By Tony Attwood
My view on injuries has remained the same all season – if we had not suffered the injuries to Theo, Ozil and Ramsey and had them out all at the same time, we would certainly have finished higher than fourth and quite possibly won the league. Not certainly won, but possibly.
The analysis on Untold of Arsenal’s injuries has been reiterated in several newspapers in all but one issue – the analysis of how many of those injuries come contact injuries including fouls on the pitch, and how many are training accidents or injuries on the pitch which were not related to contact from another player.
1 Arsenal 277 – 7.49
2 Aston Villa 197 – 5.32
3 Tottenham 194 – 5.24
4 Newcastle 186 – 5.03
5 Man Utd 185 – 5.00
6 Everton 184 – 4.97
7 West Brom 172 – 4.65
8 Crystal Palace 158 – 4.27
9 West ham 156 – 4.22
10 Liverpool 155 – 4.19
Arsenal, it turns out, suffered by far the most contact injuries in the league. A full list of all the articles that revealed the truth behind the issue of injuries in the Premier League is given at the end of this piece.
Our response to the news is to do the one thing we can – to ensure that PGMOL and the referees know that we are aware of this situation, and keep on focussing on issue – even now in mid season. I am sure Arsenal have made and are making protests too.
But they are doing something else: a major upgrade to the training centre and looking to bring in Shad Forsythe who has been the head fitness coach of the Germany national team.
The current fitness centre opened in 1999, very much under the influence of Mr Wenger, and was last expanded in 2011 with a new medical centre being added. Many other clubs have sought to copy the model in subsequent years. But now the new facility will provide, in addition to existing facilities, an extra athletic development centre as well as an expansion of treatment rooms (vital given our injury record), offices etc.
Additionally the new Youth Academy development at Hale End is going ahead with extra medical, training and educational facilties.
Alongside all this a review of the club’s training and medical procedures is taking place to see how Arsenal can cope with this massive number of contact injuries. This time however whatever Arsenal come up with is not likely to be copied by other clubs, as the rest of the developments have been, because of course they don’t suffer from this problem. In this area, Arsenal are out on their own.
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What is interesting is that while Arsenal have had very bad periods of injuries before it looked prior to last season as if we were beginning to find a way of avoiding some of the injuries for a while. We shouldn’t make too much of that change, because Arsenal were always still near the top, but we were not so far ahead of other clubs, as we were, for example, in what we dubbed the Year of the Seven Left Backs, in 2005/6.
Some of the assaults on Arsenal players are so awful that the mere fact that the football authorities refuse to deal with them by matching the punishment to the crime reveals quite a bit about what is going on behind the scenes. Diaby, Eduardo and Ramsey all suffered the most appalling injuries and only Ramsey has come back to put take his career to a higher level. It remains a profound indictment of football that players can commit the most awful attacks on others, and receive just a three match ban.
If you would like to read through the full analysis of Arsenal’s injuries here is the index of articles
- Every Premier League Injury since 2002
- Arsenal injuries against those of every other club since 2002
- In almost every match one Arsenal player is kicked off the pitch
- The two most abused clubs in the league
- Non-contact injuries
- Bashing Özil Bashing Wenger
- Injuries in Detail
- When legs are broken
- How to hurt a player and not get a card
- Broken legs: the appalling truth
- The Groin Strain and hamstring
- The Knee Injuries
- Shoulders and Thighs
- Number of injuries against numbers of games