Fitness coach Raymond Verheijen has blamed Arsene Wenger for Arsenal's injury problems that threaten to throw the Gunners' title challenge off the grid this season. The north London club lost Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott in their 3-0 loss to Sheffield United, in the fourth round of the League Cup and find themselves in some sort of a crisis, with lack of options on the right hand side of the field.
The Gunners already have a series of injuries to key players, with Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky all out with long-term setbacks. Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey are also out of contention with injuries, leaving the Frenchman with a threadbare squad to choose from ahead of their trip to Swansea this weekend. The players will also be unavailable for their trip to the Allianz Arena to face Bayern Munich, whom they recently defeated at the Emirates to resurrect their fortunes in the Champions League.
The problem of an accumulation of injuries has been haranguing Arsenal for the better part of the last decade, with many a title challenge falling through owing to lack of proper injury management. In the 2013-14 season, when they spent the maximum number days on top of the league compared to other teams, an injury crisis saw them lose in-form Ramsey and Mesut Ozil, which resulted in them falling to fourth spot.
Verheijen, who has often spoken of Wenger's methods in the past, this time has criticised the manager for not paying enough heed to fatigue. He feels that this is the root cause behind his players' failure to go an entire season without getting injured.
"If you look at the facts, what you see is that Arsenal are the number one by far in terms of injuries in the last decade in the Premier League. In particular, you have this group of young players who are consistently injured for months, season after season. We are talking about Ramsey, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere and also in the past Sagna, Van Persie and Fabregas," Verheijen told talkSPORT.
"The main reason for injures in football is accumulation of fatigue because when you accumulate fatigue over time your brain has less control over your body and your coordination goes down and then you are vulnerable to injuries.
"The question is: who is the main reason for fatigue? The main reason for the fatigue is the fitness football coach because he is responsible for the planning of training. Arsene Wenger is responsible for fatigue and injuries and the medical staff can only cure the problem," he concluded.