Chelsea v Arsenal: the injuries and the transfer costs






By Bulldog Drummond

It was indeed hardly a couple of weeks ago that some in the media were raving over Arsenal’s attempt to win the league being derailed by a plethora of injuries.   Even when they ran the story things didn’t look that bad but now it looks gooder (to coin a word) than it did before.

And of course we must look at the Chelsea situation as well, as that has a certain relevance.  And an interest too, when we consider the injury stats from the EPL Injury Table website.

The interesting news comes in three parts.  First Chelsea, who we play, are top of the league (well, at least the injury league) with 14 reported injuries, while Arsenal who just two days ago were reported as suffering a major injury crisis are in the 14 to 16th group with four men down.  Here’s the list…

  1. Chelsea: 14
  2. Manchester United: 12
  3. Brentford: 11
  4. Crystal Palace: 11
  5. Sheffield United: 9
  6. Nottingham Forest: 8
  7. Tottenham Hots: 8
  8. Burnley: 7
  9. Liverpool: 7
  10. Newcastle United: 7
  11. AFC Bournemouth: 6
  12. Luton Town: 6
  13. Aston Villa: 5
  14. Arsenal: 4
  15. Fulham: 4
  16. Wolverhampton Wanderers: 4
  17. West Ham United: 3
  18. Manchester City: 2

The Chelsea men out are

Wesley Fofana and Christopher Nkunku each with a knee injury.  Ben Chilwell with a thigh injury, Romeo Lavia with an ankle or foot injury, Armando Broja with a knee injury, Malo Gusto who is not actually injured but is suspended but is counted in the “players missing” list.

Among those who have some chance of playing are Marcus Bettinelli who was reported as being assessed, Reece James who is due a late fitness test, Cole Palmer in the “being assessed group”, Axel Disasi who had a quadriceps strain and may not be match fit, Nicolas Jackson who has had wrist surgery, Benoit Badiashile Mukinayi Baya who is being assessed after a minor muscle injury.

Also out are Trevoh Chalobah who is being assessed after a thigh injury, but is said to be ruled out, and Carney Chukwuemeka who is ruled out after a knee injury.

For Arsenal matters are easier to summarise.   Bukayo Saka is due a late fitness test and is said to have a 50% chance of playing.  William Saliba is said to have been carrying an ankle injury and is being assessed.  Leandro Trossard has a tight hamstring and is also being assessed.  Which just leaves Jurien Timber out following surgery.

So having dealt with the injuries, let’s take a look at something quite different – the head-to-head.  Arsenal have won 83, Chelsea 66 and 58 have been drawn.

Moving on, Arsenal have had some tough times against Chelsea, just as we have against Manchester City, most particularly from 2008 to 2020 – which was a long spell.   During that run, the clubs played each other 33 times in the League, FA Cup, Community Shield and the Europa League.

Arsenal won only nine of those games, seven were draws and 17 were Chelsea wins including one run in 2009/10 of five successive defeats for Arsenal.

 Of course, the period from 1 August 2020 onto today is much shorter, but it is much brighter from our point of view as it includes seven games, of which six were in the league and one in the FA Cup.  Arsenal won six of those matches, and Chelsea won one.  The aggregate score was 14 goals for Arsenal and seven for Chelsea.

Let’s finally, for this session move on to transfer spend for the two clubs.   For this season the top spenders have been (as always taking our data from TransferMarkt) oh, what a surprise… it’s Chelsea.


# Club Spend Arrivals Income Leavers Balance
1 25 25
2 19 13
3 16 15
4 14 14


The turnover of players can look quite high, because many of the comings and goings are of course junior players who are being tried out to see if they will make it, but even so, 25 arrivals and 25 departures as shown on the Transfermarkt site is a bit steep.

(We must of course also remember that some Manchester City fans don’t accept this data arguing that this site is notoriously inaccurate.  They then offered their own nominee for a neutral site: the local Manchester newspaper.  Requests to seek clarification on why that paper was considered more accurate were met with no reply).

If we go back to 2022/23 and onwards into this season we get Chelsea recorded as spending €1.08bn and selling €334m giving a loss of €744.49m, as opposed to Arsenal’s loss of €335.14m.

Going from 2021/22 onward Chelsea’s expenditure has been €1.20bn.  Which is quite a lot really.

More on the match anon…

4 Replies to “Chelsea v Arsenal: the injuries and the transfer costs”

  1. Interesting how spending is reported. What you describe as the spend is actually the gross spend, a completely irrelevant number. But on the right hand side of the table is the net spend, which you describe as the balance. Given that is the amount of money leaving the club’s bank account that is the important number. In this particular example the gap between Chelsea and the rest of the clubs drops dramatically when you look at the net rather than the gross spend. While Arsenal have a lower gross spend than both Spurs and City their net spend is actually higher. In reality if a club were to spend £300m and sell players for £300m there net spend would be zero and their bank balance would remain the same (ignoring timing of payments of course). So why is it whenever a writer talks about spending its the gross spend they focus on ?

  2. I would differ from you on this Jod. The net spend is only the “amount of money leaving the club’s bank account” if you assume that the spending on players and the income from the sale of players happens at the same time, and the full amount of money is paid and received in one lump.
    From all that I know about football finance, that is not the case at all. Although transfers happen in set time frames (windows) the buying and selling deals take place across different time frames and it is rare for a club to buy a player for (for example) £50m, and then pay that £50m straight off to the selling club. Even rarer is the notion that then at the same time the club sells other players. These transactions all happen at different times, over different time periods.
    Much will depend on how anxious the buyer is and seller is, to complete the transaction, and what sort of state the club’s finances are in. If the bankers are knocking at the door as is the case with a number of PL clubs, the club will be looking to spread the cost of a new player over four years, but get as much as possible in terms of the sale price of a player as fast as possible.
    These questions are very much part of the debate between clubs as a deal is arranged.
    Chelsea’s figures are of particular interest because of the high level of turnover of players and the free flow of money. You acknowledge this at the end but seem to ignore the fact that it is the gross spend that drives the desire or need to sell players, and hence is a major factor in understanding what the club is up to.

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