Do Arsenal really get more injuries than anyone else? Time to find out.

Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 2

By Dale Higginbottom

I wrote an article at the end of last season (found here: about how I felt the squad had developed since the era of the invincibles and how much injuries to players seem to have been a factor on our own title challenges over the period.

I wanted to follow that up with a comparison with our rivals in the league but finding the reliable data required, months after the games is a bit long-winded, if at all possible. It’s difficult to know when for example, Fabio of Manchester IOU is injured or just out of the squad because everyone else in front of him is fit, unless you really follow each team and keep up to date with the details.

I therefore thought that we could try and create a comprehensive week-by-week list of players out for each round of the league and, in a similar way to what Walter as done with the referee report, try to prove or disprove the belief that we have injury prone players or that we are hit harder than other teams with injuries to key players.

When the 25-man squads are announced that will make things even easier to follow and analyse. I thought the best plan would be to look at what the media have now termed “The Big Six”; the teams with a decent shot of the Premier League title (although I don’t agree that the Tiny Totts have a squad anywhere close). So here’s Gameweek 2.

Arsenal Vs Blackpool

Arsenal (8 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Djourou (unused sub returning from injury)
  • Midfield – Denilson, Frimpong , Ramsey, Nasri, Fabregas (second half sub, lack of match fitness)
  • Attack – Bendtner, RvP (second half sub, lack of match fitness)

Point to note: Djourou was declared fit but did not play.

Stoke City Vs Tottenham

Tottenham (8 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Woodgate
  • Midfield – Bentley, Modric, O’Hara,
  • Attack – Defoe, Pavyluchenko, dos Santos, Keane

Wigan Vs Chelsea

Chelsea (3 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Bosingwa, Bruma
  • Midfield – Kakuta

Fulham Vs Man Utd

Man Utd (5 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Ferdinand
  • Midfield – Hargreaves, Anderson, Carrick (unused sub, returning from injury)
  • Attack – Rooney

In tonight’s game the reports are the following.

Man City Vs Liverpool

Man City (4 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, midfield – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Boateng, Bridge, Kolarov
  • Attack – Balotelli

Liverpool (3 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Agger
  • Midfield – Mascherano
  • Attack – Torres

Point to note: There may be additions to these before the game but the players above have been reported as at least having knocks or niggles so may not be able to complete 90 minutes.

So far, Arsenal are already one of the worst hit, in numbers at least. Tottenham and Man Utd have some key individuals out and this has been shown up by this weekend’s performances. Luckily, we’ve not had too many key players out against difficult opposition and Chelsea’s performances so far have obviously shown what you can do against weaker teams when all of your best players are fit. It will be interesting to see if our injuries have an impact in the next game or two or whether Chelsea get some tough luck when they start facing tougher opponents and that’s what this weekly list will show.

I aim to do a report for each game of the season, looking solely at players missing due to injury or fatigue as a result of international away days. We should hopefully then be able to build up a picture of how we compare to our rivals and how big the impact of injuries has been on our campaign.

If I’ve missed any details or players missing please let me know. I want to be as accurate as I can with this.


In addition I’ve looked at Gameweek 1 and here is the break down

Liverpool Vs Arsenal

Liverpool (1 injury)

  • Torres

Arsenal (7 injuries)

  • Djourou, Fabregas, Denilson, Song, Ramsey, Bendtner, RvP

Man Utd Vs Newcastle Utd

Man Utd (4 injuries)

  • Ferdinand, Hargreaves, Anderson, Carrick

Chelsea Vs West Brom

Chelsea (3 injuries)

  • Bosingwa, Bruma, Kakuta

Tottenham Vs Man City

Tottenham (5 injuries)

  • Woodgate, Bentley, O’Hara, Defoe, Pavyluchenko

Man City (2 injuries)

  • Given, Boateng

Overall comments

In this first week Arsenal were hit by injuries to key players more than any other team. The 1-1 result was therefore made all the better considering our opponents were without just one player. The other teams fared quite well considering their injuries but it’s early days and there are plenty of difficulties ahead.

Untold Arsenal

21 Replies to “Do Arsenal really get more injuries than anyone else? Time to find out.”

  1. Nice going. Will be fun the see how it develops. I disagree with some of the requirements of injury tho. As long as a player is in the squad, he shouldn’t be classified as injured.

  2. I see your point FEDDA but I decided that, after the first game where van Persie and Torres played but only for a few minutes and Torres particularly was ineffective so reflecting that in some way needed to be done. I think generally starters will be classed as injury-free unless it’s obvious that they are back from a long injury and start their first game back, rather than coming off the bench. Maybe they will be included as half a point in an analysis, not sure yet.


  3. The Fulham first choice keeper was injured (back)! Or was he off for other reasons that we can guess? I don’t think.

  4. I think Dale is only taking notice of the first 6 teams of last season. I think it would be too much work to follow all the teams in the EPL on this matter.

    I’m really very curious on how the season wil go on and on how we will do and the others.

  5. Probably be too much work but i’d also be interested in other stats regarding injured players to try and find a pattern in why we end up with so many.
    e.g. injuries by age, position, height, weight, injury type, etc.

  6. Well it’s the big six teams. Villa finished 6th last season but will struggle having lost their manager and James Milner and losing 6-0 to Newcastle is not the form of potential champions.

    It’s really just the teams with a good chance of the title and therefore teams that should (with a full strength squad) be able to beat the remaining 14 teams in the league if they are to put up any sort of title challenge. If they don’t win one game then that could very well be as a result of an injury to a key player or players. Case in point – Man Utd’s draw with Fulham could very well be (in part at least) down to the withdrawal of Rooney.

