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Fighting adversity: this group of players is just amazing

By Walter Broeckx

Arsenal sitting one point behind the league leaders at this time of the season is somewhat what no pundit really expected. They have been waiting for weeks and months for the moment we would drop away. But here we are with 11 games to and the league table is what it is.

Now whenever I hear the pundits talking about the fact that we will not make it I miss something. Now the fact that we might not be crowned champions at the end of the season is of course something that can happen. I can’t tell the future. But can they? When you hear them talking about the other ‘hot favourites’ I wonder how come that we still are that close to them. They should have been out of sight for us by now but yet we still are very much in the title race.

But what I do miss from the pundits and from those non-existing part of our fan base is the fact that we are there and when you look at one league table we really should not be there at all.

I am talking about the injury league table. I regularly check it myself. And when I look at this table I feel sad and oh so proud. I will not bother you with the complete injury league table in this article. But I did take out the most important bits. Taking out the teams who are in the top of the regular league table. And one team a bit further but just to show the difference between us and the rest. A bit of the popular phrase: mind the gap.

So I will show you an extract of this injury league table. Where they give one point for each week a player cannot play because of injury.

Position Team Injury weeks Average/week
1 Arsenal 203 7,5
2 Man United 147 5.4
5 Liverpool 136 5
7 Tottenham 128 4.7
14 Man City 109 4
18 Chelsea 76 2.8

Now in this table Arsenal is sitting in first place and when you look at the total of injury weeks we suffered there is a gap between us and the team in second place and that is Manchester United. Mind the gap I said… We have had 56 more injury weeks than the team in second place.  That means that on average we had 2 players more injured than Manchester United each week of the season. Arsenal had on average 7,5 players missing each week.  And yet we are where we are. I find this amazing.

Liverpool is in 5th place overall and there is a gap of 67 injury weeks of 2,5 players more injured each week than they have had.

 

Our neighbours down the road have had 75 injury weeks less compared to us and that is a gap of just under 3 players each week on average. Arsenal had almost 3 players more injured than Tottenham. Their overall league position in this is place 7.

 

But if we look at the money teams that are Manchester City and Chelsea it gets completely remarkable.

 

First of all we have to fight Manchester City and Chelsea on an uneven play ground. Their financial doping is very bad for us. Not only for us but also for most of the other teams in the league of course. So we have a big handicap on that front. And yet we are in second place right in between them.

But on top of that we have had almost the double of injury weeks compared to Manchester City. We had 94 more injury weeks than they had. Or on average about 3.5 players more injured each week of the season. Mind the gap I said? And yet in the league table we are in front of them. Manchester City league position overall in this table is place 14.

 

And when we look at the numbers from Chelsea it is getting ridiculous. Arsenal have had 127 more injury weeks than Chelsea. In fact you could say that Arsenal has had 3 times as many injuries than Chelsea so far this season. Please let this sink in.  Counted in players we had almost 5 players more injured each week of the season compared to them. And yet we are only one point behind them in the league table. Chelsea league position overall in this table is place 18.

 

Now I will go on and talk about the possible reasons in a next article about this. But if we just look at the numbers then it surely shows that Arsenal still being there is in fact ridiculous.

We have double the injuries and even triple the injuries our closest rivals have had so far this season.

 

We have lost the best player of the league in the opening months : Ramsey. We have lost our quickest attacker and one of or best goal scorers and assist master: Walcott. We have lost Cazorla for weeks, we have lost Vermaelen for almost the whole season so we had no back up for Koscielny and Mertesacker or couldn’t give them a rest.

 

And that is what I so dearly miss when the pundits are talking about Arsenal having no chance at all. They just act as if we are rubbish. They should give us all the credit in the world for even being where we are. Before the season we were destined to drop out of the top 4 even. And now we are in second place and we have had all the bad injury luck one can have. And still we are there.

Time to give credit to this group of players I would say. Time to take a bow for the fight they have showed us so far. An injury ravaged group of players that still are in there with a chance with 11 games to go.

