Zola is as always the positive one. "Trust me”, he said in the Daily Mirror, “when we have everyone back, this team will be a different story".
That may be true but is it relevant? Does anybody foresee this happening?
We are still at the top of the injury table and 9 players will have to get back to full fitness for this to be achieved. Some are "hopeful" for the Wolves game, the OS says. If hamstrings not only had tears but also a face they would be smiling.
To get a hamstring injury back (and worse) is far easier than getting it in the first place. Also, the reasons they got them are probably still there. There is no quick fix as it's not all about doing the right warming up. It's also about training methods, training conditions, preseason work and playing schedule. In this sense, thank goodness that Christmas is over and that we are out of the cups. But the cold is still with us, and so is the physio team.
During the summer of 2008 a new physio-team was brought in by Duckers and Nani to take "Decisive action on medical matters" and to make sure we would not find ourselves in this position again". In December 2008 Italian fitness coach Antonio Pinto, with a Chelsea past, joined the crew.
I think it is fair to make the same deduction now as the board did 2 years ago - something is wrong when so many players go out with non-impact related injuries, but the solution may be another. The current fitness-buch may have to take some of the blame but then there is no fitness-/physio-team in the world that can prevent all overload related injuries. Some players just can’t take playing week in week out at PL pace. They will brake.
When teams in the top 4 need to rest players to prevent these kinds of problems they try to get away with doing so against "lesser" sides (even though Sir Alex knows now that this is not always wise). They also have PL-ready players waiting for their chance, where we need to fill the bench with 18 year olds that failed to get a game at Scunthorpe! (let it be known I think he is our future).With a paper thin squad there is no way we would ever get away with resting players against teams involved in the relegation battle. Herein lies the problem.
The Wolves game is so important that I think Zola and the staff are ready to take a chance with the health of some of the players as there are no viable options. This is also a game where the team with the best attitude will have a decent chance to take all the points so the leaders will try to get the adrenaline flowing in the players and it is more than probable that we will see two teams that go out with all guns blazing.
That sounds to me like another injury in the making and one more step away from "everyone back".