  7. i think this season is really going to test the squad because of the 25 rule. we have almost 30+ in our squad because of our amazing youth [ 21’s ] . so injuries will happen. for all teams. and its a really long season.

    as our youth are more experienced than that of the other clubs when the injuries take place the youth will shine. and be more consistent.

    2ndly i was having a look at chelsea’s fixtures. they have some tough fixtures. but they win the big games. december they face everton, sp*urs, man u , arsenal and then bolton. back to back… thats going to be a fun month to watch ….if only we can get a draw at stamford on 3rd oct. our 1st big game. lets not be foolish on that day. draw is good enough. we are more consistent.!

  8. This isn’t really accurate, its a bit bias towards us. We have 5 injuries. RVP, Cesc and Djourou are all fit enough to play, ok they lack a bit of match fitness or a tired from World Cup but they are not injured.

  9. I agree with Pie. Had our squad been smaller, Cesc and RvP would certainly have played on Saturday. And how on earth can you say Djourou was injured and then also say he was an unused sub. He was either available to play or not available to play. Players are either injured or not injured. The fact that they were not picked was down, as you say yourself, to lack of match fitness, which is a completely different thing to being injured. They are available for selection and that means they are NOT injured.

    The correct way to do such a study would be to go from the clubs official injury report released each week. All clubs do such reports therefore you could examine each report and do your comparison from there. That is easy and accurate and avoids you having to make your own judgements as to whether someone is injured or not. Or are you simply trying to make our injury list look worse than it is?

  10. A clear example of the beauty of this blog:
    Contributors are willing to do the research and keep taps that help us to gain better and more objective insights on matters of concern to fandom but which the pundits are happy to spew their opinions without a shred of objective data to back it up.
    Dale, I wish you strength and perseverance to keep this post running for the entire season.
    As I do, for Walter, on the referring scorecard.

  11. I have to agree with Pie and Paul C, strictly speaking RVP and Cesc are not injured. They are not match fit, which still prevents them from contributing due to their fitnees, so a half-point would be more suitable in my view.

    As for Djourou, he was on the bench but never came on the pitch so it’s very difficult to gauge exactly how ‘fit’ he was. With Kos suspended, Nordtveit with the Reserves, and Bartley on loan, Djourou was the only remaining CB and I believe had to be put on the bench as a precaution, even though he was far from 100%.

  12. @Paul C and Pie
    I’m not trying to show our list to be worse than it is. I refer you to my first post re: torres. I have included both Carrick and Pavyluchenko as players in similar situations.

    Re Djourou, had he been fully fit and had Arsenal been playing a stronger team I think he would have started and Song would have played his usual defensive midfeild position. I don’t think that Song would be our third choice CB (at present at least) considering how important he is in our midfield.

  13. I would also disagree with Torres, Carrick and Pavlyuchenko being on the list.

    The problem is mainly that once a season starts, EVERYONE is injured to one extent or another. It is only degrees of injury from that point, especially once you get into February/March/April. By that time everyone has knocks and bruises and strains and the only question is “can you play if necessary?”. We can sit here saying Djourou might have played, or might not have played, but the fact is that he was available for selection. Therefore he wasnt injured in its truest sense.

    I think what you are trying to do is great, because I for one have gotten sick of so many Arsenal fans moaning about our injuries and I think a study like this will show that, over the course of the season, our injuries are not significantly worse than anyone elses. But the only true way to do such a study, free from personal bias, is to simply go on who is available for selection and who isnt, based on official reports that each club releases and is found in the public domain. Going by that criteria our injury list last weekend would have been Ramsey, Nasri, Bendtner, Denilson and Frimpong.

  14. ‘Injured’ can be a relative term. Would any other leading club have declared two of their best players (RVP and Cesc) not yet match fit? Wenger may be more cautious than most – but that could also be down to past experience of bringing players back too soon (Clichy last season?) and may also be seen by players as treating them with more respect when it comes to preventing long term damage which may not actually effect them until they have left the Club. Perhaps the latter is one of the reasons why you rarely read of ex players bad-mouthing the Club after they’ve gone.

  15. It would be interesting to have a look at how many injuries were reported week in week out at arsenal in the invincibles season with say last year

    or even Arsenal vs the rest of hte top 4 from previous seasons

    or even total weeks on the sidelines per club (i.e. accumulate all of the weeks spent out of all players at one club per season)

    im sure opta must have these stats as well

  16. how ironic!!!this is the 1st blog where people wrote how well arsenal finished in top 4 despite major injuries and now it’s contradicting itself….lol…
    anyways…arsenal do suffer more injuries than charity, damnchester….around 20-30% more injuries….and it’s a fact, based on previous 3 years….and i mean injuries to key players…either that or arsenal don’t have big enough squad to compete for the title…

  17. @critic

    Yes, it’s a fact that The Arsenal have had more injuries to key players during the last three years.

    But that doesn’t mean that The Arsenal will suffer more, that the same thing will happen this season. Of course, it also doesn’t mean that it won’t.

    And I do believe that there is a limit on squad size.

  18. Woo hoo! About time we won something. Can’t wait to see the boys lift the Injury Cup!

  19. Are we talking about niggling injuries common to plenty players or leg/shin breaking injuries that Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo suffered or Robin van Persie and Cesc,s debilitating ones they suffered as certain bloggers don,t have a clue as to what they actually mean ?

  20. IN the Man City vs the Liverpool game Mascherano was not really injured, according to Roy Hodgson he was “not in the right frame of mind”. Also Torres did start the game but yes he was substituted in the second half and was no where as fit.

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