The Untold injury records – Part 12 Including the number of games

By Walter Broeckx

After 12 articles about injuries it is time to add another parameter to the numbers we have had.

Links to these articles can be found here the introduction part 1   and part 2   and part 3   and part 4    and part 5  and part 6 and part 7  and part 8  and part 9  and part 10  and part 11 we continue to have a further look at some of the injuries in detail. And remember this is based on the injuries since 2002.

Again I like to thank the people who have contributed to this. And who have made it possible that we could have a look at the injuries.

I would like to thank  Steve Kell once again and thank him for giving permission to use the database he has. You will be able to  find him over here in the future by the way AFSC London  His site isn’t operational yet but I hope he will get it on line shortly. We should also thank Pete who was the link between me and Steve Kell and who passed the information on to me. The numbers in the database come from the injury league website where they have been holding records of injuries since a while.

And now I would also want to thank our reader and a person who likes to comment a lot Mike T. People should know he is not an Arsenal supporter but he seems to like Untold. We will take that as a compliment of course.  The reason why I mention him is because he is the person who added that extra touch to the series. As people said before we have to also look at the number of games played by each team in total over those seasons they were correct. I do admit that I didn’t have that information and to be honest I didn’t know where I could find the time to find this information. But Mike T. delivered this information at my door step. So we can have another look at the numbers.

So after thanking all and everyone lets crunch the numbers as that is what you are mostly interested in.

The first remark I must make is that unlike the other articles where we always looked at 10 teams we now will reduce it to 3 teams only. Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle. Because those are the teams I got the numbers over those seasons. In a way this is very interesting. Arsenal and Chelsea have been close rivals all those years and have had similar seasons. While Newcastle has been a more mid-table team and so it will show how big the difference is between such teams.

If you remember Newcastle also had a rather bad injury record. So this will make it even more interesting to see how this was affected by the numbers of matches played.

Numbers of games played include all the competitive matches in a season. Premier League, FA cup, League cup and European matches if there were any.


Team Matches played
Arsenal 629
Chelsea 643
Newcastle 538


The first thing we notice is the big difference between Newcastle and the other two teams. Around 100 matches difference in some 10 years of football. That is 10 matches per season more played or less depending from where you look.

The gap between Arsenal and Chelsea is 14 matches in 10 seasons so around 1.4 matches difference per season. Not a big gap one could say.


Now we will add the injuries as we showed them in the first articles. And then we will also look at the difference between contact and non contact injuries and calculate the risk of a player getting injured by a contact injury or by a non contact injury for those teams per match.


First of all we will start with the general numbers.


Team Played Injuries Risk coefficient per match
Arsenal 629 838 1.33227
Chelsea 643 588 0.9145
Newcastle 538 732 1.3606


So the first thing we notice is when we look at the numbers of injuries is that Arsenal is way in front of both other teams. More than 100 injuries more than Newcastle and 250 injuries more than Chelsea.


If we look at the risk coefficient per match we see however that due to Newcastle playing fewer games over that period that in fact Newcastle has more injuries than Arsenal when we look at it from match to match.


One big difference is the fact that Chelsea doesn’t lose a player per match. As for Arsenal and Newcastle they seem to lose 1 player and a bit per match. If you would extrapolate this to 10 matches it would mean that Chelsea would lose 9 players and Arsenal and Newcastle would lose 13 players. That is a difference of 4 players or about 40%! That is a big difference.


Now let us look at the non contact injuries first and do the same exercise.


Team Played Non contact Injuries Risk coefficient per match
Arsenal 629 490 0.77901
Chelsea 643 356 0.5537
Newcastle 538 503 0.9349


As we have seen before we can see that Newcastle had most non contact injuries. And if we take in account the matches played this leaves Newcastle to almost losing 1 player because of a non contact injury per match.

The number for Arsenal is slightly better as it leaves us to losing ¾ of a player per match. The score for Chelsea is much better as they only seem to be losing ½ player per match.


If we extrapolate this to 10 matches we see that Newcastle loses 9 players. Arsenal will lose 7 to 8 players and Chelsea will only lose 5 players over 10 matches because of non contact injuries.


Next thing is to look at the contact injuries. And then we get this table


Team Played Contact Injuries Risk coefficient per match
Arsenal 629 348 0.55326
Chelsea 643 233 0.3624
Newcastle 538 230 0.4275


So when we look at the contact injuries we see that Arsenal had most of them. And when looking at it from match to match we lose ½ of a player each match because of a contact injury. Newcastle does a bit better with only losing 4/10th of a player. Chelsea losing even fewer than that.