 

Dear Arsenal players, whatever happens till the end of the season: I take a bow. Just imagine where we could have been with the level of injuries that Manchester City had to overcome or Chelsea…. I wonder if they would have had so many injuries if they would have been where we are?

The current count today is Arsenal miss 10 players but some might return by the weekend.

———————

 

47 comments to Fighting adversity: this group of players is just amazing

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks Walter, quite incredible, this lot are a bit special. Poldi mentions the spirit on the official site today.
    And then there are the certain teams getting the usual favours favoured top teams usually get. For years, it was Utd, City had a strong run mid season, but are the men in black showing signs of settling on Chelsea?
    The injuries are an issue. This article highlights how much of an issue they are, that is a big gap between us and the others. We are performing despite them. I personally believe it is possible we could be doing more to reduce them…we have been top of the injury table for five years+,we know about knocks, rotational fouling, but it is the non contact injuries that may tell a story of their own. but then again, what do I know. Look forward to your next article, but whatever happens in the rest of the season, Wenger, coaches and the team have done us proud

  • Mjc

    Also worth noting that we have had more injuries this season that Man City and Chelsea COMBINED!

  • Slysoulman

    To add further perspective to the whole injury thing, see how much Man C struggle in Aguero’s absence. Free-scoring withhim in the team, they can barely score without him. Yet, this is supposedly the besst team in the league. The Arsenal team is a lot better than given credit for, just because it was not as expensively assembled as its closest rivals. Not a bad thing, though. The players are not under the kind of pressure the oil teams are, which Mourinho feels he has to relieve with his ‘little horse’ nonsense. It’s done ourplayers a world o good, flying as they are, under the radar.
    As for expected and actual league positions, each time I look at Lawrenson’s on BBC I mentally doff my hat to the Arsenal squad for the consistent way they call out the Englsh this season. Long may it continue. media

  • Slysoulman

    Still, it is a cause for concern that we have consistently featured at the top or close to the top of the injury league for years now. Just what are we doing wrong?

  • Just goes to show how we fight the refs in games from small inflicting fouls which causes long term injuries. I think if we start counting the number of tackles rating the amount of damage it looks it has caused we may see we are also getting fouled 3 times the amount than the oilys. And then there is the diving…

  • Dav

    Little tip mate, get someone to proof read your articles before publishing them

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Did we pass the February ‘tests ‘ ? We did ? WOW !
    Now for the March tests ! Go guys ! Go Arsenal !It has been a fabulous ride so far , more of the same ,please !
    Up the Gunners !

  • Tom

    Walter
    This is not the kind of article that makes for happy reading although I do get what you’re trying to convey.

    Arsenal’s perpetual injury saga requires in depth analysis in my opinion.
    It can’t be down to bad luck and physicality of PL alone.

    For a while I thought the short bench was the main culprit but there are other teams in the league with even smaller squads than ours who get less injuries than us.

    The fact that we are only one point off the lead is down to Wenger’s brilliance and since Riley has officially apologized to West Brom for taking points away from them and keeping Mourinho’s undefeated home record in tact , we should be even with them on points at the top of the league.

    Having said that , I still believe that lack of proper rotation is one of the main reasons for our injury problems.
    Before Ramsey went down , he was visibly slower and his performance level had dropped off .

    Playing Ozil against Coventry is something that should never happen considering this is his first season in the league without the proper pre- season and no winter break.

    Chelsea played some 70 games last season and managed to do that without any major injury crisis . Can we tap their physio and sign him up ? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Blonde takes an exam!

    A blonde reported for her university final examination that consists of “yes/no” type questions.

    She takes her seat in the examination hall, stares at the questions for five minutes, and then in a fit of inspiration takes her purse out, removes a coin and starts tossing the coin and marking the answer sheet, “Yes” for Heads and “No” for Tails. Within half-an-hour she is all done where as the rest of the class is sweating it out.

    During the last few minutes, she is seen desperately throwing the coin, muttering and sweating.

