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August 2021

The Untold Injury records: broken legs, the appalling shocking truth

By Walter Broeckx

In our article about the broken legs some people doubted our numbers.

First they said that the Fabregas broken leg happened against Barcelona. I would advise you to have a look at the match that just preceded the Barcelona match.  On March 27, 2010 Arsenal played Birmingham. And in that match Fabregas endured a bad tackle. Webb stood by and just watched it without giving a foul. Fabregas was on the ground. But he continued to play. But from that moment on he couldn’t hit a ball right. He was in pain and suffering.

It was strange but even the simplest of passes were miss hit. But as we were playing Barcelona the next Wednesday Fabregas went on and on in the Birmingham match. He was a big doubt for the Barcelona match. But he started. Till he got fouled and got a penalty. A penalty which he converted and then we remember him running back and suddenly falling apart. So everyone thinks the leg was broken when taking the kick.

But the injury league has written the broken leg down to the Birmingham match. I know that Arsenal will deny it but I am 100% sure that Fabregas broke his leg in the Birmingham match. Because I have done exactly the same thing in my career.  I played in two different competitions at the time. And on Saturday I got kicked to pieces. And after such a tackle I felt a big pain and got a big bump on my shin. I tried to play on but I also couldn’t give a ball right any more.

The next match another player came studs showing and my leg finally snapped completely. When I asked my doctor and told him about the match before and the pain, the bump on my shin and how I wasn’t able to kick the ball correct  he told me that he was 99,99% sure that I had already a fine crack in my shin bone at that moment.

Because once a leg is broken it loses a bit of its natural bending and when kicking a ball it reacts different.  So at the time I even wrote about it wondering that Fabregas his leg wasn’t broken at Birmingham. The injury league people seem to agree with me and noted it as a broken leg from that match.

But people also questioned the numbers. And they said that we also counted Nasri and that this was a training accident. Of course it was. But so were others. And so I will now give you the broken legs data from the different teams.

Aston Villa broken leg:Kozak sustained in training 2014
Chelsea broken leg: Kalas sustained in training 2013
Everton broken leg: Ross Barkley sustained in U19 match
Everton broken leg: Li Tie (who?)sustained a broken leg playing for his country
Everton broken leg: Oviedo broken leg: in FA cup match 2014
Fulham broken leg: Zamora in match against Wolves 2011
Liverpool broken leg: Carragher match against Blackburn 2003
Liverpool broken leg: Cisse match against Blackburn 2004
Liverpool broken leg: Cisse playing for France 2006
Liverpool broken leg: Pennant sustained in training 2007
Man C broken leg: Mills in sustained in training 2005
Man C broken leg: Shaleum Logan sustained in training 2006
Man U broken leg: Wes Brown in CL qualifying match 2002
Man U broken leg: Fortune not mentioned didn’t play in league that day training ground 2002?
Man U broken leg: Butt didn’t play in league that day training ground 2003?
Man U broken leg: Blake didn’t play in league that day, training ground 2005?
Man U broken leg: Smith playing when stopping a free kick against Liverpool no contact injury 2006
Man U broken leg : Fletcher no match sustained in training ground 2007
Newcastle broken leg: Tamas Kadar playing in reserve match 2009
Newcastle broken leg: Ben Harfa in match against City 2010
Newcastle broken leg: Lua Lua when on loan at Brighton
spuds broken leg: Gardner no match that day – training ground 2007?
Spuds broken leg: Modric in match against Birmingham 2009 yep

Arsenal broken legs:
Shaaban 2002 training ground
Nasri training ground 2009
Eduardo against Birmingham 2007
Ramsey against Stoke
Fabregas: against Birmingham/Barcelona 2010
Sagna: against Tottenham 2011
Sagna against Norwich 2012

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And then I will give the same table we used at the start.

