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May 2021

The Untold Injury Records 8: how to hurt a player and not get a card

By Walter Broeckx

After the introduction part 1   and part 2   and part 3   and part 4    and part 5  and part 6 and part 7  we continue to have a further look at some of the injuries in detail. And remember this is based on the injuries since 2002.

Now we come to three more types of injury – including one that is an obvious way for the thug player to injure an opposition player and know he will be able to get away with it.

5. The Bruised foot

In the table below, you will see that this is a rather seldom occurring type of injury. Maybe because it also can be classified in other area’s and that it is only mentioned when there is no other possible reason.

Bruised Foot Injuries Coefficient risk
Arsenal 3 900.00 %
Aston villa 0 0 %
Chelsea 1 300.00 %
Everton 1 300.00 %
Fulham 0 0%
Liverpool 0 0 %
Man City 0 0 %
Man United 1 300.00 %
Newcastle 0 0 %
Tottenham 0 0 %
League average without Arsenal 0.33
Total injuries 6

I think we all can agree that a bruise usually comes from contact. And yet again in this type of injury we see  a big over-proportion for Arsenal players. Now we can see that it only happens a few times but it also shows how Arsenal players suffer much more from this type of injury than other teams. Some will blame the training methods perhaps.

All jokes aside it does seems that whenever we look at the contact injuries Arsenal players are suffering them much more than in the non contact injuries.  And talking about non contact injuries we will now move on to one of those if not completely contact free.

6. Calf Muscle Strain

This is one of the injury types we initially wanted to put down as non contact injuries. But then you can get a muscle strain from being kicked on the muscle. And in fact the calf is the part of the body that is being kicked most. Certainly the kick from behind can cause some damage.

And it is also a type of foul that referees ignore a lot, so it might well be a favourite of some players who are deliberately seeking to undermine the opposition through illegal play without getting a yellow card.   After all it’s just a little kick and most players even don’t go down so no need to give a foul. But if you kick on a calf half a dozen times in a match (without being called a foul once) it can lead to a muscle strain.  So for this type of injury we have decided to assign half of the injuries to contact.

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Calf Muscle strain Injuries Coefficient risk
Arsenal 48 162.41 %
Aston villa 30 101.50 %
Chelsea 39 131.95 %
Everton 18 60.90 %
Fulham 26 87.97 %
Liverpool 22 74.44 %
Man City 26 87.97 %
Man United 44 148.87 %
Newcastle 27 91.35 %
Tottenham 34 115.04 %
League average without Arsenal 29.56
Total injuries 314

The league average of this type of injury is around 30 injuries. But Arsenal are again well above that with 48 injuries. In second place we see that we have Manchester United with 44 injuries. So this is almost the same as with Arsenal. The other teams well above the league average are Chelsea and Tottenham. So we might suggest that this also has something to do with having to play more games.

Maybe it is down to a combination of both being kicked more and playing more games than the other teams that makes the numbers higher for the teams mentioned. You might point at the low score of Manchester City. We have to remember that in the early years of this survey they didn’t play in Europe at all.

7. Calf/shin injury

This type of injury is a typical contact injury. So how does this table looks like?

Calf/shin injury Injuries Coefficient risk
Arsenal 25 132.35 %
Aston villa 25 132.35 %
Chelsea 17 90.00 %
Everton 12 63.53 %
Fulham 17 90.00 %
Liverpool 9 47.65 %
Man City 20 105.88 %
Man United 24 127.06 %
Newcastle 22 116.47 %
Tottenham 24 127.06 %
League average without Arsenal 18.89
Total injuries 195

When we look at this contact injury we see that Arsenal is having again more than the league average. But at the same level we find Aston Villa (this is rather rare up to now) and Manchester United and Tottenham with only 1 injury less than Arsenal.

The low number of Liverpool seems astonishing. But then you could also think that over the last seasons they usually played fewer games than the other teams and the less games you play the less chance you have of being kicked.

I also would like to point at the fact that this is one of the rare times that Manchester City also has a higher injury level than the league average without Arsenal.

In the next article we will have a look at a few other injuries.  And this time we will have a look at injuries that are non-contact related most of the time. So stay with us for more research and numbers.

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23 comments to The Untold Injury Records 8: how to hurt a player and not get a card

  • ARSENAL 13

    Walter, I think you should make a file of these observations of yours and submit it to ARSENAL. They should study this. I dont think there has been such a comprehensive report on our injury problems ever.

