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Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 3 (Back on top)

Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 3 (Back on top)

By Dale Higginbottom

It’s game three of the Premier League campaign 2011/2012 and as clubs have been looking to get late transfer deals done, they still had games to be played and points to be won so as you can expect, quite a stressful time for all involved. I’m not sure if any of the heightened stress levels have lead to any injuries but we’ll assume not for now (although Modric’s “head is not in the right place” problems are almost certainly linked to transfer stress).

Anyway, enough digressing, we’re here for the injury index, which is a little later than usual as I was in a muddy field in Leeds watching bands, (thankfully) avoiding the broadcast from Old Trafford. But enough about me and back to the football and better late than never, here is the breakdown of games of last weekend and the injuries suffered by the teams involved.

Again, as a reminder I’ve included the injury types and these are listed below.

A = Ankle J = Foot
B = Back K = Knee
C = Calf L = Achilles
D = Dead Leg M = Muscle
E = Hamstring S = Shoulder
F = Fatigue/Lack of Fitness T = Thigh
G = Groin U = Unknown
H = Head Injury/Concussion Z = Broken Leg
I = Illness

Man Utd Vs Arsenal (8-2)

Injuries Man Utd (6 + 0S) Arsenal (8 + 3S)
Goalkeeper N/A N/A
Defence Rafael (S,3), Vidic (C,2) Sagna (I,1), Gibbs (E,2), Vermaelen (A,1), Squillaci (C,2)
Midfield Valencia (A,3), Fletcher (I,3), Gibson (A,1) Wilshere (A,3), Diaby (A,3), Miyaichi (U,1)
Attack Owen (B,3) Bendtner (U,1)
Additional issues Welbeck was injured after 35 mins and had to be replaced. Ferdinand was fit enough to make the bench but did not play. Koscielny was a doubt for the game but started and played the full 90 mins.
Suspended N/A Song, Gervinho, Frimpong

Liverpool Vs Bolton (3-1)

Injuries Liverpool (3 + 0S) Bolton (7)
Goalkeeper N/A N/A
Defence Johnson (T,3) Ricketts (L), Mears (Z), Alonso (J)
Midfield Gerrard (G,3),. Meireles (S,1) Davis (K), Gardner (G), Holden (K), Lee (Z)
Attack N/A N/A
Additional issues Kelly picked up a hamstring injury after 30 mins and was forced off. N/A
Suspended N/A N/A

Chelsea Vs Norwich (3-1)

Injuries Chelsea (4 + 1S) Norwich (3 + 0S)
Goalkeeper Cech (K,2) N/A
Defence Bertrand (T,3), Luiz (K,3) Ayala (K), Ward (K)
Midfield Essien (K,3) N/A
Attack N/A Vaughan (K)
Additional issues Drogba sustained concussion during the second-half and had to be replaced. Hoolahan was a doubt but started and played the first hour.

Whitbread had to be replaced after picking up a first-half injury.

Suspended Sturridge N/A

Tottenham Vs Man City (1-5)

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Tottenham (6 + 0S) Man City (1 + 1S)
Goalkeeper N/A N/A
Defence Gallas (C,2), King (K,2), Hutton (K,2) N/A
Midfield Pienaar (G,2), Sandro (K,2), Palacios (K,2) De Jong (J,2)
Attack N/A N/A
Additional issues Walker was a doubt for the game but was fit enough to start on the bench, he was an unused sub. Van der Vaart limped off in the second half after picking up a hamstring injury. Lennon and Kranjcar also both picked up groin injuries and had to be replaced. N/A
Suspended N/A K. Toure

Right, I know that most Arsenal fans would rather forget about Sunday and think more about the optimism surrounding the new signings however, this needs to be done and avoidance is never going to help you to truly deal with your issues so we’ll plough on. I will try to be brief though.

Given the injuries we had versus those of United we can’t really say that we were really unlucky but put into context of the timing, player departures and suspensions then the odds certainly do look stacked against us. I think the key area was that of full-back as we know that United use Young, Nani and Valencia very effectively when attacking. So the fact that we were fielding two very inexperienced full-backs alongside what is now (after the signing of Mertesacker) our third and fourth choice centre-backs, is clearly a contributing factor to the defensive frailties we suffered during the game.

Similarly, in the other North London-Manchester fixture of the weekend, we saw another gulf in injury fortune with Tottenham suffering significantly more injuries than their opponents and that clearly showed in the final score. I wonder if there is something related to the fact that both Arsenal and Spurs have had European fixtures to contend with, on top of the respective transfer issues, which certainly hasn’t helped matters, whether it be with the injury levels or the performances themselves.

Liverpool and Chelsea won fairly comfortably, although Chelsea were again true to form and left it quite late to get the winner. Both Liverpool and Chelsea are only currently suffering a handful of injuries and had Bolton been a little bit more blessed with luck on the injury front, I think they could’ve been a slightly trickier opponent for Liverpool, and I certainly think that they can be difficult team to beat, as they showed against Man City last week.