Broken leg Injuries Coefficient risk
Arsenal 7 273.91 %
Aston villa 1 39.13 %
Chelsea 1 39.13 %
Everton 3 117.39 %
Fulham 1 39.13 %
Liverpool 4 156.52 %
Man City 2 78.26 %
Man United 6 234.78 %
Newcastle 3 117.39 %
Tottenham 2 78.26 %
League average without Arsenal 2.56
Total injuries 30

And then we will make it a matches broken leg only table and give the risk coefficient again

Broken leg Injuries Coefficient risk
Arsenal 5 642.86 %
Aston villa 0 0 %
Chelsea 0 0 %
Everton 1 128.57 %
Fulham 1 128.57 %
Liverpool 2 257.14 %
Man City 0 0 %
Man United 2 257.14 %
Newcastle 1 128.57 %
Tottenham 1 128.57 %
League average without Arsenal 0.78
Total injuries 13

So if we only take the broken legs from matches we see that the risk of Arsenal players goes up from 257% to 642%! Staggering isn’t it?

And while I was doing this I thought of looking at how such things changed after moving to the Emirates. And let us look at this table counting only from 2006

Broken leg Injuries Coefficient risk
Arsenal 5 1125 %
Aston villa 0 0 %
Chelsea 0 0 %
Everton 1 225 %
Fulham 1 225 %
Liverpool 0 0 %
Man City 0 0 %
Man United 0 0 %
Newcastle 1 225 %
Tottenham 1 225 %
League average without Arsenal 0.44
Total injuries 9

So when we look at it on a time scale since moving to the Emirates and you know the start of the trophy less years we get these numbers that are absolutely shocking. A total of 9 broken legs between the 10 teams involved. And 5 of them to Arsenal players!!! That is more than 50% of all the broken legs in matches!

Tell me is this shocking or not? Is this a coincidence? Of course not. It was Mike Riley that started the kick them till they bleed festival in match 50. Then the new standard was set out. You can kick Arsenal players as much as you want. And you can even be proud about it. You can brag about it. And the media will clap their hands for kicking us in to hospital.

In a way I have to be thankful for those people who thought that there was a flaw in my articles based on the injuries gathered by the Injury league website. Indeed there was a flaw. Because by including the numbers from training ground incidents it didn’t show the complete picture. The picture that Arsenal players get kicked off the field and still are today without the refs doing much about it.


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32 comments to The Untold Injury records: broken legs, the appalling shocking truth

  • Harry Barracuda

    That’s all well and good mate, but The Arsenal of old would only let someone kick them once.

    This team need to man up and start protecting each other and putting it about so other teams don’t see them as such a soft touch.

  • Hilmar

    RvP against Man Utd, when he scored! Then Henry scored the winner with a header.

  • Wolfgang

    These are all excuse to hide the flaws of Wenger.Truth be told. He shd get muscular players like Viera.Then in a 50/50 tangle,it will be more even. At the moment the gunners are being outmuscled.

  • Mike

    “Man up”?! “Get in peoples faces”. “Stop them playing”. It’s all a bit farcical.

    If you enjoy watching combative sports, karate, boxing cage fighting etc then you will be well aware that they have very strict rules as does every other sport in the world.

    If you want to watch sports that have fighting/blood letting/the chance of serious injuries then that’s fine but go elsewhere. I watch football because I like to see good football played well. Why should I be subjected to watching my team being abused (or abusing others) purely because the referees/authorities make some arbitrary choice not to enforce the rules…………….well unless it suits them.

    At the end of the day I find a mazey dribble past a few defenders and a great shot far more entertaining than shirt pulling, “professional” persistent rule breaking and potential career threatening fouls by players who aren’t very skillful.

    Sorry Harry, I understand what you’re saying and why you’re saying it but Walter is correct. We shouldn’t have to “man up”, we should be allowed to play the game according to the rules and see officials enforce those rules properly.

  • WalterBroeckx

    from time to time we do kick back. And then we get red carded immediately. Now if we would be allowed to kick at free will then there would be no problem. Last time we did this was Flamini and he got a red card for what usually isn’t even called a foul when it is done against Arsenal.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Hilmar that was a broken foot at the time so isn’t in this set of injuries.