    The moderator, alarmed, approaches her and says, “What is going on?”

    “I finished the exam in half-an-hour. But I’m rechecking my answers.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Exams are like GIRL FRIENDS:

    1. Too Many Questions.

    2. Difficult to Understand.

    3. More Explanation is Needed.

    4. Result is always FAIL!

  • Shakabula Gooner

    I get the feeling that our boys see the outstanding EPL games as “11 cup final ties to win” As well too, 3 outstanding FA cup ties are, without doubt 3 cup finals to win. As we go down this stretch, let’s not rule ourselves out of any outright win. That is the only matching attitude to have towards our boys and this great club. Period.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    KEEPING THE FAITH.

    So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because that’s where you will find success. On the far side of failure.
    Thomas J. Watson, Sr.

    Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn’t that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.
    Marilyn Monroe

    Sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall together
    Marilyn Monroe

    Triumphs without difficulties are empty. Indeed, it is difficulties that make the triumph. It is no feat to travel the smooth road.
    Author unknown

    Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.
    Author unknown

  • Jax

    @ Dav

    Little tip mate. Get someone to explain that Walter is Belgian, which might explain his odd spelling or grammatical error. On the whole he does a really good job, even if I don’t find myself in agreement with him sometimes.

  • Jax I think Dav wants to write his comment out now in Belgian instead! LOL

  • Super Singh

    Watch it Jax!

    Dav is the grammar police? He’ll arrest you.

  • jambug

    If me did have too wory of gramer nor spilling I will be in the bigg shit !!

  • nicky

    Looking forward to your next article, Walter, because many of us have pondered for ages over our appalling injury record. Your stats speak for themselves.
    Whether the medics branch of Arsenal FC is found wanting, the training, even the diet.
    Our yearning for possession and the close passing game encourages the type of tackles which result in injuries. Are our players built for speed and therefore lightweight?
    You see, we are all clutching at straws.
    We hope you can provide some answers.

  • none

    Walter, given that neither Dean or Atkinson have been selected recently I suspect that we will soon see more injuries over the next few fixtures. I wonder if we could lay odds on…

    Spurs+ Dean vrs Arsenal
    Chelsea + Atkinson vrs Arsenal

    Im sure that both matches will see the ref ignoring late challenges from Spurs/CFC with Arsenal players swiftly booked for similar tackles.

  • Pat

    As you say, Walter, yet another reason to be very proud of our team. And you can’t imagine any of our players grumbling about their team mates to the press as RVP apparently has been very recently. Maybe he’s cross about Rooney’s huge wages. Possibly there’s something to be said for the Arsenal wage structure after all.

  • para

    Do agree, this team is a wonder team, without all those injuries we would probably be some 15 or 20 points clear?
    Still, i think we are going to surprise a lot of people this season.
    Why are the same refs being picked for these games, are there no other refs available? Seems like the other refs do not get a fair chance to prove their mettle, so how are they supposed to become good if they do not get the chance?
    Onward Arsenal.

  • Mick

    I read we have Mike Jones as ref in the Stoke match and the Stoke fans are apparently going to give Ramsey a hot reception during the match.

  • And then Ramsey scores a shut the fuck up hatric

  • Sabs

    Should probably re-run the numbers excluding Diaby.

  • Micheal Ram

    The moment Arsene signs the Pitbull Flamini, I already know he is gonna hassle everyone of his teammates to have a winning mentality. His non stop barking and no nonsense approach clearly had an effect on surrounding teammates. Soldier on, keep fighting and never give up. And I say this with huge respect towards other top performers for us this season. However, are WE, the FANS, the SUPPORTERS, the FAITHFULS, the ADMIRERS, etc up for it? Are we ready to defend this team, cheer them on, and prepare to leave our comfort zone to lead this club to glory? If you are, give me a hell yeah!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Micheal Ram – HELL YEAH !!!

