By Avenell Dave
We all know what problems Arsenal has had with player fitness over the years.
Whether it's down to limited sides trying to beat us into submission with heavy challenges or the speed of our passing forcing opponents into committing leg-breaking fouls, us Addicts know all about losing players in the long term.
We have our fair share of fragile players as well of course - Tomas Rosicky and Robin van Persie tend to get more than their fair share of injuries.
It's not unusual for us to be stretched to breaking point and the suitability and efficiency of the Arsenal medical staff then gets questioned.
But I can remember times over the past year when we've had Armand Traore hobbing around, Gael Clichy crocked, William Gallas suffering, Bacary Sagna limping and still we have to patch together a defence with pain killing injections and rookies.
In midfield, I can think of times in the past TWO years when Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Rosicky, Theo Walcott, Denilson and others have been carrying knocks or been unavailable due to injury.
And I can think of times when RvP, Eduardo, Vela, Nick Bendtner and Andrey Arshavin have simply not been fit and still we've managed to put a side out.
My point is two fold.
On the one hand, it says much about our maligned manager Arsene Wenger that despite these problems, he still manages to keep us competitive throughout the season.
Yes, we can lament the lack of quality and experienced buys and the willingness to throw the FA or Carling Cups which would at least get the 'five years without a trophy' monkey off our backs.
But the other point is that while transfer windows are a restraint of trade and help to raise the price of sometimes limited players as the deadlines draw close, they at least set parameters by which all clubs have to adhere.
Middlesbrough had a virus a few years ago and called off a game because they only had kids to field. It may have been a ploy or entirely genuine but the Premier League came down hard on them and the points deduction effectively caused their relegation come the end of the season.
So why on earth does the Premier League allow Manchester Citeh sign a decent goalkeeper outside the window just because their first choice gets injured?
Yes, the Champions League place is still up for grabs and that could mean the difference between players staying or going or coming but isn't that the point of a squad?
We've had to use Citeh's own Stuart Taylor in the past when he was a Gunner and injuries had struck and to say he's not good enough is the Citeh management's fault for not buying replacements they had confidence in rather than a problem that should require special treatment.
Why sign a Faroe Islands goalkeeper if you're not going to be prepared to use him if the need arises?
I don't agree that the goalkeeping position should permit different rules to the outfield players - it was Citeh's management who decided that while Joe Hart was out on loan, the Gunnar Nielsen and Taylor would be sufficient back-up.
I have to say that I want Citeh to get fourth. They'll have incomparable spending power whatever happens while the likes of Villa and T*tt*nh*m will start being able to attract a different type of player if they reach the European elite.
But if the Premier League are to allow Martin Fulop to sign, what sort of a precedent does that set for the rest of us when injury crises hit???
And Arsenal know better than most how damaging an injury crisis can be.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if Wenger came out on Friday criticising the Premier league for allowing Citeh to bring a player in outside the window, regardless of the fact that they ahve something to play for.
It makes a mockery of having the transfer window in the first place and undermines the integrity of the whole competition.