  • Virgil

    So @Wolfgang what you’re trying to say is that players like like sterling, coutinho and Flanagan are more muscular than players like the Ox, Poldi or Sagna? they aren’t and yet they don’t get the same treatment, officials are just biased

  • Mandy Dodd

    yes, it is shocking. More evidence for Wengers review. Seems a lot has happened since Riley came in. Yet, despite a clear erosion of already poor refereeing standards over recent years, he is still there secretive and unaccountable.
    Wonder what it would take to have Riley removed….apart from Scudamore or Fergie suggesting it of course, but somehow, think that is unlikely

  • Mandy Dodd

    Paddy V!!!! remember the amount red cards he got? And that was back then, he would rarely finish a game today with the refs we have now

  • Sod Gunner

    Football has and always will be a contact sport where players will get injuries. Some tackles which lead to bad injuries are accidental and other malicious. Ramsey’s and Eduardo’s would fall into the second bracket where over aggressive players tried to to intimidate and soft them up with bad tackles. Others are as a result of mistimed tackles or the other player just being too quick. Sagna breaking his leg at whl was while jumping to head a ball and was just bad luck which you can’t legislate for. The problem is when refs let players away who are constantly launching into bad tackles.
    In relation to the man up issue, Mike I love to see a skillful player skinning defenders with mazey runs but I have no problem with defenders making hard but fair tackles, I used to enjoy Adams, Keown, Bould, O’Leary, Rice, Young, Campbell , Dixon , Winterburn, Nelson etc thundering in and winning the ball. I can remember one particular league cup game in the 1990’s at Highbury against Newcastle and Lee Dixon gave Ginola one hard evening of it and we loved it.
    And any Arsenal supporter that would tell me that they didn’t look forward to the Paddy Vieira and Keane battles, I would find it hard to believe. We loved it and more so when Vieira got the better of him. Football is about skill but also part of the game is tackling and being physical and stopping other teams playing. That’s why we have defenders.

  • SouthernGunner

    Absolutely stunned by those numbers. These recent articles have been a huge eye opener.

  • WalterBroeckx

    The second leg break of Sagna was a malicious step on the leg while on the ground. Ref didn’t give a foul or a red card for it.. ref was Anthony Taylor that day….

  • ARSENAL 13

    I can understand if a player goes down injured in a 50-50 tackle. Cazorlas tackle on a chicken earlier in the season to give you an example.

    But a mistimed tackle is as good as an assault. No justification there. As a player you know what your limits are. So there cannot be a mistimed tackle.

  • Sod Gunner

    Arsenal 13,
    If every mistimed tackle is as good as an assault, there would be some amount of footballers in trouble including a good few of our own players. A player can genuinely go for a ball/tackle and due to numerous parameters things can change in a flash, the ball could take an adverse bounce, the opposing player could be a fraction of a second faster, weather/pitch conditions also can also affect a tackle. Most fans and players know the difference between a genuine attempt to win the ball or a malicious attempt to injury a player. We would be very quick to castigate Arsenal players if they just stood back in matches and only went for tackles that they are 100% sure they could win. Could you image an Arsenal player in a cup final or any game not making a tackle on a player going through on goal because he was only 95% sure that he could win the ball.
    As I said in the previous post, football is a contact sport and tackling is part and parcel of the game, but there is no place for leg breaking malicious tackles.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    ..good news as long as the Ox stays off the goalkeeping practice! Kos is out though isnt he with a calf injury?

  • walter

    Yes Kenneth Kos is seemingly out with a calf injury. Today a scan to see the extent of the injury.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Bloody injuries! Thanks for the conformation Walter. Also amazed and admire the amount of work you put into collating the statics,not pretty reading though!

  • bjtgooner,

    I did not want to sound like a rose-tinted glasses wearing deluded fool but I was kinda glad that the wrong player was sent off. The advantage is that we get to keep both players. It isn’t much consolation but it is better than nothing.

  • Ugandan Goon

    If anyone fancies it, Ladies’ champ league quarter final kicking off now

  • Ugandan Goon

    Birmingham ladies 1 up. we have the better possession, teams evenly matched though>

  • Gord

    I’m not too impressed with the UEFA play by play commentary. Hopefully your video on youtube is better.

  • Gord

    Well, the ladies only have a 1-0 deficit to make up. I see on the Arsenal website, that the U21’s beat West Ham 5-3, with Akpom getting a hit trick (1 a penalty).


    Nobody is volunteering to model the injury system for Walter? Find out just how likely or unlikely that set of statistics is?

    If Walter reads this, how many more subsets of statistics are hoping to put in this series?