  • Valentin

    The result are a little misleading in that they include some very long term injury such as Diaby.
    Regarding the recurrence of injuries, Because of our shallow squad depth AW relies on a very small number of players. Those do not rotate. When they are injured, AW quite often does not wait until they are really ready to use them. Ramsey is a case in point. Injured, came back one to weeks earlier than advised for that kind of injury, relapsed and now try to come back for the North London Derby that is two weeks too early for him. The same thing happen to Alex Chamberlain. The result he missed nearly six months of football.
    Also a lot of team reintroduced injured players slowly, like the last 20 minutes of a game. AW tends to do the opposite, he always start with the players who come back from injury and he plays them 60 minutes.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Why are we, always, placed high in the injury league??…We can go on and on about over training, over playing, small squad etc etc etc….

    But then ARSENAL is not our sunday league club. Dont you think they have analysed the situation and have answer to all those questions. And they’ll do all that they can to avoid these situations.

    Lets not forget, most of these injuries happen as a result of constant fouling that takes place on the pitch.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Guys, take a look at this article ,not only for health reasons but also how big buissness ‘fix’ those who don’t toe the official line .

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/02/18/julia-llewellyn-smith-sugars-spurned-prophet/

  • Brickfields Gunners

    This article appeared in The Telegraph . Try to read it if the above doesn’t work.

    John Yudkin: the man who tried to warn us about sugar
    Julia Llewellyn Smith February 12, 2014

    A British professor’s 1972 book about the dangers of sugar is now seen as prophetic. Then why did it lead to the end of his career?

    Sunday Telegraph, London

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Snippets –

    Pure, White and Deadly by John Yudkin, a book widely derided at the time of publication, was listed as one of the most coveted out-of-print works in the world.

    ”Everything this man said in 1972 was the God’s honest truth …”

    The tale begins in the Sixties. ..nutritionists … to work out the reasons for an alarming rise in heart disease levels. .. After a while, a consensus emerged: the culprit was the high level of fat in our diets.

    Ancel Keys,.. famous for inventing the K-ration – declared fat to be public enemy number one and recommended that anyone who was worried about heart disease should switch to a low-fat ”Mediterranean” diet.

    ..the food industry spied an opportunity. Market research showed there was a great deal of public enthusiasm for ”healthy” products ..

    But, amid this new craze, one voice stood out in opposition. John Yudkin,.. had been doing his own experiments and, instead of laying the blame at the door of fat, he claimed there was a much clearer correlation between the rise in heart disease and a rise in the consumption of sugar…
    showed raised blood levels of triglycerides .. also raised insulin levels…
    he questioned whether there was any causal link at all between fat and heart disease.

    This was not what the food industry wanted to hear.
    …there was a concerted campaign by the food industry and several scientists to discredit Yudkin’s work. The most vocal critic was Ancel Keys.

    The British Sugar Bureau put out a press release dismissing Yudkin’s claims as ”emotional assertions” and the World Sugar Research Organisation described his book as ”science fiction”.

    Yudkin was ”uninvited” to international conferences. Others he organised were cancelled at the last minute, after pressure from sponsors, …papers he gave attacking sugar were omitted from publications.

    ”.. one sometimes becomes quite despondent about whether it is worthwhile trying to do scientific research in matters of health?” he wrote. ”The results may be of great importance in helping people to avoid disease, but you then find they are being misled by propaganda designed to support commercial interests ….”

    ‘He could tell you these things were happening but not why, or at least not in a scientifically acceptable way,”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Continuing..

    ‘It helps us understand how a concept can be bastardised by dark forces of industry.”

    From the Eighties onwards, several discoveries gave new credence to Yudkin’s theories.

    ”he was such an enthusiast of public health, it saddened him to see damage being done to us all, because of vested interests in the food industry.”

    …the World Health Organisation is set to recommend a cut in the amount of sugar in our diets …

    ..while it might be on the back foot at last, the sugar industry remains a formidable adversary, determined to safeguard its market position.