To put this in to perspective we can extrapolate this again to 10 matches and then we see that Arsenal lost more than 5 players because of contact injuries in 10 matches. That is losing 1 player every other match.

Newcastle would have lost 4 players in 10 matches and Chelsea has lost 3 players. I have rounded the numbers a bit but all in the same direction for the teams involved.


But the difference between losing 3 or 5 players in 10 matches is big. That is a difference of 40%.


So Arsenal has to overcome a contact injury mountain of some 40% compared to Chelsea. That is a big mountain to climb I think.

As all good things come to an end I will stop this series for now. However if someone could offer me the number of matches played by the other teams from the original article I will be glad to do new calculations. But I think that what we have shown by now is enough food for thought.

And enough food for thought to think a bit more before we put blame on the club for mismanaging injuries. Certainly for the bad contact injury numbers we should put the blame elsewhere. And we have to keep that in mind when we face those frustrating years of late.

And remember all the bad refereeing we have shown over the last seasons. Remember this injury records we have just shown you. And then try to say that there is no link between them…. Or better said try to prove there is no such link.


18 Replies to “The Untold injury records – Part 12 Including the number of games”

  1. I think we have to blame the media for continually force-feeding the myth that The Arsenal “don’t like it up em” and can’t play against “industrial” or Old English” or whatever other colourful term they use for overly physical football. I also think the FA have some blame as I believe their officals and let’s be honest, major representatives buy into that myth and let fouls go against The Arsenal then they let against others.

    When you have ex-players like Stan Collymore saying English fans like the more physical side of the game, you can understand why we never do well at the major tournaments. I am not saying take all physical contact out of the game, I am saying, more has to be done by the FA’s representatives to cut out the nasty side of the game and also, with my Arsenal hat on, stop buying into the lie that the way to beat The Arsenal is to kick them off the park.

    We already have the most broken legs per team record I believe.

  2. “And enough food for thought to think a bit more before we put blame on the club for mismanaging injuries. Certainly for the bad contact injury numbers we should put the blame elsewhere. And we have to keep that in mind when we face those frustrating years of late.”

    Why? Where in your analysis do you look at the things each club does / doesn’t do to mitigate injuries? The depth of squad. Rotation of players. Rehabilitation of injuries. You have jumped straight from ‘we have injuries of x type’ therefore ‘its not the clubs fault’. All you have done is highlight the problem, not analyse the cause. Your conclusion is disconnected from your hypothesis.

    Furthermore, your entire work hinges on separating contact (as those that would of been avoided without a foul or other action from the opposition player) from non-contact. Some contact injuries that are indisputably the cause of an opposition player (Ramsey-Shawcross). Others? Your thinking goes completely against all modern sports-science knowledge. A large number of contact injuries may still be caused by muscle fatigue, poor conditioning, over-playing young (during muscle and bone growth) or other factors. Yet, I can’t see any recognition or evaluation of these point at all? All contact injuries are solely the responsibility of the opposition; there is nothing the club could do to prevent or mitigate their existence.

    Worse still, the contact analysis is flawed from the start. You take a arbitrary 50:50 split on knee injuries (for example). Where is the evidence for this split? Ankle & foot injuries- 176 of them. 100% caused by the opposition. None of these can ever be due to conditioning defects or fatigue? Or a pre-existing weakness within the player? Jack Wilshere’s recurring ankle injuries? Absolute nonsense.

    This is the worst kind of analysis. You set out a conclusion (its not Arsenals fault) and manuipulate the method until it fits the conclusion. Frankly, the only thing you can conclude from your analysis is;

    a) Arsenal have an appalling injury record

    Thats it. Incredible bias.

  3. SurferX,

    Better late then never. 😉 With being critical of course.

    I then invite you to do the analysis completely all over again.
    I can give you the data of all the injuries when they happened. You can then go and look for the incident. It are just 6325 injuries to check. So I will be looking forward to you doing this.

    Of course we cannot be 100% sure how the injuries happened. Now the 50/50 split might be wrong. But the split is done for all the teams in the same way. So the difference between the different teams will not have been influenced with this split.

    You only seem to remember one broken leg because of an opposition player? My god where were you when Diaby was kicked to pieces, Eduardo, Sagna, Wilshere (twice now), Diaby (half a dozen other times by the way). I get the impression you just like to disagree for the cause of it. So I think it is getting rather useless to try to reason with you.