  • OMGArsenal

    What those who advocate for ¨manning up¨ and for us to find ¨muscular¨ players to be more Stoke-like, are conveniently forgetting is 1)that the game worldwide is now played by almost as many females as males and it is growing faster with the ladies than the men. so what is your recipe for the distaff side? should they ¨grow a pair¨ since they don’t have any normally, or should they ¨bitch up and take steroids¨ so they can be more masculine?
    2)Professional (male) Footballers live in mortal fear of a career-ending tackle or charge that destroys their ability to play. There isn’t a sane, experienced professional Footballer that will stand up and cry out for rougher, more violent play and tackling….only idiots who have never had to play to earn a living make such absurd statements. Viera was a tough man but he was ALSO very technically skilled, 6foot 4 and about 80 kilos….Per is even taller but I am sure if you asked him whether he’d like to see the officials tolerate more ¨tough¨ Football or crack down on the bad boys, he’d surely vote for the latter, as would ANY intelligent person.
    I officiated some of the best in the world as a professional referee and they abhorred the two footed tackle, the scything leg-breaker from behind, the spine crushing charge that sent one flying like a kite and so on. Two things happened after that. If the referee didn’t call it, the match often began to degenerate into a free-for-all. If the referee did call it but didn’t punish the offender, the player usually would. Even if the referee did do everything right, players were more cautious going in to tackles and tended to back off so-called 50/50 balls in fear they’d get the wrong 50%.This changed the game and fans saw a diminution of skills and effort on both sides.
    Nothing brings the game into disrepute and ruins it for everyone than when the game turns into a battlefield and the players into gladiators….even the Romans stopped that spectacle when they became civilized….its time we got together and ensure the same happens in the Football world.

  • Gord

    @Walter (et al)

    The probability of observing 5 injuries to the first team, 2 injuries to each of 2 teams, 1 injury to each of 4 teams and 0 injuries to the remaining 10 teams is not that unreasonable, something on the order of 1 in 500. This assumes Poisson statistics (for an average of 1.3 injuries per team). The variance is slightly higher at 1.503, so perhaps a person should redo things as a negative binomial distribution. I suspect nobody will scream and holler over 1 in 500.

    I would probably need to run things a few thousand times to get a better handle on the actual ratio, especially for negative binomial. But just this one report doesn’t smoke on its own.

  • Gord

    Should read, “… to the remaining three teams of 10 teams …”.

  • Pat

    Shocking! Many thanks, Walter, for exposing this.

  • Gord

    Okay, running for 10,000 successes, I find the ratio is 1:563. The error on that should be proportional to about 1% (so 563 +/- N * 5.6). This is still using Poisson statistics, when I probably should be using negative binomial.

    I think the totality of analyses will be needed to make a smoking case.

    But, my TODO list is getting stacked again, so that is it for a while.

  • Gord

    The negative binomial has the mean being equal to:

    = r (1-p) / p

    and the variance being equal to:

    V[X] = r (1-p) / p^2

    for =1.3, and V[X]=1.503, r is about 8.32, which makes p about 0.864. Math::Random requires r to be integer, so using r=8, makes p = 0.86021505.

    Running 10,000 trials with those parameters, I find the ratio is 1:408. The error in that ratio should be some small multiplier times about 1% (408 +/- N * 4.1).

    In some sense, both numbers are like 1:500. But, using the wrong probability distribution gets you a screwy answer. This is not to say that 1:408 is correct, but it is closer than 1:563. If we had more data, it might be possible to use a bootstrap to calculate trial values.

    Hopefully this helps Arsenal win against Swansea. 🙂


  • Gord

    Okay, WordPress doesn’t like angle brackets. The mean (arithmetic mean) is often shown as the variable inside angle brackets, which is what I wrote. The mean is 1.3.

    And we still need more data to get anything like a smoking gun.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Gord – I received this disturbing e-mail .Could this be true ? The first one of course !

    Einstein’s Laws

    If you run naked around a tree at a speed of 185,999 miles per second, there is distinct possibility of you screwing yourself.
    ….Albert Einstein

    Alternatively, you can achieve the same effect by voting for your favourite political party.
    —- A Sage