    ‘It is not just Big Tobacco any more,”Public health must also contend with Big Food, Big Soda and Big Alcohol. All of these industries fear regulation and protect themselves by using the same tactics. They include front groups, lobbies, promises of self-regulation,

    Dr Julian Cooper, head of research at AB Sugar, insists the increase in the incidence of obesity in Britain is a result of, ”a range of complex factors”.

    ‘….have concluded that consuming sugar as part of a balanced diet does not induce lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart disease,”

    It’s just a shame, … that a warning that could have been taken on board 40 years ago went unheeded: ”Science took a disastrous detour in ignoring Yudkin. It was to the detriment of the health of millions.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sorry for the long posts . Just wanted to point out that in any ‘bussiness’ your health , wellbeing and interest may not be their prime concern .
    I’m sure that the regulars here are able read in between the lines and understand my reason for posting this here ( other than for health education ,of course !) .

  • Asif

    @Brickfields – went to the page and read that article…!!! Good un…

    Maybe in 20 years time when the EPL has pressed the self destruct button…they would look for a man named Arsene who had prophesised that financial doping would lead to the ruin of the game…

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Asif – Thanks , The article mentions the various boards and intresred parties who tried to supress information and messed up the health of millions ,all for fithy lucre .
    If you were to search further , you’d find the mistruths regarding , coconut oil , palm oil, etc which were propagated by the corn oil industries.
    Just imagine what ‘interested ‘parties are doing to football in general in cahoots with those who are suppossed to ‘regulate’ the game.
    And I’m not even talking about the criminal elements .
    The mind boggles !

  • swing

    @Brickfields

    Read the whole article it was especially relevant to me, because of the health & corruption involved. I’ve had 2 incidents where doctors said I was having a heart attack and thus operated on me and found nothing was wrong with my heart, each operation cost an arm and a leg. Finally my uncle recommended me to a cardiology doctor friend of his who told me a lot of cardiologists give patients unneccessary angiograms to make more money, (it’s really a perfect scam as you are to scared to think properly and most times you don’t know.) If even doctors can do this who can a person trust, anyway this is another reason to love Arsenal, they are free from corruption.

  • Damilare

    @ Michael Ram 2:52 – YEAH by HEAVEN!

    @Brickfields Gunners, thanks for educating us as usual with that two-edged-sword post. The other edge of the health lesson is that ‘bodies’ whose responsibilities are to nuture football are the same destroying it because of money. And all that at the expense of the game.

    Yes Asif, in years to come, football will long for sages like Arsene Wenger but may not find except they heed his wise warnings now.

    We are fortunate to have him in Arsenal.

    COYG

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ swing – Sorry to hear that you’ve come in contact with some of my unscrupulous colleagues!
    I’ve heard of some doing unwarranted and expensive investigations,interventions and operations.
    Sad really how the love of money distorts a person’s moral obligations and responsibilities.
    Do hpoe that all is well with you .

  • Mike T

    I love the old saying that there are lies, dammed lies and statistics.

    In terms of numbers of injuries then its difficult to argue that Arsenal seem to get far more muscular strains and yes impact injuries but just comparing raw numbers and jumping to the sort of conclusions in the article is misleading.

    For instance the ages of several of Arsenals, and to your clubs great credit, regular players such as Oxlaide Chamberlain and Wilshire mean that they don’t occupy a berth in Arsenals named 25 man squad, there are others.That means that the number of players in contention for a first team, and so reported in the stats, are greater than some of the clubs.
    Next, and its something that some have already touched on Diaby. I always found it strange that he was named in your squad. It was pretty obvious that he wouldn’t feature in the early part of the season so what was the thinking behind him being named? However by so doing it inflates the numbers. As does singing a player who came with a long term injury!
    Turning now to my team. We have had three long term injuries. Van Ginkel who already has been out for in excess of 200 days, Kalas who is now fit but again was out for over 200 days and a third Omeru who is now on loan was out for over 150 days. All 3 are under 21.These 3 players alone account for more than the 76 weeks shown above so I really question the validity of the stats being provided

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mike T,

    The numbers are from http://injuryleague.com/ so you can direct your complaints over there 😉

    And yeah Van Ginkel, Kalas and Omeru…how could we forget them. They are starters for sure if they would be fit. 🙂

    In that case we could have added Bellerin, Zelalem, Toral, Akpom.. also as they also have been out for a longer period this season with injuries.

