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August 2021

Gameweek 23: the injury roundup

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Victory Through Harmony

Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 23

By Dale Higginbottom

Here we are again, another injury round-up. After the difficult week in the cups we needed a boost for the league and a solid away victory should do that and put us into a strong frame of mind ahead of the trip to Elland Road. Without further ado, here are the injury figures for gameweek 23.

West Ham Vs Arsenal

Arsenal (6 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – Almunia (16), Fabianski (1)
  • Defence – Vermaelen (19), Squillaci (1)
  • Midfield – Frimpong (21), Diaby (13)
  • Attack – No injuries reported

Additional issues: Denilson was a doubt but was fit enough for the bench and a late appearance.

Chelsea Vs Blackburn

Chelsea (3 injuries)

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  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Alex (11)
  • Midfield – Benayoun (17), Zhirkov (9)

Additional issues: Mikel has just returned from a brief spell out and so only made the bench.

Tottenham Vs Man Utd

Tottenham (3 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported
  • Defence – King (16)
  • Midfield – O’Hara (22), Huddlestone (11)

Additional issues: Woodgate is still out and not included here.

Man Utd (3 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported
  • Defence – O’Shea (5)
  • Midfield – Valencia (17), Hargreaves (20)

Additional issues: Van Der Sarr was a doubt but played the whole game. Scholes returned to the squad after injury but did not play.

Man City Vs Wolves

Man City (3 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Richards (4)
  • Midfield – M. Johnson (23)
  • Attack – Balotelli (10)

Additional issues: Silva was a doubt and started on the bench, coming on late in the game as a substitute. Kolo Toure came off just after half-time with an injury.

Liverpool had two games

Blackpool Vs Liverpool

Liverpool (3 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No issues reported
  • Defence – Carragher (6)
  • Midfield – Spearing (8), Cole (6)

Additional issues: Konchesky was a doubt and was therefore an unused substitute.

Liverpool Vs Everton

Liverpool (1 injury)

  • Goalkeeper, midfield, attack – No issues reported
  • Defence – Carragher (7)

Additional issues: Spearing and Cole were doubts but the former started and played the full 90 minutes, the latter was an unused substitute. Anger was forced off after the first half through illness.


Three is the magic number, yes it is, it’s the magic number, although for us, we’ve decided to sing that song twice. Six injuries for us this week and no other team even comes close.

Not too much to say about this but we really need to avoid defensive injuries in the next few games, or at least until a suitable stand-in is transferred in. We always have Song to back up but this is also a time where maybe we might miss Diaby who could fill-in in midfield for Song or maybe even Frimpong, who in pre-season, looked like he might turn out to be Song’s direct replacement in defensive midfield.

For the rest, this was quite a comfortable week for injuries. Each of the title-challenging teams recorded just three injuries and both Chelsea and City won comfortably at home to weak teams.

Spurs Vs Man Utd was a fairly predictable result. Both teams have few injuries to worry about and so strong squads all-round. The result was great for us as Utd continue their poor away form however they still edge closer to matching the invincibles’ unbeaten season. Let’s hope that changes soon.

King Kenny has, so far at least, shown that he’s not the messiah but then, considering the state that squad is in, it would take miracles to get it winning regularly.


Following on a little from last week’s half-season report I thought I’d have a quick look at the worst cases, the players that have so far, missed a quarter of the season (five games or more).

Using the same data set, i.e. the injuries from the first 19 games played by each team, here’s a list of the players that have missed at least five games through injury.

Arsenal (Total 100, 69)

  • Frimpong 18
  • Vermaelen 16
  • Ramsey 14
  • Almunia 13
  • Diaby 10
  • Gibbs 8
  • Bendtner 8
  • Van Persie 7
  • Fabregas 6

Tottenham (Total 90, 66)

  • O’Hara 19
  • King 13
  • Dawson 12
  • Defoe 11
  • Huddlestone 8
  • Gallas 6
  • Bentley 6
  • dos Santos 5
  • Keane 5
  • Kaboul 5

Chelsea (Total 49, 49)

  • Benayoun 14
  • Lampard 13
  • Alex 8
  • Bosingwa 8
  • Zhirkov 6

Man Utd (Total 72, 64)

  • Hargreaves 18
  • Valencia 15
  • Anderson 8
  • Owen 8
  • Rooney 7
  • Giggs 6
  • Scholes 5
  • Ferdinand 5

Man City (Total 63, 38)

  • Michael Johnson 19
  • Tchuimeni-Nimely 14
  • Kolarov 9
  • Bridge 8
  • Balotelli 7
  • Boateng 6

Liverpool (Total 34, 34)

  • Agger 11
  • Aurelio 7
  • Spearing 6
  • Kuyt 5
  • Cole 5

So, as I mentioned in the half-season report, the numbers are against us. The long-term injuries are pretty high with five players already being absent for at least 10 games and a further four have missed over five games each.

Whilst a number of players have missed a game here and there, these games can almost be factored in to squad rotation and resting. The long-term injuries are harder to manage as, although it benefits squad continuity through less squad rotation, it also impacts fatigue levels.

Ok, now the value judgement bit, completely against my numerical nature but here goes. I think you could fairly argue that we’ve missed all but two those players, Frimpong and Almunia. In some games we’ve been fine without some of the others on the list but having the option to play them is always a miss.

Not being an expert of the other teams I cannot safely say who has been missed by each of the other teams but I’ve had a go anyway and as with our list the “missed” ones are highlighted in red.

Liverpool have missed all five of their list as they don’t have a squad big enough to lose anyone. The same goes for Chelsea who along with Liverpool have the lowest totals.

City are a surprise as they have had quite a few total injuries but long-term injuries to fringe players like Michael Johnson and Tchuimeni-Nimely have bumped up their figures significantly. Therefore with quite a low number once you remove these two, it’s no wonder that they are challenging for the title and things may change should they get an injury crisis similar to ones we have faced in previous season.

The three leaders are Arsenal, Tottenham and Man Utd and each of these have had significant injuries to key players. These have by all accounts been pretty well managed. These three teams have deep squads and squad players with plenty of big-game experience. This cannot be said about Chelsea’s or Liverpool’s squads and that is why both teams have fallen away recently.

Whilst these figures don’t give the whole picture on injuries, they do help us to understand if fringe players are skewing the figures dramatically. The key, longer injuries are a good measure of impact to the playing squad. For example, had Diaby been fit for even half of those games, maybe less pressure would’ve been put on Denilson or maybe Wilshere would’ve been rested a little more and this could come back to bite us in the latter part of the season. Not that I want this to happen but, given the way the squad has survived the injuries so far and with the return of Aaron Ramsey to the starting line-up just around the corner, I don’t have any worries that this squad can’t cope with whatever is thrown at it. Long may this continue.

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2 comments to Gameweek 23: the injury roundup

  • walter

    I think it is fair to say that we already have had our share of injuries this season. But we managed to stay in touch so far so not that bad I think.

  • gooner80

    the season is heating up and we cant afford another injury or suspension in defence. I dont think JD can play two games a week. I think Eboue is great going forward but no suitable cover for Sagna. it looks like if we stay in all competitions until end of season we would be playing a hell of a lot of games.