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October 2016
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Why Arsenal players are getting injured. Finally we are getting some insights.

By Tony Attwood

So it wasn’t just me who picked up on Damien Comolli’s suggestion that the injury crisis in football is not all down to Arsenal, but is down to nationality.

The Telegraph today tells us that more than a quarter of the Premier League’s 142 English players unavailable for international selection because of injury.  Unfortunately I can’t check that fact because the link the paper gives goes to one of its usual Arsenal knocking stories, rather than a list of players, but the number is probably more or less true.

The issue of having more English players in the Premier League has been with us for a long time.  At present the number is around 35%.  The concept of promoting more such players has been based on the idea that this way we’ll win the world cup.  But the fact is that when the first division was made up of about 80% English players (the rest being Scottish, Welsh, N Irish and Irish – many of whom were not actually born in those countries or the province but whose parents or grandparents were) England only won the world cup when playing all its games at Wembley.

What’s more as the oft-repeated Untold research on the subject shows, countries like the Netherlands which have most of its players playing overseas do much better than we do.

But hey.  Evidence!  Who needs it?

So what are we going to do with the news that 37 English players who might be considered for England are injured?

Well, if we follow the normal English approach, we’ll blame someone else.   Johnny Foreigner is usually at the root of most problems if you read the Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Sun, The Star and the rest.

But from an Arsenal point of view it is not an issue that Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, the Ox and Theo are injured: it is also Daniel Sturridge, James Milner, Luke Shaw, Danny Ings, Fraser Forster and Ben Foster.  It’s the English disease.

The Telegraph’s article is helpful, but it has its usual odd-ball approach.  Although it talks of injuries from other clubs it is littered with pictures of injured Arsenal players.  And when mentioning Damien Comolli, suddenly his eight years at Arsenal vanishes from his cv, as does his two years at Saint-Étienne and instead any reader of the piece who didn’t know better would think he spent his career at Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool instead of short periods with those clubs.

But the Telegraph have saved me a job.  This morning I was going to go through the records of the Premier League clubs to see how many of their current injuries were to English players.  They’ve done it for me.  Here’s the current injury table.

Team Injured English Percent
Liverpool 9 7  78%
Newcastle 9 2  22%
Arsenal 7 5 71%
Everton 7 4 57%
Bournemouth 6 4 67%
Man C 5 0 0%
Man U 5 2 40%
West Ham 5 0  0%
C Palace 4 2 50%
Aston Villa 4 3 75%
Southampton 4 2 50%
Tottenham 4 1 25%
I left stopped the table at four injured because even there the percentages are very unreliable indicators.
But I was fascinated by the Man City figure.  No Englishmen injured.  But then, they only have two players in their regular first team who are English, and one of those is a goalkeeper – and statistically goalkeepers get fewer injuries than anyone else.
With WHU however they have 10 English players registered in their 25, which ought to be pleasing the FA.  Except only five of them play.  Here’s the list of English players with the number of starts in the league this season…
*Antonio, Michail Gregory – 0
*Carroll, Andrew Thomas – 0
*Collins, James Michael -1
*Cresswell, Aaron -9
*Jenkinson, Carl Daniel – 6
*Moses, Victor – 5
*Noble, Mark James – 9
*O’Brien, Joseph Martin – 0
*Randolph, Darren Edward Andrew -3
*Tomkins, James Oliver Charles – 7
 So West Ham are starting each game with on average three English players, and yes, they are avoiding injury.  That is still good for them, but a slightly different story from the thought that they have 10 English players in their 25.

Writing before, I couldn’t quote you the exact words of Damien Comolli as I was driving when I heard his interview.  Now I have the comment.  He said, “I was reading that Roy Hodgson will be without 13 players going to Spain this week. Can you tell me any other country in the world where 13 players will be missing going into international duty? I don’t know what the answer is, whether it is down to too many games when young, nutrition, lifestyle, climate, the lack of a winter break, but it always amazes me that so many English players are injured.

“I believe that these problems stem back to what happens to a young player between the ages of ten and 19, so is there a deeper problem that the Premier League and the FA need to look at it? It is a debate which needs to be aired because you do not see the same pattern in the likes of Holland or Germany – both of which have similar climates and cultures to England.”

