Gabriel Jesus was probably Arsenal’s best player before he was struck down by an injury which was supposed to derail Mikel Arteta’s side. But the Gunners have retained their five-point lead and are now favourites to win the Premier League.
The Brazilian won’t be the first key player to miss a big chunk of a title-winning campaign should they go all the way. Here are 12 others whose absence could have been costly but wasn’t…
Andy Cole (Manchester United, 1996/97)
Cole started just 10 Premier League games after Neil Ruddock broke his leg in two places. Initially the defender said it was an “honest challenge”, before revealing the truth having retired from football.
“I didn’t mean to break both of his legs if I’m honest – I only meant to break one. It was excellent because he let the ball run past him and I absolutely destroyed him. Again, I know it’s not big and it’s not clever, but it was great.”
Apparently Ruddock didn’t like Cole as the striker didn’t get on with Ruddock’s pal, Teddy Sheringham. Deserved it, then.
Ian Wright (Arsenal, 1997/98)
Wrighty top-scored for Arsenal in each of the first five Premier League seasons and scored 10 goals in the opening 19 games of 1997/98 before picking up a hamstring injury, and that was sort of it for him at Arsenal. He came back briefly at the end of the campaign but had by that point been usurped by Nicolas Anelka. Wright left for West Ham in the summer.
Ryan Giggs (Manchester United, 1998/99)
Jesper Blomqvist started as many Premier League games as Giggs (20), who missed three of United’s Champions League group games with one injury and recovered just in time for the final at the Nou Camp having missed the semi-final second leg win over Juventus with another.
David Seaman (Arsenal, 2001/02)
Richard Wright and Stuart Taylor stepped up as shoulder surgery ruled Seaman out for 19 Premier League games. There was a bit of a concern Seaman may miss the World Cup in the summer of 2002, but he returned in plenty of time for Ronaldinho to end his career with that lob.
Roy Keane (Manchester United, 2002/03)
United didn’t feel the effects, because Keane was already out with a knee injury, but he was suspended for five of the 15 Premier League games he missed for revealing to the world in his autobiography that he meant to f*** Alf-Inge Haaland up.
Arjen Robben (Chelsea, 2004/05)
The sidekick to Mateja ‘Batman’ Kezman, it’s fair to say Robben rather…
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