Raymond Verheijen speaks the truth(?) about Arsenal's injury problems
In the last few months, Raymond Verheijen (ex-assistant manager of Wales and professional fitness critic) has been piping up about Arsenal. Although he's annoying and harsh, pretty sure there's some truth to what he says. It's clear we have a massive injury problem at Arsenal, and none of our staff seems to be able to figure out the problem. Verheijen claims it's incompetence, and I'm inclined to agree.
On Arsenal's training methods (March 2014):
There is a pattern at Arsenal, and it repeats itself every year, it is a no-brainer.
It is a general problem in football, if you do too much too soon, in the first few weeks of pre-season, you develop shorter-term fitness. If you do the same amount of fitness work spread over six weeks, you develop longer-term fitness that will last for 10 months.
On the "misfortune factor" (March 2014):
An injury could be bad luck but that is the exception to the rule. In contact sports occasionally there is an unlucky injury but most injuries are a result of overloading the body... doing the wrong workload at the wrong time or in the wrong sequence.
Clearly something is going wrong. If you look at the law of the big numbers, something in the last ten years is going wrong. It’s clearly incompetence but it’s unconscious incompetence. The only way you can improve is if it’s conscious incompetence, so you’re aware of it.
If you are in denial, you are blaming the outside world for the injuries and not looking in the mirror then you will stay incompetent. If it happens occasionally then this is a gut feeling. If it happens regularly, over 10-12 years, then coincidence is out of the question.
On Arsenal's pre-season problems (March 2014):
The problem is with the way [Arsenal] train in general, but especially in pre-season.
Over the years I’ve spoken with many Arsenal players and in certain periods of pre-seasons, they are trained as if they are in the Marines, rather than playing in the Premier League. When you [train like a marine], first of all you develop short-term fitness. If you do it gradually then you’ll build-up long-term fitness for nine-10 months.
If you get fit really quickly then you develop shorter-term fitness that only last around 3-4 months. This is the traditional way of training, that players are hammered in preseason, and this is obviously an issue at Arsenal but they are not alone - our friends in Manchester are the same.
By training so much in a short period of time you accumulate fatigue. When you get fatigue your nervous system becomes slower and that affects your coordination and the control over your body while you’re doing maximum explosive activities.
On Theo Walcott (March 2014):
Look what happened with Theo Walcott , he was out for a long period. They brought him back really well [in November]; he played 25 minutes, then 25 minutes then 45 minutes - so phase 1 of that rehab is building up match fitness - they gradually built up the game minutes and they did that really well. But Arsenal play two games a week, not one. This has nothing to do with match fitness but that you only have three days to recover not six days and you don’t have the recovery time.
They played Theo five times in 16 days (90 mins) so instead of edging him in, they played him 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, so you accumulate fatigue, your nervous system becomes slower and fatigue is one of the biggest reasons for ACL injuries.
ACL injuries often happen without the fault of an opponent, often it happens with an innocent movement you’ve made a million times in your career. If he plays five times in 16 days, the nervous system becomes slower and his muscles around his knee are slower to contract, destabilising the knee.
If the signal arrives a fraction of a second late then you are starting the movement with an unprotected knee, so you get injured. it’s one of the main reasons why ACL injuries happen, the signal gets to the knee too slowly and the ligament ruptures or snaps.
On Aaron Ramsey's injury (Dec 2014):
[Ramsey's] injury record at Arsenal is simply shocking for such young player.
On the pattern at Arsenal (Dec 2014):
Robin van Persie is only 31 years old but more and more starts to look like an old man on the pitch because of all damage done to his body during his Arsenal period. The same career threatening process takes place at Arsenal with Ramsey, Walcott, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain who are structurally injured.
Players who are injured season after season develop all kind of weak links inside the body so a vicious injury cycle develops during career. Thankfully, Fabregas was able to escape Arsenal after a few years so the amateurs in London did not get the chance to also destroy his body.
On Aaron Ramsey's latest injury (Feb 2015):
There are two solutions. Either Arsenal sort themselves out or Aaron has to go to a club where training is more balanced. It's one or the other. The medical staff can only cure the problem but football coaches cause the problem because they are responsible for football training sessions.
Ramsey's injury problems are due to the context in which he is working.