    But for the sake of it and as I am in general a calm and patient human being here we go.

    You say : “Your thinking goes completely against all modern sports-science knowledge.”

    Be a bit more specific please. What is excactly your personal modern sports-science knowledge? Are you a doctor, physiotherapist, got trained yourself in such things? If you would have cared to read the other articles (I cannot remember you commenting on the earlier articles) you would have maybe noticed that we do have a few people around who know a bit about such things. They could find themselves in the way I decided to look at them from the contact/non contact point of view.

    I could go on but a bit but while typing this the reason you disagree now might be that the conclusion might be that for a lot of the injuries we cannot blame Wenger. And that is the conclusion you dislike. Because you seem to be one that wants to lay all the blame on Wenger. For all and everything.

    So I think I am wasting my time typing this. Or have wasted my time 🙂

  4. But what the heck 🙂

    Jack Wilshere recurring ankle injuries you said not about contact? My daughter in law who is a doctor told me otherwise. But hey after all what does she know….

    So let us check Wilshere. 1 foot injury before 2011 when he got his major foot injury. That 1 earlier foot injury was in 2009. Two years before he got kicked off the field (finally) in august 2011. So if he would have a pre-existing weakness as you say then why wasn’t it visible before he got his serious foot injury????

    But after this severe foot injury that kept him out for 1 year he has had 9 foot/ankle injuries since then. So it has nothing to do with being kicked I suppose? 🙂 🙂

    For the rest his injury record is 1 hip/thigh, 1 hamstring, 1 calf/shin injury and he has been sick twice.

    But as said in my earlier comment I don’t think I should bother discussing this with you. So I will now leave it like that. 🙂 never say never….

  5. WalterBroeckx
    April 2, 2014 at 9:31 am

    “Better late then never. 😉 With being critical of course.”

    I have no understanding of why I am being censored. The blog uses ‘moderation’, but seeing as all the abuse hurled towards me (seemingly) goes unpunished, I can only assume that as I have been critical of the bias and lack of appraisal of the manager’s performance- that I’m in moderation because its not something that makes the owners of the blog uncomfortable (given it is so vehemently against the modus operandi). Why censor (sorry, moderate) me otherwise?

    So better late than never is a bit rich when it took 4 hours yesterday for the comments to leave moderation.

    “I then invite you to do the analysis completely all over again. I can give you the data..”

    So your assertion is that because you have done the analysis and I haven’t it isn’t open to assessment? Or isn’t until I do it? Your data does not contain the granularity to split between contact / non-contact, so you make loose assumptions that assist in meeting your pre-ordained conclusion. I have no desire to complete the analysis you undertook as I have no conclusion of my own. My thought process is far simpler; AFC has an ongoing problem with injuries that it has been unable to solve. The art of management of anything is solving problems and improving performance- to whit, AW has failed.

    “Of course we cannot be 100% sure how the injuries happened. Now the 50/50 split might be wrong. But the split is done for all the teams in the same way. So the difference between the different teams will not have been influenced with this split.”

    Of course it does. We have more injuries, so you are excluding a large number as unavoidable. Make it a 100:0 split in your favour- the numbers look even better right? Thats what you have effectively done with a large number of the other injuries- so why not here?

    “You only seem to remember one broken leg because of an opposition player?”

    I remember plenty: we have suffered far more than most. I quoted one to illustrate a point.

    What is exactly your personal modern sports-science knowledge?

    Limited. But, I have read around plenty of the sources of criticms of the club in this area. Furthermore, it is secondary to my point- it is a problem that he has failed to solve. What I am absolutely qualified to do is look at a piece of statistical analysis and ask whether it is balanced and rationale. Yours is flawed right from the off (see above).

    “ disagree [..] that the conclusion might be that for a lot of the injuries we cannot blame Wenger. And that is the conclusion you dislike. Because you seem to be one that wants to lay all the blame on Wenger. For all and everything.”

    No. Look at my assessment of AW on the tactics thread- there is plenty of acknowledgement of his accomplishments there. On the other hand, you are happy award him the credit for his achievements, but work so very hard to ensure none of the accountability the problems that go wrong. Tactics, injuries, squad building. None of those could of in any way been done differently or improved upon. Bad results are consequence of luck and referee decisions, injuries the consequence of opposition players, squad building the consequence of distortion of the transfer market by the ‘oilers’.

