Crystal Palace v Arsenal: the Arsenal injuries and the fouls they suffer


By Bulldog Drummond

It is extraordinary how varied the Premier League injury table is at the moment.  Among the numbers available over the past weekend we have seen….

  • Sheffield United: 10 players injured
  • Aston Villa: 9 players injured
  • Arsenal: 6 players injured (see below)
  • Crystal Palace: 3 players injured (Michael Olise, Matheus Franca de Oliveira, Will Hughes)
  • Brighton and Hove Albion: 1 player injured
  • West Ham United 0 players injured

Arsenal’s injuries are…

  • Gabriel Jesus: no return date fixed.
  • Albert Sambi Lokonga, late fitness test on a muscular injury
  • Folarin Balogun, a foot injury.  There will be a late fitness test.
  • Oleksandr Zinchenko: Has been back in training and should be playing very soon.
  • Jurrien Timber: Anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.  Is about to have surgery
  • Mo Elneny: Has had surgery and is gradually recovering.

Of course those numbers are incredibly volatile and often not reflected by the time the teams play so it may be that managers are increasingly feeding misleading information to the media in order to confuse the opposition.  Although Arsenal appear to be doing this also by having players such as Havertz playing in all sorts of different positions.

But to stay for a moment with injuries if we go back to the Wenger days we would also find a ceaseless set of posts and comments that when it came to injuries, some saying the fault was clearly Wenger’s because of his antediluvian training methods and an alleged regular overturning of the rulings of medical staff.   It was all nonsense of course, which we could tell because no one ever produced the slightest bit of evidence, but the only thing that made any sense was an investigation into the level of tackling of Arsenal players by players of other teams.

It is of course hard for teams to avoid opposition attempts deliberately to take a player out of the game but we do have one chart that helps us understand what is going on: the players fouled per game list – also known as The Fouled Table,

The range in the number of fouls each team suffers per game is significant.  For example, Palace are fouled over two and a half times as often in a game as Everton.

Quite why Palace are fouled so often can be explained to an extent by the number of shots they have per game.  This table shows the final figures for last season, per game, for the four teams that were fouled the most during the season.  I have also added in Manchester City by way of comparison.

The Fouled Table 2022/23


Team Shots pg Fouled pg Goals scored
1. Aston Villa 11.3 13.1 51
2. Crystal Palace 11.2 12.6 40
3. Chelsea 12.7 12.2 38
4. Arsenal 15.6 11.4 88
13. Manchester City 15.8 10.1 94


Arsenal and Manchester City were third and fourth in the shots per game total for last season, but Arsenal were fourth and Manchester City 13th in the table measuring the number of fouls they suffered.   The other three clubs listed were the top three for the number of times they were fouled per game.

So although that data explains a little it doesn’t really show us why certain teams get fouled so much more than others.  That issue still remains uncertain, but the most likely explanation must be more to do with the style of play adopted than the danger posed in front of goal.  I suspect one key issue is the speed at which the ball is passed to players in space as opposed to the way players run with the ball or pass to players who are closely marked.  

The Fouled Table 2023/24 – top six and bottom four


Team Shots pg Fouled pg
1. Crystal Palace 24 18
2. Newcastle 12 14.5
3. Brentford 14 13
4. Brighton 21.5 13
5. Chelsea 13.5 12.5
6. Arsenal 15 12
17. Luton 9 9
18. Sheffield United 7.5 8
19. Burnley 6 8
20. Everton 14 7


We can see some explanation for the number of fouls each club gets from this table, as what we can see is that the bottom four clubs in terms of the the number of fouls against them, are four clubs that don’t seem to offer too much threat going forward (or in the case of Everton at the moment, too much threat doing anything at all).

There is obviously a logic in this: if the team you are playing poses no threat, why bother to foul them?  If however they are spraying long passes forward and running at the defence then for many teams a foul is the only way to stop them.

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