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Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 26

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Victory Through Harmony

By Dale Higginbottom

Gameweek 26 and we’re well into the season now. I’m surprised how quickly it seems to be going. But even so I’m really enjoying the ups and downs and can’t wait to see how it all pans out. In terms of injuries, we’re coping pretty well and if this continues the campaign could pan out quite well for us.

Anyway, the injuries for gameweek 26:

Newcastle Vs Arsenal

Arsenal (6 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – Fabianski (4)
  • Defence – Vermaelen (22)
  • Midfield – Frimpong (24), Nasri (4), Denilson (5), Song (1)
  • Attack – No injuries reported

Additional issues: Djourou picked up an injury and was forced off after 48 minutes.

Chelsea Vs Liverpool

Chelsea (3 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Alex (14)
  • Midfield – Benayoun (20), Zhirkov (12)

Additional issues: Mikel was a doubt before the game but started and played 71 minutes.

Liverpool (3 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, defence – No injuries reported
  • Midfield – Spearing (10), Cole (7)
  • Attack – Carroll (2)

Additional issues: Jovanovic and Poulsen were both doubts before the game but both made the squad.

Wolves Vs Man Utd

Man Utd (3 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported.
  • Defence – Ferdinand (7)
  • Midfield – Valencia (21), Hargreaves (24)

Additional issues: Evans picked up a knock and could only complete 65 minutes. Rafael returned to the squad and played the whole game.

Tottenham Vs Bolton

Tottenham (5 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported.
  • Defence – King (19), Kaboul (7)
  • Midfield –Huddlestone (14) Bale (2), Modric (5)

Additional issues: Van der Vaart picked up an injury and was forced off at half-time. Pienaar rplaced Van der Vaart and he has been suffering with concussion so was probably unable to complete a full 90 minutes.

Man City Vs West Brom

Man City (5 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Richards (6)
  • Midfield – M. Johnson (26), A. Johnson (2), De Jong (1)
  • Attack – Balotelli (13)

Additional issues: No additional injuries reported

Arsenal lead the way again with injuries, as we’ve been most of this season. The numbers aren’t too much against us but being without our number one keeper, defender and (based on this season’s performances) midfielder is not easy to deal with. We also missed Song a little this weekend, particularly after Djourou’s injury and Diaby’s red card, so a speedy recovery by him will be a massive boost.

Dropping points is always disappointing when on a title challenge but maintaining unbeaten runs helps to instil belief. We’ve not lost since the 1-0 at Old Trafford and if we can continue this run until we meet again at the Ems, we’ll be in with a very good shout.

Elsewhere….

It looks like Manchester Tevez had a good result. Their title challenge however hangs solely on the performances of one player and whilst they will be close, I think that they’ll just fall short. Their aim is Champions League qualification and that showed when they came to the Emirates and played for the draw. They have been near the top of late because of the game or two in hand, I can’t see them staying right up there by May.
At last, United were beaten in the league and the Invincibles remain untouched. A heavy reliance on the old guard of Giggs and Scholes could be their downfall. Away from home their performances have been poor all season and it is a surprise that their unbeaten record has lasted this long. They have won three away games so far (Stoke, West Brom and Blackpool) which is not really the form of champions and with very few injuries to report, they don’t even have that excuse to fall back on.
Great result for Liverpool considering their equal footing with Chelsea on injuries. The result shows that you can’t paper over gaping cracks with a couple sheets of shiny paper. Torres and Luiz may eventually work out for them but it’s going to take some time and when Mr Abramovich wants/needs to win the Champions League this season, maybe time isn’t in abundant supply.

Tottenham are again suffering on the injury front, mainly with big names like Modric, Bale and Van der Vaart missing games or parts of games. Their squad should be able to cope with these for a few weeks and maybe they’ll enjoy the weekend break whilst we’re at Wembley, but maybe not, hahaha.
Ok, let’s look at results in perspective. Ignore the manor of the result and ultimately it’s one point. That’s one point more than Utd scored this week, one point more than Chelsea. You could then say that we’ve had quite a good week and we now lie second in the league, four points behind United and four points ahead of City. If we beat Wolves at the weekend we’ll either be closer to United or further ahead of City, or both.

Maybe this collapse will actually serve us well. Obviously the players will have to re-focus to stop a similar thing happening in the future but it might also give our opponents a level of over-confidence that could present opportunities for us to kill games off easier.
Hopefully we can manage the few absentees and additions to the injury list over the next few games. Midweek sees another full programme of pointless FIFA friendly matches so I would probably expect a couple more added to our list by next weekend.

Talking of international breaks, it’s probably now time for another round-up of injuries suffered on international duty.

International Injury Watch

Arsenal (Total 34)

  • Goalkeeper – None
  • Defence – Vermaelen (22)
  • Midfield – Fabregas (1)
  • Attack – Bendtner (7), Walcott (4)

Tottenham (Total 23)

  • Goalkeeper – None
  • Defence – Dawson (12)
  • Midfield – Kranjcar (1)
  • Attack – Defoe (10)

Liverpool (Total 19)

  • Goalkeeper – None
  • Defence – Agger (10)
  • Midfield – Gerrard (4)
  • Attack – Kuyt (5)

Chelsea (Total 12)

  • Goalkeeper, defence, attack – None
  • Midfield – Zhirkov (12)

Man Utd (Total 12)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – None
  • Defence – Ferdinand (5), Smalling (1)
  • Midfield – Park Ji-Sung (2), Anderson (4)

Man City (Total 8)

  • Goalkeeper, midfield, attack – None
  • Defence – Boateng (6), Richards (1), Lescott (1)

The injury to Vermaelen, suffered when he was last with the Belgium National Team is still one that is having an influence on our season. Because of this we’re well clear of the rest at the top of the international injury table. It’s interesting that the games missed solely by Vermaelen are almost equal to the total number of injuries of Tottenham, second in the ranking.