    Turning your argument round, if he wins the title he will of achieved nothing. Luck will have gone our way, referree’s made good decisions and prevented contact injuries, and if he buys good players it is irrelevant; it is all down to how they performed on the pitch- nothing to do with AW.

    If you continue to set up this man with enough excuses and overlook actual performance, those same excuses only diminish whatever success he has / will have. Im uncomfortable with that as it only undermines what he has achieved for the club, which is so very much.

  6. There are a few reasons for the fact you are held in moderation.

    One is that since you and a few others turned up lately we have found ourselves under a new cyber attack. Now we don’t know yet who is responsible for this but as the owner of this site faced troubled around the same time you (and the few other newbies) came around, we are not taking any chances.

    Another is that as you have nothing positive to say you are driving out people who came along every day and who are looking for positive things about Arsenal. If they want to read negative stuff they can go to other places on the internet but that is just the point: they don’t want to read it.

    Third is that we are all deluded/crazy/tin foil hat people/…. and we like it that way. And watch out, you might get the virus yourself

    Fourth is that we are just happy with live in general and don’t want to be forced to read about how bad things are when they clearly aren’t that bad.

    And fifth if Arsenal wins the league we will have been the luckiest team of the season.

  7. @walter
    So to surmise;

    1) if you hold me in moderation, that will prevent the cyber-attacks. Really?
    2) I have nothing positive to say (read my post above about YOUR diminishing of his achievements, I shall also repost you the comments and assessment of AW that I made, so we can see if its true)
    3) that I understand- though I would level the criticism that
    5) eh? Im in moderation because if we win the league we will have been lucky. What?

    I missed out 4. This is really important. You are saying that the reason this blog exists is only to read positive things. Do you really mean that? Genuinely? Are you really saying ‘Untold- leave objectivity and truth at the door, only come in if you want to read positive spin’. Astonishing- you can’t mean that surely? Does that not put all the extensive output of this site in the rubbish-tip of biased punditry? 14 articles on injuries, all the refereeing stuff. All spin? I’m speechless.

  8. @walter

    My assessment of AW. This was not from the tactics thread, but an older one. Reposting for context and relative to the point that all I post is negatively directed to AW.

    “But what about you?”

    Completely rationale and objective (to a fault- a criticism that has been levelled in the past). This is my view of AW;

    The Genius (96-04)
    -a revolutionary manager, changing the club and English football for ever
    -took a team that had been set-up as a defensive for the better part of 5 years and turned it into one of the most dynamic attacking forces the game has seen
    -introduced improvements in a variety of footballing coaching activities; diet, fitness, coaching
    -had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the players in the game that put him at a huge advantage in dealing with clubs (who’s scouting network rarely went beyond the domestic market and well-publised foreign players)
    -a man-motivator and personal-coach: he turned good players into great players. Great players into world-class.

    The Club Builder (03-08)
    -used the skills (above) to pursue the aim of building a world-class stadium capable of generating the revenues that would place the club at the top of the game
    -managed to keep posting a transfer surplus over this time and keep the club in the top-4; both essential revenue streams that the club needed to finance the stadium (both pre & post build)
    -continued to be innovational in terms of infrastruture (notably with regard to training failities)

    The Stagnator (08-present)
    -despite having resources at his disposal, was unable to revert from type; instead allowing them to accumulate and go untapped (at at time when he was consistently being outspent by rivals) to the detriment of the team, principally becuase;
    -was not able to evolve strategically. Clubs world-wide had evolved and resourced their scouting networks to a level equal to and in advance of AW’s, meaning his old methodology of finding talent at under-valued prices failed- leaving AW often looking impotent as he was often unprepared to pay at market-rate or above.
    -was not able to evolve tactically. Was unable to counter to changing face of domestic football (where more teams played with a 5 man midfield). Changed the formation of the side to play with a lone-striker, but the teams he faced copied the power and pace he introduced negating one of his teams traditonal advantages.
    -was unable to evolve from a control perspective; clubs employing a large number of specialists that collectively replaced areas that he was traditionally strong in: fitness, training, coaching.

    My concern for AW is how far will he let the stagnation go? I am not sure we are dealing with someone who’s core strength is to evolve managerially (akin to the way Ferguson managed). You assertion is that it will come good; mine is now that HE has put everything in place for the club to springboard to the next level. But, I do not believe he has the ability to realise that himself.