Jürgen Klopp experiencing English football for the first time, has been making the same point after Jordan Rossiter was injured with England Under-19s.

“I have never heard that a player that young plays three games in five days,” he said.  “That was the problem why he got injured. I don’t know who I have to speak to about this, but I will find a way of talking to someone. It is not OK. Is it normal in England that you have to play three games in five days?  These young players are our future, but if we handle them like horses then we get horses.”

(Mr Klopp ought to take a look at the fixture lists from the early days of the 20th century when players would often play three games in four days – and had to travel by train and bus to get to the away games.)

So here is the first possible reason why British players get more injuries.   Players who grow up and develop in other countries play fewer games, and as they move into leagues get winter breaks.  That allows them to develop more strength and avoid the early injuries that can recur in later life.

Another possible explanation is diet.  Although footballers in top clubs get put onto special diets to benefit them, following the revolution introduced by Arsene Wenger, this is not the case before they get to the top clubs, nor in their early years when they are living at home with parents.  It is a simple fact that the traditional diet in some countries is a lot worse than in others, as is the consumption of alcohol among young people.   It is the old point: the Mediterranean diet simply is better for the human body.

[slight pause in writing while I finish my plate of breakfast chips]

Both Arsene Wenger and Louis van Gaal has spoken very negatively about the lack of the winter break in England.   Older players can cope with it, the problem is younger players who experience it can be damaged by it.

So if Arsenal want to solve its injury problem, the answer is to bring in more foreign players.


Here’s two other snippets of news from this morning.

Patrick Vieira has been appointed the new manager of New York City after the current manager was sacked for failing to get the club into the play offs.

And The FA, known for their financial incompetence and who have just made 130 people redundant, have quoted the price of £1,000 for an under 15 team to hire a pitch for two hours with an extra charge for the changing room.  The pitch has no floodlights.  They later said it was a mistake.  Just like the mistake they made in taking Sports England money which they were supposed to invest in grass roots football, using it to pay their staff, and then claiming that they couldn’t use it to help youth football because of the bad weather.  (They actually failed to do the work in the summer).



10 November 1959: Peter Nicholas born.  He had started out with Crystal Palace as a youth player, and was part of their second division title winning team in 1979.

10 November 2014: Paul Merson unleashed a fierce attack on Arsène Wenger, claiming that Wenger had let the club down and should leave.

Arsenal in the 70s part two is now published.   Preparing for the impossible.

All the anniversaries for today are on the home page.

37 comments to Why Arsenal players are getting injured. Finally we are getting some insights.

  • Big Tone

    Assume the person compiling the stats for the Telegraph thinks Aaron Ramsey is English … either that or Hector Bellerin/Tomas Rosicky have changed flag?

  • nicky

    If, as implied, the injuries are spread throughout the League, there can only one answer.
    The abject failure of match officials to protect the men on the field of play, particularly the ball players.
    Until the PGMOL has been fleeced of its corrupt, inefficient and weak referees, we cannot expect an improvement. 😉

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Mr. Attwood, good morning sir. How are things? Maybe the diet served to the English players from early on in their lives should be researched for a possible link to the more suspectable to injuries than the youths/matured players across Europe. At anyrate and having dropped 2 vital points in the League to Spurs just of recent, Arsenal MUST not drop any point again in the Barclays Premier League from their away game to WBA and upto their home game against Bournemouth going in to the New Year. Therefore the Boss MUST give it whatever it takes to maintain match winning consistency in the League to remain on course in Arsenal title challenge and to possibly mount the top of the table, haven failed to mount it as a result of playing a draw game at home with Tottenham Hotspur in their last time outing.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Mr. Attwood, good morning sir. How are things? Maybe the diet served to the English players from early on in their lives should be researched for a possible link to the more suspectable to injuries than the youths/matured players across Europe. At anyrate and having dropped 2 vital points in the League to Spurs just of recent, Arsenal MUST not drop any point again in the Barclays Premier League from their away game to WBA and upto their home game against Bournemouth going in to the New Year. Therefore the Boss MUST give it whatever it takes to maintain match winning consistency in the League to remain on course in Arsenal title challenge and to mount the top of the table. Haven failed to mount it as a result of playing a draw game at home with Tottenham Hotspur in their last time outing.

