Will Arsenal's injury crisis prove costly after another nightmare November?
By Nick Wright
Last Updated: 30/11/15 8:57pm
Arsenal's injury crisis deepened on Super Sunday as Alexis Sanchez, Laurent Koscielny and Santi Cazorla limped away from their 1-1 draw with Norwich City.
The trio join Francis Coquelin, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky in the Gunners' crowded treatment room - and they face an anxious wait to discover the extent of their injuries.
The frustrating result at Carrow Road capped a miserable November for Arsenal in which they have picked up more injuries than points in the Premier League.
Draws with Norwich and Tottenham came either side of a 2-1 defeat to West Brom, and there was also a 5-1 hammering by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
History shows it has been a traditionally difficult month for Arsenal under Wenger, and, according to Opta, their average of 1.59 points per game in November is their lowest by a considerable margin.
Arsenal under Wenger
|Month||Average PL points per game|
That average rises to 1.97 in December, but will they follow that trend this year and get their title challenge back on track? The Gunners face Sunderland, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Southampton next and, on the evidence of last season, they could find it particularly difficult if their injured players are unavailable.
Here, we look at how Sanchez, Cazorla, Coquelin, Koscielny and co fared against the same opposition in the 2014/15 campaign…
Cazorla, Sanchez and Koscielny were unable to inspire the Gunners to victory as Sunderland's most recent visit to the Emirates Stadium ended in a 0-0 draw in the penultimate game of last season, but their meeting at the Stadium of Light in October was a different story.
That day it was Sanchez who made the difference, scoring both goals to clinch an important 2-0 win and take his goal tally to eight in his first 14 appearances for Arsenal, who were already beginning to look reliant on the former Barcelona forward.
At Villa Park last season Welbeck delivered one of his best performances in an Arsenal shirt. The former Manchester United striker, who has been sidelined since April and is not due back until the new year, set up Mesut Ozil's opener and netted his first goal for the club shortly afterwards. Aly Cissokho's own goal completed a 3-0 win for Wenger's side, but it was Welbeck who had made the difference.
Some of Arsenal's injured players also shone in the reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium in February, with Walcott netting once and Cazorla scoring from the penalty spot and claiming two assists as the Gunners romped to a 5-0 victory.
Arsenal will hope to have some of their injured stars back by the time Manchester City come to the Emirates Stadium on December 21, and last season's fixture highlights how important they could be. Wilshere, who is yet to feature this season, opened the scoring in a 2-2 draw that day, with Sanchez scoring an acrobatic second.
At the Etihad Stadium, meanwhile, Cazorla was the match-winner as Arsenal triumphed 2-0 with one of their best Premier League performances in recent years. The Spain international converted a first-half penalty and provided the assist for Olivier Giroud's second. Koscielny helped keep things tight at the back and Coquelin produced an excellent display to keep the influential David Silva quiet in midfield.
St Mary's Stadium was not a happy hunting ground for Arsenal last season. Wenger was forced to name three teenagers on the bench due to injuries, and Ronald Koeman's side inflicted a 2-0 win with goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny enduring an afternoon to forget.
That game came just one month after the two teams had met at the Emirates in December. That night, Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster kept Arsenal at bay until the 89th minute, when Sanchez popped up with the winning goal.