Per Mertesacker Questions Arsenal Injury Management

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Defender says side have suffered at the back due to consistent injuries.

Per Mertesacker has questioned Arsenal’s injury management policies after Laurent Koscielny was forced to play two games in four days despite just returning from long term injury and having not trained.

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The German, who is vice captain of the Gunners, also spoke to the Guardian about how hard it has been to produce a consistent and robust defence at the back due to the continual chopping and changing of players.

Asked about the situation with Koscielny, who has been in and out of the side due to chronic achilles tendonitis, Mertesacker said: “One [player] came back from a long-term injury and then he is just fit for two or three days, and then he has to play.

“For example Laurent, he has to play. He cannot train for two or three weeks because we have no players left.

“It’s always tough at the moment. Players come back but they have to play immediately. There is no time or room for building automatic understanding or the kind of things you need to prepare for.”

When asked whether the problems at the back should be laid at Arsene Wenger’s feet, due to the managers refusal to sign adequate defensive cover in the summer and enter the season with just five recognised defenders, Mertesacker was hardly forthright in his defence of the Frenchman: “I’ve no idea,” he said.

“We have suffered a lot of injuries. We have to deliver results. We have a big squad but obviously we need fit players. We could do with a small break but we haven’t got a small break, so we need to prepare ourselves again for Sunday.”

Arsenal have had to contend with a number of long term injuries this season but none more so than at the back; centre back Laurent Koscileny has been unable to play continuously due to tendonitis and right back Mathieu Debuchy was forced out for three months with ankle ligament damage.

The Gunners will be hoping they’ve turned a corner with injuries in the New Year with a number of stars due back in the coming weeks.

However Arsenal’s complete lack of back-ups has meant Arsene Wenger will most likely be unable to rotate his side in their FA Cup tie with Hull City on the weekend.

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