  • nicky

    @Sam A-A,
    You are repeating yourself again.
    Too much of it and we won’t read your first comment, let alone the repeat.

  • CB

    The test is to look at those foreign players that have come to England and come into the academies at a young age.

    Cesc and Bendtner are two, though I’m sure there are more (Bellerin and Coquelin of the current lot). If they are getting similar injuries to the English boys then it shows the academies in the UK are causing the problems.

    If not the problem lies elsewhere (pre-academy?).

  • serge

    It would be interesting to see comparative stats from European countries to see how their own nationals manage to stay relatively injury free ( if indeed they do ) in the home leagues, but I’m sure this is a lifestyle issue with British footballers who are so careless in the way they manage their fitness.
    I certainly hope Tony was joking when he suggested that the “answer was to bring in more foreign players”. It’s difficult enough to identify with this team as it is, but Arsena himself indicated that he was looking to introduce more homegrown so hopefully that trend will continue, but with a more responsible attitude by the players to their own fitness.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Big Tone,

    In his article yesterday Tony talked about UK players and that of course included Ramsey. Maybe the Telegraph did the same?

  • peter ener

    i absolutely agree that english are more prone to injuries. i reaaly want the managers of english clubs to assess, monitor and give a adequate solution to this issue because its really affecting their performances even in Europe i.e Uefa championns league

  • blacksheep63

    Tony I think its the age old problem of diet and exercise at an early age. British players grow up in the dark rat infested slums of old Lunden town and Brummagen where no light seeps into their Stygian cellars and there’s nowt for the vittals but a bit ‘o dark bread and gruel. Most of our working class are riddled with diseases like rickets and scurvy and don’t have the strength to run around like Johnny Foreigner does. The answer? We need to breed out the imperfections in youth and create a master race of new improved subjects of her Majesty (gawd bless ‘er) using Dr Galton’s ingenious system of eugenics. That or invade mainland Europe and wipe out all the other bally opposition lot.

    this is a lovely jacket but the sleeves are much too long……

  • Serge

    Big Tone

    The Telegraph refers to Ramsey as “Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey”
    Can’t be much plainer than that.

  • Zedsaunt

    As someone who passed the 11+ and was therefore, later followed by my brother, forced to play rugby
    – we both played football every moment we could get – I’d say it is not, first and foremost, diet, but a combination of diet, esteem, community identity, all forged together and judged every moment of every day by the diktats of class in Britain.

    You are working class, therefore you cannot be a professional. There’s your place, fill it.

  • Al

    I’d say the number one culprit is diet, and climate. Foods grown on these shores lack vital nutrients such as Vitamin C and if you factor in that the biggest source of Vitamin D is sunshine (which is not that plentiful here) then it becomes more apparent that players from overseas have more of these than those from here. Vitamin D is critical for strong bones and muscles. When you overwork a body that’s already lacking in these vital nutrients something is bound to give. Foreign players tend to eat natural foods from a young age, while everything is mass produced and processed here. Too many toxins in the foods.

    I don’t want to jinx things but can anyone say those whacks Alexis was taking most of last season they would have a similar effect had they been subjected to a player from England? I doubt they’d still be walking, let alone play football.

  • jayramfootball

    I have my own theory on this and that is the English players grow up in a country where running around like a moron on the pitch and diving into tackles you cant win to ‘let him know you are there’ is what is praised as great.

    They end up fatigued and more prone to injury. Forget skill, just run a lot and foul other players. Even the very rare English player who has football talent, like Wilshere, seems to think that diving into tackles and never backing out is a good thing. Mesut Ozil is probably the best midfielder in the world right now and often jumps out of a tackle and actually uses his brain when making runs and putting in effort. The press hate him because he doesnt charge round the pitch like a maniac, fouling, and being aggressive.

    The problem will remain until British football actually starts understanding the game and getting rid of managers like Allerdyce, Pulis et al. Also getting rid of players like Charlie Adam.

