Untold Injury Review of the Season – Part 2, the Totals.
By Dale Higginbottom
In part one of this injury review series we looked specifically at the injuries incurred as a result of players taking part in matches for their respective national teams. Obviously this is only a small percentage of the total injuries suffered by the top teams (13.26% in fact) so we really should take some time to look at the overall figures. Indeed, that is what this series of articles was intended for and I started the research to see if Arsenal’s bad run of injuries over previous seasons was actually bad luck or whether it is actually the case that every other title-chasing team faces the same injury issues.
So, after a season of collecting this data, I can now present to you the final totals and it certainly makes for interesting reading.
So, as I’ve been saying in pretty much all of my weekly round-ups, Tottenham and Arsenal suffer the most injuries. United are distant third and City, Liverpool and Chelsea were very lucky, finishing a way behind the leaders.
Breaking it down into areas of the pitch we notice that teams had their problems in different areas of the pitch. For Arsenal, this season it was in goal and 60% of all the goalkeeper injuries of the top-six teams have been suffered by Arsenal players. With Almunia, Fabianski and Szczesny all missing games through injury this season, it’s certainly been a difficult task for Arsene to manage Even the on-loan Mannone (who is not included in the figures) had an injury whilst with Hull City. A lot of talk last summer was around Arsenal signing a new goalkeeper however, the injury figures have really shown that it can be quite a risk pinning hopes on one player and it’s certainly a squad of good goalkeepers that is needed for any league campaign.
Tottenham have clearly gone all out to show that when it comes to injured defenders, only one team can be King (or should that be “King-ed”). It is clear (and has been all season) that the Tiny Totts needed fit centrebacks to have any chance of competing for Champions League football. However, injuries to Woodgate, King, Dawson, Gallas and Kaboul meant that they all missed large chucks of the season and a cohesive defensive unit could never be formed. Just 8 clean sheets in the league really does say it all.
It makes sense that most injuries come from the midfield. Midfield players are often the hardest working in the team, running the furthest, making numerous challenges and often changing direction and pace. The top three all had similarly high midfield injuries whilst Chelsea suffered well over half of their total injuries in midfield. City and Liverpool got off fairly lightly in midfield, City’s total of 50 was in fact, largely due to lengthy injury to Michael Johnson.
Up front it’s all pretty even. Man City hold a bit of a lead in this area however, the majority of these injuries came from Tchuimeni-Nimely (14) and Balotelli (15) so maybe it’s been quite a balanced season for attacking injuries over the top-six teams.
In my final injury index of last season I commented on the average injuries per game. For Arsenal this was 5.8 and I made a point of saying that when you have an average that high, you are pretty much guaranteed to be without, at the very least, one 1st XI player every game. Now, we’ve seen the totals but how have these injuries looked on a game by game basis?
|Team Total||Per Game Average||Lowest Week Score||Highest Week Score|
I think the per-game average put things into context quite well with Tottenham having on average, almost 6 players per game out through injury. That, when put up against bottom of this little table, is almost 3 injured players more than Chelsea had to contend with. The contrast can also be seen in the range where Tottenham’s best and worst weeks were double those of Chelsea.
Man City, the team that finished closest to us in the league, had on average 2 players fewer unavailable for selection due to injury than us. That’s quite a big gap when you’re talking about the difference between 6 and 4 players. In fact we can say that Man City had only 66% of the total number of injured players that Arsenal had this season and Chelsea only 56%. It’s these sorts of differences that, over a long season, can see points dropped or gained and ultimately the difference between 2nd and 4th in the standings.
I’m not going to dwell too much on these figures as whilst the total numbers can be a quick and easy reflection of injuries, they can’t truly reflect the importance of the injuries to individual players. A Premier League team can fairly-well manage 5, 6, 7 injuries per game and have squad players to come in and do the business. Where it gets tricky however is when those 5, 6, 7 players are your 5, 6, 7 best players and it’s this factor I want to look into in the next review.
More to come…
- Who the phrase of not being able to run a **** up in a brewery is really about
- Constant revolution: Arsenal become the first Trotskyist team
- Arsenal v PSV: that really was a night to remember for a very long time
- Arsenal v PSV, the team, negligence and corruption
- Sex abuser Barry Bennell has died but here’s why we should still worry about youngsters at football clubs