Ruiz Out for the Season

Yesterday’s news, but still worth a post. Per the official:

Following an injury sustained against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday 7th April, the Club can report that Bryan Ruiz sustained a fracture in the 5th metatarsal in his foot.

A small operational procedure has taken place to repair the damage, and the Sports Science team advise a 10 week recovery period, prior to any form of training

Welp, with just about 5.5 weeks left in the season, I think it’s safe to say Ruiz is done for the year. Which is probably the most logical decision as we’re not getting relegated nor are we pushing for Europe.

Ruiz came under a banner of fanfare only to be thrown to the wolves (no, not those Wolves) and make an rather forgettable first appearance against Blackburn. But by the end of his maiden season he was a magnificent cog (if a cog could ever be magnificent) in Jol’s midfield machine.

Sure, the headline stats might not back it up (just two goals and three assists), nor did he have defined role like Dembele, Murphy, or Dempsey. But it was his supporting play where he shined.

His record as a starter is 8W 5D 4L (our overall record is 11W 10D 12L), accounting for 29 of the total 43 points. Of our regular starters, he’s in top 5 in passing completion percentage with 80 percent (according to the Telegraph’s stats), while keeping a relatively low turnover and dispossesed rate (according to whoscored.com). That same site also has him only two-tenths of a point behind Dembele and one-tenths behind Dempsey for “key passes per game”.

On the other hand, he’s been notably absent in our few romps. He came in the 75th minute during our 6-0 romp over QPR, when we were already up 6-0. He was withdrawn at half in our 5-2 win over Newcastle, and we would go on to score all 5 goals with him out. He didn’t even make the bench in Fulham’s 5-0 demolition of Wolves because of injury. And perhaps its an omen or a testament to his ability, but Fulham’s record when Ruiz was subbed into a match is a paltry 1W 4D 5L.

I asked Rich if he had any thoughts about Ruiz’s injury. He said that because it was clear Ruiz was improving every match he played, its almost like 6 games of learning gone for him. Which feels like a rather big deal. Rich added that he can recharge the batteries and gear up for a full pre-season.

“Next year’s a big one for him, especially if we lose Dempsey (likely) or Dembele (possible).”

Indeed.

(Photo sort of sums him up, no?)

10 thoughts on “Ruiz Out for the Season

  1. I’m still not seeing what everyone else seems to be seeing. Ruiz still gets muscled off the ball way too easily and his passing, while occasionally brilliant, is usually abominable. Whenever he gets the ball I feel like there’s a 50% chance possession will be lost, a feeling I don’t get with any other player in the current squad (now that Senderos has been appropriately consigned to the bench). Since it seems unlikely that Jol will sell Ruiz, however, it is in our best interest to get him used to our league and this layoff won’t advance that effort one bit. Still, we’re close to the end of the season, so perhaps it’ll just be like an extended summer break, one the lads badly need given how early they had to start playing last year. Let’s hope this doesn’t become one of those persistent injuries (a la Michael Owen) and that we see Ruiz back next season with a little more testosterone.

    1. But the stats completely contradict your ‘feeling’ about Ruiz. As with the unfairly maligned Senderos (who, funnily enough, you also mention) preconceived perceptions have trumped what has actually been happening.

      There is no doubt that the Prem was a culture shock for him, but as the season draws to a close, he was becoming more and more influential. He is by far the most incisive passer in the team, and is unfortunate that several of his excellent through balls have not been finished for goals.

    1. It’s entirely possible I’ve developed a confirmation bias based on Ruiz’s early performances (i.e., I tend to notice when he sends a ball to the opposition because it confirms my belief that’s he’s out of depth, but don’t notice when he makes them). Regarding Senderos, I have to stand by that. I didn’t have any expectations when he arrived (I didn’t have an opinion of his time at Arsenal), but whether it’s because he doesn’t have the experience playing with Hangeland (who honestly is my favourite player on the team these days) or because he’s not as experienced generally (he’s played very little first team football since 2008), he seems to make one or two howlers every time he plays.

      Still, I expect both of them will be around for while, so I have hopes they’ll both mature into the sort of players we’ll need as some of the veterans age out of the squad. At 26 and 27, and they’ve got a potential 15 or so combined years they could add something to the team. On the whole, though, I think they are both still more potentially than actually valuable.

      1. Apologies if my response was rather short, but I am bored of people making assumptions then stating them as facts (mainly on certain forums).

        The Senderos issue is particularly irritating, because despite the amount of times people say ‘he is an accident waiting to happen’ almost nothing ever happens. Why people feel the need to deride a perfectly good centre back who has always given 100%, just because he replaced a player who was so underrated he quickly became overrated. Again, the stats and results would seem to show that Senderos and Hughes are much of a muchness when playing with Hangeland, and both make the same amount of mistakes.

        The other issue is that the defence in general has been more shaky this year, not because of Senderos, but because we have had almost no one protecting the back 4 for most of the season. Diarra coming in has helped, but early on Jol was playing a load of attacking players without cover for the defence. Murphy can provide some cover but he is older and has less mobility.

        1. as you know, agree all the way. Ruiz is actually a pretty good player already, but because there are some obvious issues it seems reasonably likely that he can make the step to the next level.

    1. Ha. Very good! I was going to suggest there’s a hint of Douglas Fairbanks about him. He’s definitely the footballing equivalent of a swashbuckler.

  2. He has that something a little extra that only a few players in the game have, the ability to make something out of nothing. And I agree that sometimes those attempts go horribly awry, but having seen him a bunch against the US and the games he’s been in so far this year for Fulham, I don’t see how he couldn’t be an automatic inclusion with a little upper body strength training in the offseason to shrug off some of the challenges that come his way.

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