  • Menace

    The primary reason for injuries is lack of knowledge of the Laws of the Game. It may be surprising that I point to the Laws but what is the first thing that people say about football. It is a contact sport!! The Laws say that contact with the opponent before contact with the ball is a foul. So in theory contact is not necessary but can occur. The English players are officiated by people who accept vigorous physical contact any time during the game. It is this mentality that becomes entrenched in the players so they get physical rather than intelligent when it comes to playing the ball. Officiating & the Laws are critical in formative years for players to learn skill & technique rather than brute force. Most young players don’t get a chance to develop because of the brutality of the game by the more physically gifted. They leave early allowing the non technical brutes to succeed.

    Those that continue with the game believe the physical is what wins & as a consequence tend to not develop technique or skill. The skills developed are rudimentary rather than innovative. Players from poor countries learn to play bare foot & as a consequence have a lot less robust physical contact. The bare foot player develops natural touch & skills. The use of boots both protect the feet & allow additional courage to tackle rather than to develop timing of the tackle. Injuries with bare foot players are limited to superficial surface cuts & bruises. The boot causes severe injuries because of its protective features.

    Without proper control of good officiating & teaching of the games laws, injuries will continue to blight the Game.

  • Only 2014/15 or every season?

  • apo Armani


    “Mesut Ozil is probably the best midfielder in the world right now and often jumps out of a tackle and actually uses his brain when making runs and putting in effort. The press hate him because he doesnt charge round the pitch like a maniac, fouling, and being aggressive.”

    Exactly…have watched him time and again getting his legs out of a leg-breaking tackle – smart boy!

  • finsbury

    Diet and climate affect all sports. And everything else too!

    For me Menace is correct. Coquelin was hacked an not protected in the recent NLD. This is not a controvertial statement it’s what happened on the pitch. Considering AFC were the home team this is worthy of remark.

    In the first article I mentioned the career of Kevin Davis who was a quick young player with flair who had to remodel his game after being clogged off the park.

    I’d like to ask people to please try to reflect upon the reason why a bunch of blokes sitting in a pub somewhere C1860 decided to outlaw “Hacking” from their sport which we know of today as Association Football which some call Soccer 🙂

    You’d imagine that people back then (and today)who had jobs, families, lives to live, they didn’t want to spend the next four weeks after their Sunday league game hobbling about. And so the “Foul” was invented, or defined. Something like that!

    I also imagine that in c1860 that a broken limb and no NHS probably meant that you’re average Victorian couldn’t afford such injuries. Financially or physically. Medical science has moved on a little bit since that period so it shouldn’t be too hard to appreciate why people didn’t want broken limbs.

    Of course some people quite liked hacking. People played on muddier turf, if there was any turf at all, and perhaps the conditions also allowed for lots of falling over etc. Certainly from my own limited experience, and I’m no expert, but I did notice that you can slide tackle in mud but not on concrete.

    But in the end of that story they were asked to leave the pub (team) and they had to invent a new code for themselves. They called it Rugby Football.

    No offence to Rugby fans but there’s a reason you don’t get many rugby players having fifteen year careers where they are renowned for their skill. The rate of attrition is too high: e.g.:Jonny Wilkinson.

    However we can observe that in the modern era that if you mistime a tackle in rugby you get more punishment then if you mistime a tackle (& injure) in certain context under this even newer variant which we know of as pgMOB Rules Football.
    Can we conclude that modern rugby which uses replays etc (which still can’t pick up what happens in a scrum but they’re happy to help the officials as much as they can for some strange reason…) offers players more protection then the modern PGMOB Rules Football? That’s an interesting consideration.

  • finsbury

    Unfortunately Ozil can’t dance his way past every hack, or a sequence is in play of successive uncalled kicks such as the Ivanovic kicks which resulted in his injury last season.

    He’s an incredible footballer, a key cog in the German WC winning machine but he’s still human!

    The key factor behind the decline in Fabregas, why he can no longer run is because he rushed himself back for a WC from that infamous “bruised bone” which was an uncalled unmissable and completely intentional hack. Not called. Impossible to miss. But that’s pgMOB Rules Football.

    It’s really no surprise a player wanted to leave the club when something like that was done to him three months ahead of a WC. He should’ve rested that summer but he’s an athlete and he didn’t! Of course none of that excuses his conduct the following season, but it doesn’t mean that we should shut our eyes and ignore where the impulse to leave the club came from: a career threatening lack of protection. Although you could argue Fabregas played too much too young he’s tailed off at a far earlier age then the poor trainer Rooney: it was the injuries and the Falcao style rushing back too early from injury that affected him the most.

