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Injuries and league position is there a link? – Part 3

By Walter Broeckx

This article is part of a series where we look at the impact injuries might have on the league table.

When we look at the season 2012/2013 we see this table below.  It is ordered in the injury league position. We then have the number of injured weeks lost and then the average number of players out each week. And finally in the last column you see the final position in the league table.

2012/13 2012/13 Average/week PL table

1

Newcastle

274

7

16

2

Aston Villa

262

7

15

3

Arsenal

206

5

4

4

Wigan

188

5

18

5

Man United

184

5

1

6

West Ham

171

5

10

7

Tottenham

168

4

5

8

Fulham

165

4

12

9

QPR

161

4

20

10

Man City

158

4

2

11

Sunderland

155

4

17

12

Norwich

146

4

11

13

West Brom

138

4

8

14

Liverpool

133

4

7

15

Reading

127

3

19

16

Chelsea

109

3

3

17

Everton

108

3

6

18

Southampton

105

3

14

19

Swansea

102

3

9

20

Stoke

80

2

13

Average

157

4

If we look at Arsenal we see that last season we weren’t in the top 2 of the injury league. That is the good news. The bad news if that we came in 3rd place. Well above the league average once again. So not that good in fact. But still it was an improvement on the seasons before. And even with a big number. But the good thing is that it didn’t stop us at the end to get back to a CL place.

When we look at the title race as far as we can speak about a title race last season we see that Manchester United also had more injuries than the league average. On average one player more out than the league average.

The fact that it was a bit a one sided affair might have had something to do with the fact that for Manchester City we could see a total change in fortune compared to the season before. The season before as you might remember they only had one player out on average each week. That season it suddenly went up to 4 players out. This still is only the league average but when you are not used to it, it might have a bad influence on your team. Not that for a team that has money to burn it should be an excuse maybe.

Chelsea once again had a rather low injury record. Whatever and whoever does what, when or why they sure are lucky with their injuries over the last seasons. I wonder how they would cope if they had Arsenal-like numbers for one or more seasons. When you look at money spend and luck with injuries it looks as if Chelsea has underperformed in the league over the last seasons.

Comparing to Arsenal and their high positions in the injury league table one might say that it is amazing that they kept their place in the top 4 all those years. And when you take in account the fact that there was hardly money left to buy, we sold our best players, had the most terrible injury record over all those years. What is the moaning all about?

Now when we look at the teams going down I must point out Wigan. The strange case of Wigan. Each and every season at some point it looked certain that Wigan would go down. But somehow they always managed to get themselves out of trouble by the end of the season.

As you have seen in the seasons before in the earlier articles they always had a very low injury record in the seasons they could save themselves. But look at the season when it all went wrong! Because last season Wigan from being almost always bottom of the injury league table they find themselves high up in 4th place.

This clearly is another indication that each and every season one team that has a terrible injury record goes down. And we can think that without this change of fortune they still might have saved themselves. But this time the injury devil went to Wigan and they paid the price.

So another fine example on how difficult things can become when injuries strike. And just as the other two seasons before one of the teams going down suddenly had a bad injury record. We had West Ham two seasons before, Bolton the season before and Wigan last season. We can be sure that the injury record had something to do with those teams going down.

And just as the season before we see that the two other teams going down weren’t hit that much by injuries.

Looking back at those numbers one could say that in general two teams go down who clearly are not good enough to stay up with or without injuries. But it always seems to be the case that one team was probably good enough to stay in the PL but got hit by a massive injury record and as a result went down.

And looking at it like that I suddenly fear for West Bromwich Albion. They have that pattern written all over them this season.  They now have already as many injuries as they had the 2 seasons before and still 10 games to play. In fact they now have already the double of injuries they had compared to the season 2010/2011.

I don’t want to predict doom for WBA but for some reason they fit the bill completely when it comes to the level of injuries compared to their usual number, and that is when it all goes horribly wrong.  Indeed I think most of us will agree that WBA is a rather decent team but look at their injury record from this season and look at the league table. They have a relegation pattern hanging all over them.

The other two teams that might follow the injury –relegation team will be teams that might just be not good enough. Fulham this season and Cardiff are perfect examples of this.

Going back however to last season we notice that Newcastle who had been an average PL team the seasons before suddenly had a lot of injuries and as a result they also slipped down the league table a lot. The same can be said about Aston Villa.

The final conclusions we can take from looking back at the last 3 seasons is that a slightly above average injury record is not a complete disaster and still can make you reach your goals. A big injury record is hurting any team. Whatever their goals are at the start of the season.

We also can conclude that having a low injury record can help you a lot in reaching the goals you set out at the start of the season. And it might even get you to a league win.

When you are one of the teams near the bottom it is important to avoid too many injuries. As it seems that one team with lots of injuries will go down each year.

Looking at Arsenal I’m rather sure that in a few seasons injuries have kept us back for a bit. But it makes it even more amazing that we managed to stay in the CL places all those years.

1 comment to Injuries and league position is there a link? – Part 3

  • finsbury

    From 7amKickoff:

    http://www.7amkickoff.com/2014/jack-down-im-out/

    Wilshere is Arsenal’s most fouled player with 2.1 per game last season and 1.9 per game this season. Remember, those are the fouls that the referees bother to call and also remember that Opta doesn’t count it when the referee waves play on. I suspect many of us feel as if Jack is fouled 4 or more times a game, at least.

    We’ve seen it before. The Fabregas treatment. Bruised bones an’ all.