  • collins Elechi

    @ walter, Tony
    Pls i beg and plead for something to be done about the level of trolls that infiltrate untold. Its so annoying and depressing that de one place in the blogosphere where there’s sanity and refuge away from the serial moaners and irrational imps like made to love magic, kos, marchand, etc. Who now flood untold with their hateful bile spewing from every pore in dere filthy bodies. Yesterday was very bad on untold as i saw trolls so much and it made me puke. Pls do something to erase dis bastards and block and censure if u can. Pls clean up untold. Thanks.

  • nicky

    @Arsenal 13,
    Excellent idea. It may well kick-start an independent survey into our perpetual injury record.
    Something must be done!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree Arsenal13, this would help wengers review. Have a feeling wenger may already have a pretty good idea on injury causes, he just gave that impression with the transcript I read, but he going to now try and do something about it. Think the first action this summer will be to increase the pool of players he trusts, especially as the WC is being played, some of our team could go a long way, though unfortunately not the England players…..what a shame, how deserving our FA are of success!. I would also like them to take a look at the pre season schedules. This data is all very worrying, we constantly see little tackles on feet shins and calf muscles, no wonder we have so many out. As has been posted, our MF especially. I would give them martial arts training! Serious, not to do damage, though with certain players like Charlie Adam, may be a good thing, but to increase awareness, balance, and reactions. George Best had horrendous tackles going in on him all the time, but never got injured, he was quick but seemed to have a sixth sense to avoid things.His movement has been described as balletic, Messi a bit similar. Certain martial arts can teach such movement…..trouble is, takes quite a long time, especially with some!

  • WalterBroeckx

    About the injury articles. After the broken leg article some doubted my numbers. I went on to check the data and wrote another extra article about it. It will appear shortly I hope. and then we will see the whole truth about the broken legs….

  • para

    Don’t think martial arts is going to help, this is something that is inbuilt. Some players do avoid injuries well during the normal tackles, and even through the dangerous ones, but some players are not like that, and can probably not learn it again. Also some have brittle and some strong bones.

    The whole rules in football need to be reformed, well not the rules really, but the administering of these rules need a reform, so that there is no ambiguity at all.
    Example: All rules should be absolute, with no room for ref interpretation.
    At the moment we have too much ambiguity, no wonder there is too much room for individuals to make deliberate wrong decisions, and mistakes.
    One rule i really hate is the one about shoulder charges.
    This rule is so bad, that every weekend i see countless instances of the same shoulder charge being dealt with completely different. One is a foul, the other is a good strong tackle. Madness.

    There lies the problem as far as i can see it. Nothing we do will change until this problem is sorted.

  • Micheal Ram

    Good research, Walter,

    Actually, our players are very lucky in many occasions for the past three seasons, escaping injuries from wild tackle. I have seen countless crazy challenges went unnoticed and unpublished. Maybe their light frame and nimble feet saved them from certain long layoffs.. However, such tactics has permanently scarred the players with fear of life. They just know they cant hand fight with opponents holding weapons, they cant carry one either cause Arsene dont play that way. Maybe its time to promote English football NOT as a physical and tough league. Will help the future generations and their society too. Well, why am I even bothered? It just not gonna happen is it?

  • bjtgooner

    Great series Walter.

    I have noted time after time when our players are tackled there is a stamp on the foot, a kick on the ankle or a kick on the calf. Because these fouls are rarely called by the ref it is difficult to see how they can be included in the statics, i.e. we are subjected to many more fouls than official statics will record. Walter, you may have allowed for this & if I have missed it – sorry.

    The other thought I have had for a long time concerns the level of protection afforded by the boots & shin pads. With the advantage of hindsight the protection appears totally inadequate, especially when playing against cynical opposition. The ankle, such a vulnerable area, is unprotected. I would have thought the equipment manufacturers could do better.

    I remember my first pair of football boots – they were more akin to the rugby boots of the day – they did nothing for speed or feel of the ball, but they did mitigate knocks and bumps. With modern materials I would have thought an improvement in protection withouy reducing performance is worth looking into.

  • Gf60

    And a tin of dubbin gone through every year; more lace holes than granny’s boots and laces long enough to go twice under the sole and twice around the ankle.
    No-one I can recall ever had a broken metatarsal in those days.
    On that point metatarsal injuries seem to have “gone out of fashion” recently. What say you Walter?

  • finsbury

    Absolute genius:

    The best bit? The recommendation to use video replay if you fail.