  • finsbury

    Aaron Ramsey alongside Y.Toure is the best all round midfielder in the league. A great British talent.

    Ramsey’s hammies are going to be vulnerable for the rest of his career:

    Nothing to do with climate.
    Nothing to do with diet!
    (Though I’m sure that we would all benefit from a bit of high altitude Alexis style training)

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I think there are similar statistics emerging in the US about baseball pitchers throwing too much at too early an age…the result too many injuries and shortened careers.

  • apo Armani

    November 10, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Absolutely right about the ‘dodging’ every single one of the hacks…thats why the pigMOB know only too well – sooner or later they will “get” us with one or five players due to lack of protection!

  • apo Armani

    Have to love these “experts” who continuously click ‘dislike’ at everything that makes sense but obviously not in their agenda 🙂

  • finsbury

    That’s an interesting consideration when thinking about Rooney who on top of everything had a spell where he wasn’t training hard enough (dropped by ferguson).

    But it’s not applicable to the F Word or Ramsey. Or Walcott. Or Wilshere. Welbeck. Etc. All affected by impact injuries.

    However it is clear that since Chamberlain came to the club that up the coaches have been easing in the teenagers. Chambo was just really unlucky with the big knee injury when he was ready to play more.

    The impressive aspect of B.Rodgers time at Liverpool was his resting and nurturing of Sterling. Though perhaps that was offset by rushing back Sturridge, we don’t really know what happened there with the older player.

  • finsbury

    Of course the unemployed rent-a-quote physios who fit certain agendas so well they get quoted on that reputable show MOTD have been awfully quiet about what happened to Sturridge’s career.

  • finsbury

    The UK is home to some of the best sporting physios in the world. A lot of them free lance or work on short contracts. Such as the chap from New Zealand who had Pelle perform a Hakka for him, similar to Wilshere and Walcott showing their appreciation for their physios last season.

    Do we ever hear what these people have to say? This army of sporting physios who are actually employed? Nope!

    But you can bet your bottom dollar that at the next opportunity the same old rent-a-quotes will be wheeled out to blurt their Gibberish.

    It was unbelievable to hear MOTD talk about the 48hr consideration whilst attributing this understanding to an unemployed physio. This understanding is, well, it is understood everywhere.

    Germany just won a World Cup the first European team to win in s.america because they created a fitness schedule to maximise recovery time for their players. They even built a special base camp for this very purpose. To reduce travel etc. You all saw how the manager juggled his players through the tournament relevant to their fitness. To be clear fitness management won Germany a World Cup.

    Who was in charge of their programme? The chap who moved on to work for AFC after Germany won the WC. Not the unemployed chap addicted to twitter.

    AFC clearly have one of the best minds in the game working for them. Unlike others he has the record to prove it.

  • finsbury

    Final thought:

    It wasn’t me but Ronaldo (the lesser) who happily said that one reason behind him leaving the PL was the desire to protect his shins and lengthen his career.

    There’ve been others who have said the same, a few of them AFC players.

  • apo Armani

    How England failed in International Football by shooting itself in the foot – leaving pigMOB responsible for applying the rules of the game!

  • SouthernGunner

    Rushing a young players developement instead of progressing them gradually, playing/training them too much too soon, impatience, mismanagement, underdeveloped culture, bad lifestyle habits, poor refereeing, violent/dangerous play on the pitch being accepted as the norm & other factors all culminate in so many players being in an unfit state compared to other nations.

    The real problem many of them face is when they retire & get older. Many retired players still carry their injuries long term.

  • Goéland

    I tend to side with those who believe the problem comes from the way football is played in Britain. If it was the cold climate, or the non-Mediterranean diet, wouldn´t Scandinavian players be as affected, or even more?

    Since that´s not the case, a lot of the theories about innate deficiencies and weaknesses have to be discarded. It makes a lot more sense to examine the issue of overworking players at far too young an age (like GoingGoingGooner, I can´t help but notice the similarities with other sports in that regard), and the culturally unique approach to brutality and lack of technique in the UK, as Menace and finsbury hinted at.