    If Diaby would be fit then he would be almost certainly in the squad for any game.

  • Mike T

    Walter the site you mention obtains its data from another site called Physio Room.
    I for one always question their information. For instance they are showing David Luiz and Oscar both as being injured. Ok Luiz didn’t play on Saturday he was indeed injured, Oscar did. Oscar came on as sub last night and although Luiz didn’t feature in Turkey he was available for selection last night.
    Turning to the 3 players you/I mention.

    Van Ginkel was injured in September 2013.In the weeks from the start of the season till his injury he was very much part of the first team squad and had played in CL,EPL and CC matches . Kalas was injured till after Christmas he very much is in the first team squad, indeed he was on the bench last night.
    Omeru ( a full Nigerian International) to an extent I will give you but he was out injured from the start of the season till just around Christmas he needs to get games hence why he is out on loan

  • WalterBroeckx

    Yes they are showing them but with nothing behind their name probably because they don’t have enough information.

    But suppose they miss out every now and then but to mess up for 133 (difference between Chelsea and Arsenal) would be a lot don’t you think? That would be messing up with 5 players every week on average….

    The trend is clear: Chelsea are hardly having injuries compared to Arsenal.

    I wonder if it has something to do with that lady running on the field? 😉

  • Mike T

    Walter

    I have far more confidence in the injuries shown on the EPLs own site. Although they to show David Luiz as being injured!

    You mention Doctor Eva. She is some lady(yes in looks) but more in terms of her medical skills and training. Its worth watching this thishttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WI1vGq6YfU4

    As for the trend I agree 100% that there has to be a reason or probably reasons for the differences. I know some on here will put it down to the away teams approach and that’s possible in part but there has to be far more to it and if your next article develops the debate I will, as always. look forward to reading it

  • Mandy Dodd

    Injuries -a complex issue. Contact, non contact. Different types of injuries, recovery. I have read reports on Arsenals injuries supposedly from non biased sources, some of them makeslightly disturbing reading. There is implication in some articles things have been a bit askew for a while and there is a reluctance to change things. Of course we hear this type of thing all the time with Arsenal/ Arsene from less than impeccable sources. Will look forwardto Walters article part 2 – which may shed a bit more light on thingsfrom the perspective of a true Arsenal fan rather than someone getting a dig in at Wenger.
    But, I cannot escape the conclusion that injuries are an issue at this club

  • GooneressNo1

    Brickfields Gunners thank you for your warnings concerning sugar and your quote ‘triumphs without difficulty is empty’ that is so true.

    There is something about overcoming difficulty that makes any success sooo sweet and satisfaction in the knowledge that it was deserved!

    @Swing how awful, what stress that must have put you and your family under, hope everything is well now.

  • Micheal Ram

    Walter,

    I agree with you regarding Diaby. In fact, in my opinion, he would have been the regular starter beside either Flamster or Architect (I mean Flamini or Arteta). Even beginning of last season, when he was fit, he started all the games and when he played, Arsenal was on a rock and roll. Finally got a chance at international stage when France regularly called him up and supplied performances and goals to be admired. He does bring something that nobody can at the club. His techique, passing and physical play is unparalleled. He is so good in keeping the ball, opponents have to kick him into pieces to get the ball back. Arsene do acknowledges this thus the patience for many years. I still remember Diaby ran circles around Gerard last season at Anfield when we won 2-0. Also remember Dan Smith, the player who broke his leg with a stupid tackle which almost provoke legal action from Arsene. Up next Mark Hughes’ s Stoke. Hope we wont see another Diaby, Ramsey or Eduardo horror.