After the last international break Chelsea lost Zhirkov for what is now 12 games and Liverpool were without Gerrard for four games, which would have been more had the weather not intervened. You can understand why Gerrard picked up a mysterious knock against Chelsea that has forced him out of the England friendly.

It’s about time these friendlies were expelled from mid-season and National teams were granted a 4 day training session with a selection of players. The uncertainty of not knowing who might be available for the weekend game does not help for preparation, especially when your upcoming opponent doesn’t have the same problem. I’ll be keeping everything crossed in the hope that Robin comes back fit and healthy.

Untold Arsenal – the index on corruption; Next article in the series follows shortly

The History of Arsenal

Making the Arsenal – a little light relief

19 comments to Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 26

  • anatra

    Robin won’t play. Mind you, he could always trip on some toys at home….

  • Phil

    Cheers dale.

    I had a couple of thoughts on the issue of adjusting the raw injuries number according to the importance of the players. I don’t think it would be too hard to select a first eleven for each team assuming everyone is fit (this season for us bar goalkeeper it would be easy: Clichy Sagna Kos Vermaelen Song Wilhsere Fabregas Van Persie Nasri Walcott) From that you could look at the team selections and see who is consistently on the subs bench (adjusting for injuries suffered) and a third category of “squad player” after the subs. An injury to a first-eleven would be multiplied by a certain coefficient, with the number falling for subs and squad players.

    Alternatively, you could rank players according to wage data, and use that. There would be a bit of a bias towards forward players and even the best wage data would be media estimations so I’d imagine the first option would be the best option.

    Adjusting the data like this would certainly give you the most interesting data to draw conclusions from.

  • AnonymousGun

    Nor will Fabregas.

    ^-^

  • Anne

    On a related topic, does anyone know how Djourou picked up his injury on Saturday? I haven’t heard anything about this and I’m wondering why. Considering the nature of the game, I’m wondering if he was injured by a Newcastle player. Does anyone know? Thanks.

  • walter

    Anne,
    I wonder if it didn’t happen in the incident just before half time when he tried to jump over a Newcastle player who was falling to the ground and bumped with his knee against the back of his head?

  • Wrenny

    In addition to Scholes and Giggs, Utd also rely heavily on Ferdinand. Without Rio, Vidic seems to lose confidence and often play below his ability, while neither Smalling or Evans have shown themselves capable of standing in to a high enough standard. Man Utd were leaking goals earlier in the season when Ferdinand was injured, and they’ve started to leak at the back once again with him out (conceding 2 goals each against Blackpool and Wolves)

  • critic

    may be wenger has talked sense into RVP, fab and gibbs. Their priority should be club football first and then international qualifiers. Friendlies happening between season should be ignored.

  • nicky

    All these comments and opinions about our injuries, how we are top of the list, etc, etc, continue to baffle me. WHY are we so prone to long-term injuries and WHY are we so much more affected than other clubs? Is it our style of play? Is the Club’s medical team efficient? Someone should attempt to explain away this mystery.

  • critic

    or may be taken them for spuds type lunch. 😀

  • critic

    @nicky

    it’s mainly because of our style of play. Pressing on every front, enduring dangerous tackles, etc. this all takes their toll on the team.

    When we are usually 2-3 goals up we defend via keeping the possession. Can you imagine opposition team’s frustration over it. It’s only a matter of time when someone makes a tackles or start kicking arsenal players(rotational fouling). These tackles might not always bone breakers but they might lead to some damage, may be a small tear which may aggravate in coming days or something like that.

    Add to that shear physical exhaustion that our players go through after each game. I will not be surprised if our players are the ones covering more ground then other teams. Also, i heard that arsene is very strict in training and make it more like a real match.

    That’s why arsene is using some kind of GPS tracking device to track the amount of running done by players so that he might rest them when he thinks player is out of battery.

  • nicky

    Critic
    For some time now, I have firmly believed, like you, that our style of play, or RATHER our opponents’ attempts to counteract this,…..is the main cause of our persistent injuries. I deliberately omitted this from my comment in case someone came up with another reason. You have only confirmed my suspicion.

  • critic

    @nicky
    other reason could be emirates is unlucky for us. May be we need to perform some rituals to make it auspicious.
    Superstitious yes, but…… just may be……….

  • nicky

    @ critic
    Anything is worth trying. D’you know any unemployed witchdoctors?

  • FinnGooner

    According to twitter messages Djorou just got kick in knee and he is feeling fine (Djorou tweeting that himself and someone who had talked with him too) and should be back in a week (according Swiss FA).
    Hopefully RvP recorvers his flu and Cesc on whatever he has before Wolves match. I was quite happy to read they are not playing. Bad news was a rumour that Szczesny had got injured during training.

  • critic

    @nicky
    No, i don’t.
    May be we can scout one!!
    @fin
    I strongly believe wenger has talked sense into those guys. Whether he use them against wolves or save them for barca, that’s to be seen.

  • FinnGooner

    Critic I was actually smiling and happy to read RvP and Cesc were not playing because being sick. How sick they are I don’t know (I’m really hoping it’s one of those kids often used when to avoid going to school).

  • terry

    Looking though most fans on this page you are all looking at teams helping you to win the league say’s it all really.try looking at the games you ahve lost and slipped up in and it mostly to small sides you should have beaten the fixtuers list will not win you the league as last season showed Arsenal has the best last 10 fixtuers, yet got the least points from them.

  • A Casual Observer

    Better that relying on the ref to give you a pen when you need it Terry.

  • terry

    seems like fortunes are turning again….