    It´s not that physicality isn´t a key component of football in other places (thinking of countries like the Ivory Coast, Ghana or Sweden, for example), or that violent play doesn´t happen elsewhere (the Copa America was very instructive in that area, for instance, or look no further than the notorious penchant of Balkan football for vice), but these places also significantly value skills and technical ability, which is traditionally not the case in Britain, where being rough and unrefined is the ultimate pride (Allardyce and Pulis epitomise that mentality, as jayramfootball mentioned). The result is that skilled players don´t learn to avoid contact as they should (lest they´ll be shamed), and if this happens since they´re young, there´s a very real possibility that some structural issues with their joints, ligaments, etc, linger long into adulthood. Add to that the referees and their inaction when it comes to dangerous impacts, and it´s a recipe for disaster at all levels.

  • Mandy Dodd

    agree Finsbury 2.55.
    And this rentaquote guy has implied inside information from a player – may be no connection, but he is reportedly a good friend of a dearly departed Dutch master.
    The same Dutch player, who more than once elected or was persuaded to play internationals when injured, and on one occasion, resorted so some charlatan peddling horse placenta as an attempted cure.
    If he is relying on inside info from a player, perhaps he should choose one less likely to shoot himself in the foot whan it comes to injuries, rather than throw all the blame onto Wenger.
    There are lots of opinions on Arsenals injuries that people debate or subscribe to, and lets face it, on first reading, our injury stats have not been great over the years, but for the sake of objectivity, not worth listening to someone who clearly has some issue with our manager, who clearly likes the sound of his own voice, who claims to be a fitness guy, but thought he could manage an international team now ranked in the worlds top 10, and is only given a platform to punch above his weight by the anti Wenger/Arsenal media

  • ARSENAL 13

    I think it has less to do with time scale of the development. If a player is skilled enough, he progresses. Age isn’t the issue here. The main reason is the way the game is played. As Jayaram, hah he talks sense today!!!, said it has to be the ‘run around jump into tackels you can’t win to let the player know you are up his arse’ style of play.

    Players at the young age are exposed to such bone cracking tackles. Their body will never have enough time to recover and get stronger as the competition reduces the time spent on recovery. And these are the skilled players, who get tackled by the lesser abled players, who eventually rise to the top. And the cycle goes on.

    Ramsey, since he got shawcrossed, has developed a way to escape such tackles. Its his hamstring this time for second year running. Rambo is probably the best midfielder in the league. He is excellent protecting the defense, excellent going forward and covers the most distance in the playing surface. And that, covering more area of the pitch is probably the reason for his hamstring strain. May be he’ll be more intelligent in the future about his runs(a little rest here and there during the games). A little in game management may be….

  • Menace

    @Finsbury – those guys who sat in the pub creating the rules were truly lovers of the game. Sadly today we have lovers of money controlling the game & ignoring the officiating debacle that is going to destroy it.

    Ozil like Cruff has realised the technique of longevity is avoidance of physical contact. ‘Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee’ was Ali’s mantra. It should be the mantra of all footballers who want to remain injury free. Evasion of the brute can only be effective if the official ‘sees’ the late tackle or the off the ball incident.

  • Menace

    I wrote this in 2008 after Gallas was angered to tears.

    Why do we have Offenders?

    The term offender can be used in football to mean attacker but in this article it means wrongdoers.

    In England the media report on almost everything and very cunningly deviate from the truth (referred to as spin) to carry a message that ‘they’ wish to publicise. They assume that most of their punters are not going to really care about the facts and will accept the media slant as the truth. Sadly that is true and most people believe media deviants.

    In football there are many flavours of play and generally the skilled and artistic football draws the crowds. In England only a handful of teams play artistic football.

    Football is a simple game with only 17 laws that originate from rules drafted in 1886. These laws ensure that the game is played in a consistent and sporting way. It is strange that less than 1% of football fans have read the laws of the game and it shameful that many commentators are just as naïve as the football fan.

    When Arsene Wenger came to England as manager of Arsenal Football Club, very few people realised the impact he would have on the game. He created an environment for football and developed a team of footballers that play with joy, skill and passion in a very sporting way. They are expected to extend this high morality mentality into their private lives. This is not how most of the English media see it. They have an innate (racially motivated) jealousy of the Frenchman’s talent and harp on the lack of English players in the current team. Very little of his rounded approach to the game is highlighted by the English media.

