfielder has come slotted back in to the team perfectly and is looking stronger, keener and sharper after every game.
Wenger has also seen Aaron Ramsey return from a career-threatening injury at the feet of Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross, though Ramsey has arguably never been quite the player he was before that tackle. In fact Arsenal don’t seem to have too much luck as serious injuries also interrupted the development of both Robin Van Persie and Tomas Rosicky.
The player whose condition must be breaking Arsene’s heart at the moment though is Abou Diaby. The Frenchmen had an amazing start to the season and his Vieira like ability to tackle hard and charge forward with the ball seemingly glued to his foot, was a prime reason for the Gunners’ great early season form. Sadly the injuries that have blighted his career since 2006 seem to have finally taken their toll and according to a few of today’s papers Arsene Wenger has finally accepted that Diaby’s career at Arsenal is over.
Wenger said last month ‘He balances our team as he has stature and presence physically when he is there, but clearly his injury problems are a concern.’
That concern has now apparently lead the Arsenal manager into finding a replacement for Diaby with West Ham’s Mohamed Diame a clear front runner.
If Diaby’s Arsenal career is over he joins a rather sad list of players with enormous potential who never quite recovered from a bad injury.
Paul Lake – Man City’s Lake was a superb defensive midfielder or centre back who many pundits believed was likely to play a major role in England’s international team. Sadly, a seemingly minor knee injury sustained near the start of the 1990/91 season following a challenge with Tony Cascarino, was later diagnosed as a ruptured cruciate ligament, resulting in a two year absence. Fourteen operations and only a handful of games later Lake was forced to retire.
David Busst – Coventry’s Busst suffered what is arguably the most horrific injury of the Premiership era when he got stuck in a Denis Irwin and Brian McClair sandwich, resulting in extensive compound fractures to both the tibia and fibula of his right leg. There was a fear that he might actually lose his leg at one point. Fortunately Busst recovered, but his playing career was over.
Marco Van Basten – The greatest striker of his generation? Well we will never really know for the AC Milan/Holland genius never really got over what seemed at the time a basic ankle injury in 1993. He retired in 1995 with 277 goals to his name.
Eduardo – With a few months to the end of the 2007-8 season a buoyant Arsenal seemed dead certs to win the Premiership title. Then came the away game against Birmingham City where the striker Eduardo suffered a broken left fibula and an open dislocation of his left ankle following a tackle by Martin Taylor. The injury was so nasty it traumatised the Arsenal players who let their lead slip and ended up drawing the game. Some pundits believe that the game not only finished Arsenal as serious tile challengers, but also was a defining moment in the career of Arsene Wenger. Eduardo has arguably never been the same player since.
Michael Owen, Owen Hargreaves, Robbie Fowler… Who else was never the same after injuries?