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Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 37

Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 37

By Dale Higginbottom

It’s the penultimate league game of the season and any players with injuries now will surely be looking forward to a long summer of recuperation. With the title now decided and league positions almost sorted you can understand if there is a lack of a little bit of drive and motivation in some players but is that the reason we lost against Villa or did injuries play some part? Let’s have a look.

Arsenal Vs Aston Villa

Arsenal (8 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – Fabianski (16)
  • Defence – Clichy (2), Djourou (5), Koscielny (3)
  • Midfield – Diaby (19), Fabregas (11), Nasri (7), Rosicky (3)
  • Attack – No injuries reported

Additional issues: Vermaelen’s first game back, he played 90 minutes.

Blackburn Vs Man Utd

Man Utd (4 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – Lindegaard (8)
  • Defence – Rafael (8), O’Shea (8)
  • Midfield – Hargreaves (36)
  • Attack – No Injuries reported.

Additional issues: Evra was a doubt for the game but was on the bench. He was an unused substitute.

Chelsea Vs Newcastle

Chelsea (3 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Bosingwa (13), Bertrand (1)
  • Midfield – Zhirkov (15)

Additional issues: David Luiz was a doubt but was on the bench, he was an unused substitute.

Two games for the Tiny Totts in this round-up, first last Tuesday

Man City Vs Tottenham

Man City (3 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Boateng (12)
  • Midfield – M Johnson (32), Barry (2)

Additional issues: Richards returned to the squad and played the whole game. Tevez also returned to the squad and was an 83rd minute substitute. Zabaleta was replaced after 57 minutes, picking up a bloody nose.

Tottenham (8 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – Gomes (6)
  • Defence – King (30), Woodgate (10), Hutton (6), Assou-Ekotto (5)
  • Midfield –Huddlestone (21), Bale (6), Jenas (4)
  • Attack – No injuries reported.

Additional issues: Modric, Palacios and Crouch were both doubts but both started. Palacios suffered a recurrence of his injury and was replaced after 32 minutes. Gallas picked up a knock and was eventually forced off late in the game.

And this weekend

Liverpool Vs Tottenham

Liverpool (6 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Kelly (9), Agger (20), Aurelio (14)
  • Midfield – Gerrard (12), Jovanovic (7), Meireles (2)

Additional issues: Carroll returned to the starting eleven after a long spell out, he played 88 minutes.

Tottenham (10 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – Gomes (7)
  • Defence – Gallas (8), Woodgate (11), Hutton (7), Assou-Ekotto (6), Corluka (5)
  • Midfield –Huddlestone (22), Bale (7), Jenas (5), Palacios (9)
  • Attack – No injuries reported.

Additional issues: Modric was a doubt for this game but started and played the full game. Van der Vaart and Rose both had to be replaced during the game, after 53 and 82 minutes respectively.

Well, back up near the top of the injury chart with eight players unavailable. If you were looking purely at injuries as a reason for good or bad performances, we’d have a good reason to show why we lost on Sunday. Obviously however it’s not always injuries that determine the level of performance as the Tiny Totts, the first team this season to record double-figures, have proven with a 2-0 win at Anfield. A pretty good result, all things considered, but everyone can have the occasional lucky day and after Tuesday’s defeat, it’s all too little, too late.

Back to Arsenal and I have shown in a previous article that there is a stark difference in results when we have over seven players out injured and again, this seems to have shown this weekend. It’s also important to note that we were without three of this season’s starting back four and arguably our two most creative players.

Of course, we still had chances and could’ve levelled the game or even won it but, unfortunately the ball just didn’t want to cross the goal-line. Again, we hit the post and how unlucky do we have to be this season? I read one statistic (I cannot confirm if it’s correct) that had all the chances that hit the woodwork in all the games this season, Arsenal would be clear champions. We really must be doing something right if we’ve had that many shots come back off the bar or the post and it shows that games and championships can be decided by the smallest of margins, one or two inches in fact.

Well done United though, wow that’s painful to say but over the season they have been the better side. Ultimately they’ve not been hit too hard with injuries and again, only recorded four unavailable players, but what they have done well is that when players have been injured, the squad have stepped up and done the business.

Chelsea, with nothing to play for, could only muster a draw against Newcastle and with only three injuries they should’ve done better but you can forgive their lack of sharpness at this point in the season.

We have just one game to go I’m sure everyone’s eager to get some stats for the full season of injuries. Well, to satiate your desires here’s a quick look at the top three injuries for each team.


Arsenal

  • Vermaelen (32)
  • Frimpong (29)
  • Diaby (19)

Tottenham

  • King (30)
  • O’Hara (23)
  • Huddlestone (22)

Chelsea

  • Benayoun (25)
  • Alex (22)
  • Zhirkov (15)

Man Utd

  • Hargreaves (36)
  • Valencia (25)
  • Ferdinand (14)

Man City

  • M. Johnson (32)
  • Tchuimeni-Nimely (14)
  • Balotelli (14)

Liverpool

  • Agger (20)
  • Aurelio (14)
  • Gerrard (13)

If you simply look at the top three injuries for each team you can see that every top-six manager has had to deal with long-term injuries, some more than others. Every team has had at least one player that has missed at least half of the season through injury and more often than not these are important players. The one exception is Man City who have been without Michael Johnson for most of the season but this is arguably not a key player and you could also say that of the other two players in their top three.

The Tiny Totts have actually got a fairly similar top-three list to us; one important defender, one fringe player and a strong midfielder. We all know about how we’ve missed In fact it’s interesting actually that Diaby has made it into the top three. I think losing him and not having Ramsey for most of the season and that, coupled with Denilson’s dip in form, has put a lot of pressure on young Jack, particularly when Fabregas has also been on the sidelines or in and out of form.

United have the one single player with the worst injury and to be honest, have probably missed him quite a bit. Their weakest area in the team is in central midfield so Hargreaves would surely have been a regular in the squad if fit.

Chelsea and Liverpool have been fairly lucky that their players have not been missing for quite a long as some of the teams and in Chelsea’s case, only Alex from their typical starting eleven makes it into their top three.

I really hope we can get something away at Fulham and that City will slip up in one or both of their last two games. The thought of a possible draw in the Champions League qualifiers against Bayern Munich does concern me so let’s hope Stoke want to play for their pride and avenge the FA cup defeat. Come on Arsenal, three points at Craven Cottage please.

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6 comments to Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 37

  • walter

    Dale, I must say I didn’t realise untill now that we are back to were we usually are around this time of the season.
    Our most important players out and missing a lot of players.

  • Gb

    Walter
    If this happens every season then surely it is no coincidence?
    Wenger has to change his training methods and probably the type of players(less injury-prone) he buys. He can also rotate much more.
    Why don’t you make an article about that? It would be interesting.

  • Charlie

    Walter i just wanted to return to an Arsene friendly base to inform everyone that Arsenal have the 18th highest net transfer spend in the EPL over the last 8 years. The two teams below them are Blackburn and Newcastle (who will presumably spend the money they received for Carrol very soon). Even Blackpool have a higher net transfer spend. I think what Wenger has achieved within such financial contraints is nothing short of miraculous. The mere fact that we’re talking about missing out on the league rather than facing relegation is an achievement but to stay in the top 4 while 17 teams are spending more than you for 8 years is incredible.

  • Gb, I am not sure your analysis is correct (oh and let me add that the article, as it has been all season, is written by Dale, not Walter).

    If you look at our injuries there is nothing much to link them together. Certainly if you look at our three longest term injuries…

    Vermaelen (32)
    Frimpong (29)
    Diaby (19)

    then it is clear. Vermaelen was injured while playing in an injured state for Belgium. Frimpong got the injury at the start of the season, and it can happen to any player, and there is no way out of the knee injury, and Diaby just seems to be very prone to injuries every time he comes back.

    Yes, at the moment we have long list, but that is more a reflection of the way in which lower teams play against our style of football. It is not the medical team, but the fact that we play pure fast football, and the refs will not protect us when clogging teams come in and kick us to bits.

  • Bobby Pliers

    Tony, totally agree that the root cause is more down to the league we play in and the culture of English football. If Barcelona were to play a season in the Premier League I am certain that their type of football would draw in some horrendous challenges from some teams. It amazes me that over the course of a season the trio of Xavi, Iniesta and Messi are a fixture. Messi wouldnt be able to manage 51 goals in our league because a) he would get kicked to pieces, b)he wouldnt be protected as he isn’t English.

  • walter

    I think most of our long term injuries are down to playing for a national team. Van Persie two seasons in a row, Vermaelen this season. All long term injuries and nothing to do with Arsenal.