    The media have advocated over the recent years a hard tackling ‘in the face’ approach to beat the quality passing game of Arsenal. This has not been helped by the referees, allowing tackles that contravene the laws of the game, refusing to accept foreign players comment and are supported by commentators some who have been Arsenal players baying for the downfall of this superb footballing team. The truth is, to defeat a quality passing team learn to pass it better and practice. David Beckham did.

    Gallas was distraught at the end of the game. The referee who chose to give a penalty where none existed, yet ignored one that was so obvious only a few minutes earlier, offended him. He walked away from the injustice and was brought to tears. As he walked off the pitch with Mr Wenger, he was clearly saying that the referee –not his teammates – was being unfair.

    Is it any wonder that Taylor and several of the ‘hard tackling Bolton and Blackburn type players’ have been supported by jealous media men? Steve Bruce was reported to have said the tackle that broke Eduardo’s leg did not even warrant a yellow card (FA you need to be seen and heard).

    In my view this is not the only referee who is biased.

    Anger is the result of not being afforded fairness. Anger loses all rationale.

    That is why we have offenders.

  • Gord

    Journal of Athletic Training 2007 Apr-Jun; 42(2): 311-319
    Epidemiology of Collegiate Injuries for 15 Sports: Summary and Recommendations for Injury Prevention Initiatives
    Jennifer M Hootman, PhD, ATC, FACSM, Randall Dick, MA, FACSM, and Julie Agel, MA, ATC

    NCAA data for 16 (school) year period (1988-2004) over 15 sports (including mens and womens soccer). Review of 182,000 injuries over more than 1 million exposures (an exposure is 1 athlete participating in 1 game or practice).

    All sports: 13.8 per 1000 in games versus 4.0 in practices. Preseason (6.6) higher than in-season (2.3) or post-season (1.4). Game and practice injury rates were stationary over the 16 year period. More than 50% are lower extremity. Ankle ligament strains are the most common, accounting for 15% of injuries. Concussion and Anterior cruciate ligament injuries were NOT stationary, they increased over the 16 year time span. Gridiron (football) had the highest injury rates, at 9.6 for practices and 35.9 in games. Player contact is the largest source of injuries (58.0% in games, 41.6% in practice). Noncontact injuries account for 36.8% of practice injuries and 17.7% of game injuries. Distribution of injuries by body part was similar between games and practices.

    Women’s soccer (16.4) and mens soccer (18.8) injury rates in games (only mens wrestling and gridiron higher of the 15 sports). In practices, mens (4.3) and womens(5.2) injury rates. Same 2 sports above them, as well as womens gymnastics are above soccer in practice injury rates.

  • Dave

    As long as there is no red card given by PGMOB for tackles, the likes of what broke Jack Willshere’s ankle last season, there will not be a better state of injuries in the UK football. When a pundit like Neville can ‘boast’ about a 2 footer tackle and it does not cause an outcry, what do you expect to happen to the gifted players? Ozil got injured in his 1st season at Arsenal when he was trying to compete for the ball but was taken out… His long layoff and bulking up has helped him to such an extent that he is able to evade the tackles.
    It is a problem when the players getting injured are your flair players. That points to the whole game mentality in the UK as the problem. On top of that the ‘pundits’ peddle their rubbish about not having ‘steel’ and you know what will happen to the more gifted players – they will be tackled in such a way as to injure them. With them out the way, there is a place for the ‘lesser’ players to make the national side. Given how PGMOB officiates, look at the quality of the England team and you can understand why they are not doing well in tournaments.
    Should the Neville brothers have been England players or was the opposition to the spots they filled injured when they received their first call-ups? I don’t want to demean their achievements, just asking….. When Vinnie Jones is held as an example of a good centre back, please accept that it is an epidemic!!


    Leo Messi is probably one of the most tackled players around and watching him dodge tackles is as awesome as watching him dribble. That said a few tackles and vicious one at that will still get in and that where you need the officials to be vigilant. In simple words better officiating and a guided preservation first approach to the playing of the game.