- Stuart Attwell as referee: his home/away records for tackles, fouls and cards
- Newcastle v Arsenal. Arsenal’s astonishing tactical progress clear for all to see
By Bulldog Drummond
By this time of the season all clubs have injuries, and beyond doubt those injuries can affect the team. In fact a simple way to see the link is to look at where clubs are in the injury table below and where they are in the Premier League.
Of course some are defying the odds, but generally clubs that are doing well have fewer injuries. Here is the injury table with the figures taken from EPL Injury table, but put into the order of the number of injuries reported from the lowest number of injuries upwards.
- Manchester City: 2 players injured
- Everton: 3 players injured
- West Ham United: 3 players injured
- Arsenal: 4 players injured
- Fulham: 4 players injured
- Liverpool: 4 players injured
- Wolverhampton Wanderers: 4 players injured
- Aston Villa: 5 players injured
- Crystal Palace: 5 players injured
- Bournemouth: 6 players injured
- Tottenham Hotspur: 6 players injured
- Brighton and Hove Albion: 7 players injured
- Brentford: 7 players injured
- Burnley: 7 players injured
- Luton Town: 7 players injured
- Nottingham Forest: 7 players injured
- Chelsea: 8 players injured
- Manchester United: 8 players injured
- Sheffield United: 9 players injured
- Newcastle United: 10 players injured
Arsenal’s four players out are Thomas Partey with Arteta saying he will be “out for weeks”, Gabriel Jesus (Arteta unwilling even to guess how long it could be), Smith Rowe (again out for weeks), and Jurrien Timber (no time scale offered).
For Newcastle in addition to the injuries, there is Sandro Tonali who was purchased for £55m last summer but is now banned for ten months for breaking betting rules It does seem strange that the impending case was not known to Newcastle when they bought the player given that it was also reported that for eight months of his ban will be commuted to “a therapeutic plan” to help “recovery from gambling addiction”.
It is also said that Newcastle manager Eddie “Howe spent studying Marcelo Bielsa’s teams” which would include Leeds United, and that is interesting in that Leeds United are considered by some commentators to have not been able to put up with the mental and physical strain of the Bielsa system.
Bielsa you may recall was manager of Leeds from 2018 and took them into the Premier League in 2020 after winning the Championship. Although they came ninth in 2021 they came 17th in 2022 – Bielsa left in February that season And what makes this interesting is that both managers have an approach that is described as “exceptionally demanding.” It is also noted Howe is reported as saying “Arsène Wenger was one of the managers that most inspired me. I used to watch his Invincibles but the team he created afterwards played some of the best football I’d ever seen.”
However it must be admitted that we are not seeing a burn out at the moment, as the last six games table shows, with Arsenal and Newcastle being just goal difference apart.
However in the last three games Newcastle have stubmled a little losing at home to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, drawing away with mid-table Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League, but then rebounding to beat a very disjointed Manchester United 0-3 away in the League Cup.
Arsenal of course have not had it all their own way in the last three games with that fine win away to Sevilla 1-2, followed by the 5-0 win over Sheffield United at home and then the defeat to West Ham United in the league cup, with much of the first choice team missing.
Overall Arsenal have had the better of Newcastle United winning 84 competitive matches and losing 68 against them with 39 draws. But in the last 22 games (of which 21 have been in the Premier League and one in the FA cup) there has been a different story. Arsenal have won 18, Newcastle has won two, and one has been a draw. But to give the full story, the last three matches have been more evenly balanced. In May last year Newcastle won 2-0 on their ground. As for last season’s matches it was a goalless draw at Arsenal Stadium but a 0-2 away win on Tyneside.
Next up, thoughts on the team.
- Arsenal v Lens: the team, the home/away form and the strange coincidences
- Arsenal v Lens: they had a poor start but are now flying
- Where there is power, money and greed there is corruption
- Why do Tottenham players get fouled more than those of any other club?
- The media, the League and PGMO. An insidious agreement rears its ugly head