Whilst 8-2 is obviously an extremely difficult result to take, the result already seems unimportant given the activity over the days since. At the end of the day it’s three points dropped at Old Trafford, we did the same last year. In fact in the same fixture last season we had just five players injured (Almunia, Frimpong, Vermaelen, Diaby and Gibbs) four of whom were also unavailable on Sunday. I’m not saying that the result may have been different but had we been in a similar injury position this season, the magnitude of the defeat would definitely not have been quite so great.

To put it into context, last season our longest injury list was 9 players and this happened against Chelsea and West Brom (both away from home), we dropped points in both games. When we had 8 injuries we had mixed results (beating Birmingham at home and Blackpool away, drawing with West Brom and Blackburn and losing to Villa at home) and these were against somewhat lesser sides, when compared to the current champions. Yes, United did also have their injury problems, and six is still a reasonable number to have to cope with, but I noted from last season’s figures that those couple more can be just the tipping point needed to result in a below par performance. This would surely make sense as when you get up to eight injuries; the likelihood that the players are used to playing with each other is greatly reduced, especially when new signings or youth players are introduced into the squad.

I’m not going to dwell on this too much, as you can quite rightly argue that it’s the club’s/players’ own doing but add to the injury list the three suspensions and the depleted squad through incomplete transfer dealings and you certainly get a feeling that we didn’t face United at the most ideal time. And that is the point, given what has happened on transfer deadline day and the injury situation, we surely won’t see anything else like that in the near future and at the end of the day it’s just three points, three points that we didn’t get last season or the season before anyway. Oh and one last thing, football is all about sequences and after this fixture last season we went on quite a long unbeaten run, if we can match that this season, we’ll be in a very strong position by December.

Untold Index

Arsenal History

Making the Arsenal

Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


Per Mertesacker: the fact file

Does Arsène Still Know Best? – Clear Thinking “Post Old Trafford”.

Evidence, who needs evidence?  The Guardian knows that Wenger is ill but insists on doing all transfer deals himself!

12 comments to Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 3 (Back on top)

  • Dark Prince

    Is there any update on Vermaelen’s injury?? I’ve heard he’ll be out for 4-5 weeks? 🙁

  • eleanor

    The key to reducing the list of injuries is rotation.

    By September 10 (Swansea away) Sagna and Vermaelen should both be back. As will Frimpong after suspension. Gervinho and Song still have one more game to sit out and should be able to play against Dortmund (obviously) then Blackburn.

    Other than that there’s only the well-being of Wilshere and the rehabilitation of Diaby to think about. With Arteta now having arrived, there’s less of a likelihood of rushing Jack back, in the way we used to with Cesc.

    So, for Swansea we can still put out a strong side: Arshavin or Park (AKA Ju) up front with RVP and Walcott. Arteta, Rosicky/Ramsey and Frimpong in midfield. And Sagna, TV5, M4/Kos, and Santos; all in front of Szczesny.

    Not too shabby. Then for Dortmund Song and Gervinho return.

    Even if Jack’s still not back for Blackburn we’ll have a much better idea what AW’s primary team will look like. It’ll be based on the initial teamsheet against Dortmund.

    The team against Shrewsbury could be anything … but because of our strength in depth it should be just as strong as last season’s against Sp*rs.

    The nice thing is that even with AA23 and Chamakh off form to put it mildly, Rosicky appears rejuvenated. He changed the match against Udinese and was easily the best player on the pitch for the Czech Rep against Scotland. Nor are we too fearful now with Song. And just like with Almunia, there should never be a good reason now for Squillaci to ever again put on an Arsenal shirt.

    Denilson, Eboue, Bendtner are all gone. So, we can actually rotate our players more often now. Even if RVP misses time Park or Walcott can fill that spot ahead of Chamakh.

    So, let’s hope for just our fair share of outages this season instead of what we normally get.

  • beck

    the swansea game on sept 10th is at home
    tickets are available on the exchangw

  • walter

    According to the mother of Vermaelen who has told our club president Thomas will not be fit in time for Swansea.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Great work once again Dale. And I really think 11 players out at the same time is a bit too much

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Walter….since when does someone’s mother decide when a player is ready? I wish my mother had told my employers when I could go to work….what a riot!
    My guess is that Wenger will be more inclined to rest his injured players longer since we now have more than enough quality to field a very competitive team at any time.

  • Kentetsu

    Or the Arsenal medical team analysed Vermaelen’s injury and expect him to miss Swansea, which Vermaelen told his mother and she told Arsenal Benelux. Seems a more likely order of events.

    Great overview, Dale. With eight injuries and three suspensions you basically miss a full team.

  • walter

    Kentetsu, that is the order how things happened.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Vermaelens injuries are a becoming a bit of a worry, he is so key to our team. Still, if the worst comes to the worst there is a defender going cheap in Jan!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Jack Wilshere, assuming the genuine one has tweeted he will be out of 2-3 months.
    Why does it always seem to be the most important players.
    I still think somebody needs to look into our injusry record.

  • Arvind

    Thank You Dale. One suggestion that I can offer is for you to track (somehow) the impact that each player has overall. i.e: How many games do we win, draw or lose? What combinations of players further exarcebate our position and cause us more problems? Quality of game..overall.. does it suffer?

  • Jas777

    Here is hoping that history doesn’t repeat and Wilshere of 2011/12 is not another Vermaelen of 2010/11.

    We also need all the players back for the heavy fixture months of November/December/January