What Arsenal are doing about all these injuries

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.

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




15 Replies to “What Arsenal are doing about all these injuries”

  1. This is good news, the club are clearly having a real look at this. Whatever their conclusions, and I am sure treatment by the refs comes right at the top of their list, we need to do something about this. Our youngsters who do not face the worst of the PGMOL get the same problems, our recovery rates appear to this non injury specialist at least….to lag behind those of others.
    I am not playing any blame games here, for a start do not know enough on the subject, but sometimes a new fresh approach to certain things can pay dividends, and if that’s what the club have done, good for them.
    Reducing injuries, with the quality of players we have, could be as important, or in some cases more important than new signings.
    This , and changes in the academy will hopefully be positive for the club going forward, expect maybe more changes as well.
    Now…the difficult part, dealing with the refs……and their puppet masters

  2. The Ox was also out for half the season – as was Podolski. And we only finished seven points off the top. Surely a 50% reduction in the impact of these injuries (i.e. back to an ‘average’ level) would have made a serious difference.

  3. Glad something is being done about it at Arsenal.

    The main cause of injuries i think is the ambiguous rules and the refs not willing to take control of the game. We can see that Arsenal is left unprotected above all others, most certainly by design.

    Just watching the game last night, Bra-Cro, i was horrified at how Croatia got away with having 11 men on the field, and this was just in the first half. When Bra started to fight back, then the yellows started coming out. It so reminded me of watching most Arsenal games.

    If the rules are allowed to be applied when the Ref thinks it should instead of having absolute rules, then it leaves it all open for all sorts of manipulation and personal interests to be served.

    The push to promote “rugby-football” is quite strong in some quarters, especially those (i think) who lack the skill in football and they rely on aggressive and brutal tackles, career threatening tackles.

    If not for Arsenal, i would probably give up watching football regularly.

  4. It seems to me that Brazil are getting plenty of favours so far. A penalty that shouldn’t have been. Neymar probably sent off for raising his hands and hitting an opponent and a perfectly decent goal for Croatia disallowed. I sincerely hope we see a referee with a bit of backbone at the WC who isn’t afraid to penalize Brazil.

  5. Great article, Tony.

    Untold as ever keeps this issue on the agenda. I was infuriated again to read in the paper that Jack Wilshere ‘was injured’ in a match when we all know he was kicked by Daniel Agger.

    It is great that Arsenal are upgrading their training facilities once again. However, as long as the referees carry on allowing other teams to injure our players, the problem will persist. Short of encasing their limbs in protective material, what are we supposed to do?

    It did look to me yesterday as if Croatia were trying to win by rough tactics. So whatever anybody’s judgment on individual incidents, in the end a win for Brazil was a just result.

  6. “I am sure Arsenal have made and are making protests too.”
    I fervently hope so. It’s logical. It’s needed.
    So how about offering a scintilla of why this is hopefully true — as several readers hereabouts have been advocating and yearning for now several seasons running. It’s surely what people want to hear; but how about giving some grounds for this belief.

  7. “we all know he was kicked by Daniel Agger”
    yes, but only a few like Rantetta showed us the images and, as I recall, very few then actually said so. If a whole season then goes by and no one bothers to rail about this openly, recurrently, etc., and Liverpool finish second in their Cinderella story, isn’t it about time that Agger’s clipping Walcott’s foot became a regular part of our ongoing narrative. If nothing else, so that Agger and Rodgers knew that they are being closely watched and held to account in some (if feeble) way. The media have never said anything on this, and only saying-so, at the time (when it matters most) from AFC fans like us could make a difference and get the perception on to the public/PGMOL/Scouser radar. “Everyone knows” what Agger did is not as good as everyone says what Agger did. Perhaps this year AFC fans will at the very least serenade the likes of the Aggers in the same way as we have serenaded Ramsey’s attacker whenever he graces our pitch.

  8. It really does not matter what Arsenal do in terms of mitigating injuries. One can only assume that the club have been aware there is, shall we say, an anomaly when it comes to how many injuries we suffer.
    It’s hard to know whether our physical training is an issue or whether it is just the fact that opposing teams are allowed to kick our players all over the pitch and get away with it. In fact, even more than getting away with it, opposing players are encouraged by the FA and referees to seriously hurt our players and end their careers. That might sound harsh and OTT and of course it is not a direct verbal encouragement, but when you see referees and the FA take no action then that is encouragement enough for opposing managers to tell their players to ‘get up ’em’. Players like Shawcross will need no second bidding.
    So unless referees stop cheating, what can Arsenal do? What facilities are their that will help? Maybe we could send our players out with their legs encased in metal?

    On the subject of c=cheating and corruption I was disappointed to see the opening game of the world cup decided by a ref who looked like he was paid / instructed to ensure a Brazil victory. Football is now SO rotten that it is really little more of a sport than the WWF wrestling.

  9. “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.”

    I still didnt give up on Diaby. Hope he can come back and do a Ramsey. If he does come back, people should be praising Arsenal for saving a man career, but surely the media wont, i know untold will for sure.

  10. Its rare that I totally agree with you Rupert but this time we are 100% in alignment. Croatia was very hard dealt by and the officiating, while not horrible, was totally inadequate. The non-penalty was a classic Brazilian dive, orchestrated by Scolari and company. The ref fell for it hook-line and sinker. It is a perfect example why we absolutely need video review technology in Football.
    I felt Croatia were almost as good as Brazil and were it not for some excellent saves by their keeper (and Croatia’s keeper as well), they could have ended up with a tie or even a loss. THAT would NEVER be permitted by Blatter or the FIFA Football establishment so a weak penalty and all is forgiven! Croatia always looked dangerous on the break but lacked the finishing that Brazil have. I can see a few more soft victories for them so that they reach the finals as Blatter & his cronies desperately want.

  11. @Rupert,
    Hope u get pissed next season when we are on the bad side if refs.
    Anyway, I too agree, it was a shame what refereeing has become. Its destroying football

  12. And the refereeing saga continues with Mexico’s 2 perfect goals disallowed for imaginary offsides. I can almost see them crying for an offside technology that will cost 10 times hat the goal-line technology was, so 10 more Blatter-style bellies get satisfied.

  13. Not all people heal at the same rate, for the same injury. Someone’s Eureka! moment noticed, that all football players can take longer to heal from injuries just due to general stress in their life. Such as the AAA and the “medja” ragging on players.

    If Arsenal are getting away with as many “kicks” as the opposition, pursuing the PGMOL and 😈 Riley isn’t likely to gather any fans, even if referees are being instructed to not give fouls to Arsenal.

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