  9. Final note, if you have read anything I have posted on the subject of FFP and financial sustainability- you can add that to my list of ‘visionary’ attributes (can’t believe I omitted it from the above- I think this is perhaps one of his greatest achievements). But, any further credit for that needs to cease being given if he doesn’t actually make the most of the competitive advantage established (what point in being financially sustainable as a football club if only to accumulate large unused cash reserves?).

  10. See that is exactly what we mean surfer X

    You take one thing out of the context and then generalise it and put it (us) in a bad daylight.
    No we are not saying that. But that is what you make of it. So why should I bother replying to this.

    I admit I could have added a 😉 at that last point.

    And if you now forgive me as I am the only moderator left that can enter the site for the moment I have a few comments to approve or to throw away. So it might take a while before comments are approved as you have found out.
    Contrary to popular believe we are not paid by Arsenal and we have to work to support our family. So forgive me as that is what I am going to do in the next couple of hours.

  11. @Walter

    This has been a great series and an eye opener for many of us. It is also very timely as AFC review their injury record and hopefully this series and the many excellent comments (apart from the YAAAPs) will be beneficial to that review.

    I note your comment above to Surfer. Surfer has been very destructive (although fortunately unsuccessful) in the way he has attacked the various points put forward by others, he has arrogantly insulted everyone who disagreed with him and then complained when he has been tagged as a troll. But, he has been successful in diverting a number of debates from the topic under title to his anti Wenger complaint of the day. I agree that many are fed up with his negativity and arrogance.

    To return to the injuries, it appears that we suffer a disproportionate number of contact injuries, the knock on effect (no pun intended) of which impacts on the non-contact injuries – although I find this hard to quantify.

  12. Walter, I don’t see why you should stress yourself out moderating Surfer’s comments, I know you like to be fair to everyone, but this guy has no respect for the site – the trash can for him!

  13. WalterBroeckx
    April 2, 2014 at 11:13 am

    “So forgive me as that is what I am going to do in the next couple of hours.”

    Listen- I think I have made my thoughts known well-enough, and I thank you for giving me the platform (moderated or not). This site, and its contributors, are entrenched in a position of non-appraisal and spin. The articles presented begin with the mandate to do nothing other than deflect from any meaningful analysis of both performance of the team, and AW as a football manager, deflecting the blame wherever it can (the fans, the ‘AAA’, the referees, the opposition, the media, and so on).

    There is no balance whatsoever, no contradictory viewpoint, no ‘bad’ to go along with the ‘good’; which ultimately leaves much of the work you may do looking hopelessly biased to any impartial observer- and consequently lacking in any credibility. For example, even with the flaws in data measurement on injuries (which could of been highlighted and challenged by yourself), your article could still so easily concluded that (whilst Arsenal’s injury record is appalling) AW has acknowledged the problem exists, that its not good enough and needs to improve. And that (furthermore) he was the man to fix it, citing ways it would improve in the future (more players, new medical centre, whatever). But, in doing so would be a tacit admission of failure in the first place- and suddenly puts a benchmark in place (if he doesnt improve, well then Ive just damaged him). And that is the big no-no.

    Any Arsenal fan seeking reasoned debate and genuine thought and ideas in support of AW will be hopelessly disappointed and let-down by Untold; if you only ever highlight the positive and continually seek to ignore, excuse or refute the negative- what are you left with? Empty, shallow praise: he is surely more deserving of that?

    Im going to leave Untold now- I shan’t darken the doors again. I will leave you with a challenge though- the same one I gave Tony when he was giving us the ‘Difficult Times’ sermon. I think only when you are prepared to offer balance, and properly benchmark, appraise and evaluate his performance can your thoughts on Arsenal not be a distilled into a simple Untold philosophy:

    “Whatever happens now on in the future, AW will always be impervious to fault, error or blame. Everything he does is 100% correct; he has no margin for improvement and any criticism or appraisal of him should be treated as an attack on the club, irrespective of the long-term consequence to AFC.”

    One thing is certain: one day he’ll be gone. What will the site have left then if it has already forgone reasoning and balance? Certainly not credibility. That is the Untold Arsenal.

  14. I think the difference between the Arsenal and Chelsea injury records over the last 10 years can be partly explained by the physical attributes of the teams over this period. Arsenal have been fielding generally smaller, younger players over this period whereas Chelsea have consitantly fielded older, physically stronger players. It would be interesting to see an analysis of the appearance records of both clubs together with age/height/weight data over the last 10 years.

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