    I wonder if the thought of using such occult mysterious contraptions such as video replay has entered the mind of one C.Ronaldo? I wonder if one of the top players in the world’s biggest sports questions the lack of tech aids for the officials provided by FUFA, where every other sport can be seen to not hesitate in trying and provide the best and fairest spectacle.
    There were reports that at one game, somewhere, this weekend players used their phones to show a referee a contested decision, so I assume it must have been a televised game – The players were acting a little bit like the phantom official (Arsenal have only had him as 4th after the Villa fix) A.Taylor on Saturday, but with more competency.

    FUFA have let the game descend below the level of farce.

  • finsbury


    More fun if you start the ‘chellenge’ using this link…

    …enjoy, and good luck! It’s a tough decision.
    That ref preview/precog from Untold was yet again correct, this time about the cards. Who needs refs when you can have such accurate previews of their performances, good or bad! 🙂

  • finsbury

    So in Football what we have instead of clear use of technology is what we saw on Saturday: Questionable bungling between two officials (4th and referee) without any clarification on how such an incorrect and important decision was made, even though such actions contravene their own guidelines. The rules don’t matter? Or they do and that is why the officials are conferring, and in doing so they are unfortunately breaking their own rules on the topic?

    Is this not farcical?
    Even more so then the votes for the WC. Who cares about where the World Cup is going to be when no one (?) seems to the know which laws the officials want to enforce during a game and which laws or rules they want to ignore?

  • bjtgooner

    What remains unclear from the Saturday ref farce is – did the ref change his decision from goalkick/corner to penalty based on the utterances of the Chelski players – and were the Chelski players responsible for the wrong identification? Up to what level did Marriner allow himself to take instruction from the Chelski players?

  • WalterBroeckx

    I have written an article that will cover that incident and my take on it and using what they have at their disposal.

  • finsbury

    Two theories that could possibly explain the irrational and indefensible attitudes of FUFA and the PGMOB towards technology :


    Depending upon the mood of the official and which laws he has decided to apply and which laws he has decided to ignore. This is a tried and trusted system that some officials or administrators like so much that they have decided to ignore what has happened to every other sport on the planet to preserve this method even though this choice has damaged the very credibility of the game/sport that they are supposed to be protecting. We just have to ignore the Rugby or all the other sports and even the Olympics, all of which sports fans in the UK have seen in recent times. Live. And on the telly.
    Football is clearly some kind of a special case?


    The collected theories of Dr.Strangeboot, ‘How I learned to stop worrying and love the PGMOB.’

    Thus spoke Dr. Strangeboot:
    “Football is a game for the plebian masses. If you start introducing concepts such as fair play across the field, if you inisist that statistics in football apart from GD and points totals can be relevant, you will subjucting the masses to Untold distress. This is not humane. The sport must be the same in the Addidas areana where you can be jailed for wearing the wrong logo, as it is upon the marshes where the blessed little children play with jumpers for goalposts. We must protect the precious bodily fluids of all football players and seek to preserve and protect the purity of the sport.”

  • finsbury

    Apologies for going off topic:

    Two stories from the Press linked below: Spot the difference:


  • finsbury


    Date for A is February 2013.
    Date for B is March 2014.

  • bjtgooner


    Thanks for your comment. For information you can see Gallagher’s view below – note that Gallagher implies that Marriner did not seek help from the 4th official.

  • bjtgooner


    A strange interview by Martinez – strange in that he appears not to be in favour of a further introduction of technology – all on the back of Marriner’s screw up!

  • AL

    Don’t worry about the trolls, they’ll disappear just as quickly after our next win. This is the longest I’ve seen some.of them here(since Saturday), but trust me, they’ll soon be gone.

    Can’t wait for the article on the marriner incident. I’ve watched the incident again and again, and there are questions that need to be answered.

  • walter

    I will come back to this after the article about the incident has gone on line. Maybe I answer a few things in the article already.


    Graham Poll commenting on the Rooney goal at West Ham on Saturday on Talkshite it was a foul and the push on the West Ham player sometimes you get sometimes you dont and how a little push knocks off balance a big centre half , its a mans game also it evens itself out over a season (everyones favourite)and you dont wont the game stopped for every contact . So the ref was wrong to allow the goal but was excused because in his oppinion the fans dont wont the game stopped for a foul even if it is a foul
    What chance do players have with this logic by referees we can see the effect of this with the amount of injuries Arsenal players receive

  • bob

    “So the ref was wrong to allow the goal but was excused because in his opinion the fans dont wont the game stopped for a foul even if it is a foul.”
    Steve Vallains,
    So right. Their moral avatar has now taken on that they speak for the fans, for the fans own good. As in: “when I ask for your opinion, I’ll give it to you.”
    Thanks for the favors. Totalitarian scum.