Following the news that Kim Kallstrom had suffered a back injury during his very first training session as an Arsenal player, fans of the Gunners may have wondered if this season was about to slip away.
Following a series of injuries and suspensions, plus the failure to bring in what many feel is a much-needed goal-scoring reinforcement, Kallstrom’s blow was another unwanted headline for the club that have impressed so many this season as they surged to the top of the table.
That Manchester City are currently one point ahead of them should not be too disheartening. But what should be is the thought of a squad that had once looked unbeatable looking increasingly thin on the ground, with one bad injury to Olivier Giroud potentially bringing everything crashing down.
When the initial news came through yesterday, I took a quick look at Kallstrom’s previous injury record, and was set to write a piece on the silver-lining Arsenal fans would have been desperate to discover; because in the last four-and-a-half seasons, Kallstrom has missed just seven matches as a direct result of injury.
Given his role as a central midfielder, that is quite a statistic, and suggests his recovery-time is significantly quicker than some. Either that or he has just been really lucky.
Armed with that information, I was about to tell Arsenal fans not to panic – that Kallstrom had proved himself stronger than the ailments that strike down footballers on a regular basis.
He would be back in no time, I thought.
And then came the news that he had already been carrying a minor injury prior to his deadline-day arrival, that Wenger had sanctioned the move anyway, with a five-day programme in place to complete his rehabilitation, but that now – after reportedly aggravating the injury during a one-on-one session with a fitness coach, he was now due for what Goal call “a lengthy spell on the side-lines”.
So it appears the Gunners have been unlucky not just in signing a player who is absent before he has begun, but also one who for so long appeared to get the better of injuries, only for this one to seemingly get the better of him.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald