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Arsenal have 6 players injured for every game. Injury Review of the Season – Part 2

Untold Injury Review of the Season – Part 2, the Totals.

By Dale Higginbottom

In part one of this injury review series we looked specifically at the injuries incurred as a result of players taking part in matches for their respective national teams. Obviously this is only a small percentage of the total injuries suffered by the top teams (13.26% in fact) so we really should take some time to look at the overall figures. Indeed, that is what this series of articles was intended for and I started the research to see if Arsenal’s bad run of injuries over previous seasons was actually bad luck or whether it is actually the case that every other title-chasing team faces the same injury issues.

So, after a season of collecting this data, I can now present to you the final totals and it certainly makes for interesting reading.

Team Injuries
Goalkeeper Defence Midfield Attack Team Total
Tottenham 9 94 97 23 223
Arsenal 39 60 98 24 221
Man Utd 9 42 107 22 180
Man City 7 49 50 39 145
Liverpool 1 65 45 22 133
Chelsea 0 45 70 9 124
Position Totals 65 355 467 139 1026
Position % 6.3% 34.6% 45.5% 13.6%

So, as I’ve been saying in pretty much all of my weekly round-ups, Tottenham and Arsenal suffer the most injuries. United are distant third and City, Liverpool and Chelsea were very lucky, finishing a way behind the leaders.

Breaking it down into areas of the pitch we notice that teams had their problems in different areas of the pitch. For Arsenal, this season it was in goal and 60% of all the goalkeeper injuries of the top-six teams have been suffered by Arsenal players. With Almunia, Fabianski and Szczesny all missing games through injury this season, it’s certainly been a difficult task for Arsene to manage Even the on-loan Mannone (who is not included in the figures) had an injury whilst with Hull City. A lot of talk last summer was around Arsenal signing a new goalkeeper however, the injury figures have really shown that it can be quite a risk pinning hopes on one player and it’s certainly a squad of good goalkeepers that is needed for any league campaign.

Tottenham have clearly gone all out to show that when it comes to injured defenders, only one team can be King (or should that be “King-ed”). It is clear (and has been all season) that the Tiny Totts needed fit centrebacks to have any chance of competing for Champions League football. However, injuries to Woodgate, King, Dawson, Gallas and Kaboul meant that they all missed large chucks of the season and a cohesive defensive unit could never be formed. Just 8 clean sheets in the league really does say it all.

It makes sense that most injuries come from the midfield. Midfield players are often the hardest working in the team, running the furthest, making numerous challenges and often changing direction and pace. The top three all had similarly high midfield injuries whilst Chelsea suffered well over half of their total injuries in midfield. City and Liverpool got off fairly lightly in midfield, City’s total of 50 was in fact, largely due to lengthy injury to Michael Johnson.

Up front it’s all pretty even. Man City hold a bit of a lead in this area however, the majority of these injuries came from Tchuimeni-Nimely (14) and Balotelli (15) so maybe it’s been quite a balanced season for attacking injuries over the top-six teams.

In my final injury index of last season I commented on the average injuries per game. For Arsenal this was 5.8 and I made a point of saying that when you have an average that high, you are pretty much guaranteed to be without, at the very least, one 1st XI player every game. Now, we’ve seen the totals but how have these injuries looked on a game by game basis?

Team Injuries
Team Total Per Game Average Lowest Week Score Highest Week Score
Tottenham 223 5.87 2 10
Arsenal 221 5.82 2 9
Man Utd 180 4.74 2 8
Man City 145 3.82 1 8
Liverpool 133 3.50 0 7
Chelsea 124 3.26 1 5

I think the per-game average put things into context quite well with Tottenham having on average, almost 6 players per game out through injury. That, when put up against bottom of this little table, is almost 3 injured players more than Chelsea had to contend with. The contrast can also be seen in the range where Tottenham’s best and worst weeks were double those of Chelsea.

Man City, the team that finished closest to us in the league, had on average 2 players fewer unavailable for selection due to injury than us. That’s quite a big gap when you’re talking about the difference between 6 and 4 players. In fact we can say that Man City had only 66% of the total number of injured players that Arsenal had this season and Chelsea only 56%. It’s these sorts of differences that, over a long season, can see points dropped or gained and ultimately the difference between 2nd and 4th in the standings.

I’m not going to dwell too much on these figures as whilst the total numbers can be a quick and easy reflection of injuries, they can’t truly reflect the importance of the injuries to individual players. A Premier League team can fairly-well manage 5, 6, 7 injuries per game and have squad players to come in and do the business. Where it gets tricky however is when those 5, 6, 7 players are your 5, 6, 7 best players and it’s this factor I want to look into in the next review.

More to come…

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12 comments to Arsenal have 6 players injured for every game. Injury Review of the Season – Part 2

  • Dark Prince

    Injuries need to come down more. Plus we also need to bring in a few more players to share responsibilities during hectic months. I remember during last season when we had around 8 matches in 22 days… You cant expect players like Wilshere and Cesc to start all of these matches. If you have some quality players who can replace them during injuries, then the chances of getting injured too might come down.

  • tinalex

    Hie, Untold, this post is unrelated to the article but may interest you. How, about writing an article on EPL players linked to arsenal so far, in the transfer window. To date we have been linked to Reina, Given, Enrique, Baines, Samba, Cahill, Barton, Defoe, Odemwinge, larsson, Phil Jones, Hagreaves, Jegielka, and many more. I would appreciate if you can assemble a “team” of those EPL names which the press and other fans want us to buy, and allow forumists to judge whether the “team” will challenge for the title next season.

    Remember the press and other fans are saying if we do not buy these players we will not challenge for top four let alone a trophy. I therefore want forumists to judge whether the suggested names will form a team that will challenge for top 4 let alone for trophies.

  • walter

    Somehow I got a feeling we werent suffering that much compared to last seasons with injuries. But the figures show that we still had far too much injured players.
    The difference with last season was that I think we didn’t suffer them all at the same moment in the same compartiment. Except the goalkeepers maybe?

    The difficulty is to have players who can step in and who can be patient enough when they are not playing. I remember Diara being such a player having to wait to play, wasn’t patient enough and went away.

  • bob

    @Critic: What’s interesting to me in your link to Barca’s woes is that they publicly state an amount that is available for the upcoming transfer budget: 45M. Whether or not it is real, or just put out there to calm anxious fans, quien sabe? Maybe they can afford to state this because they are, after all, World Champs. I wonder if everyone else, include Arsenal, needs to keep their available amounts a secret or risk being subverted in negotiations. Or would it be a breath of fresh air and give we, their fans (with no right to know ANYTHING) something real to consider? Any thoughts?

  • bob

    @Walter, Tony: I think it would be interesting to elicit an article about injuries from a former medico/trainer’s point of view. Or for you guys to do an interview with one such person and publish it. There’s always lots of accusations flying about the ineptitude of our medicos and our training methods. An interview with someone in the professional know and in the trenches would be most welcome on today’s topic.

  • Anne

    @bob:

    I have to agree that I myself find it curious that Sandro Rosell seems to go out of his way to blab about Barca’s financial problems in the media to the high heavens…I mean, it’s one thing to admit that the club has some financial problems, but it’s another to almost wax poetic about it in every single interview.

    Maybe he’s just trying to appeal to voters by showing them how committed he is to getting the club’s finances in order, and then when everything turns out ok, he’ll be able to claim credit? But I must confess to a nagging suspicion that this relates somehow to Rosell’s attempts to back out of a rather rash campaign promise to sign one Cesc Fabregas…I don’t know…just sayin’ 🙂

  • Anne

    @Dale:

    Very interesting post on injuries that tends to put certain things into perspective, I think. Personally, I think it’s very difficult to talk about Arsenal’s slump towards the end of the season without also mentioning the injuries to their back line.

  • critic

    @everyone

    don’t say anything, just laugh. Sandro expects to raise money by savings on photocopies…..nothing can be more hilarious than that. Oh wait! there’s one – european chmaps are bankrupt and they have a bonker president….

  • snehal

    seems the cesc story has been picked up by the bbc – so you can write a thousand articles about cesc staying but i think he’s off

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/13928823.stm

  • snehal

    bbc dont print crap

  • Micko

    @snehal
    “bbc dont print crap” – you’ve obviously never read Phil McNulty’s blog !