The Untold Injury Index: Arsenal’s injuries compared to the rest

Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 4

By Dale Higginbottom

We certainly didn’t come away form the break unscathed, injuries to Walcott and Vermaelen were tough blows but we probably come out of the break fairly well and I’ll explain later.

This is the third article in the series and I thought I’d set out a couple of ground rules to make the data a little more transparent and to iron out a few inconsistencies. Thanks to everyone in the comments section for the great feedback.

I want this study to be as comparable as possible and to try to avoid too many value judgements. In the articles so far I have been logging as many of the injury issues as possible in a hope to cover everything and ensure all teams are fairly covered. In reality this has meant that some fit players may have been included in the figures simply because they made the bench after an injury. These players could well be fully fit but the manager has decided not to play them in favour of another in-form player. It is for this reason that I will use the simple rule of players that make the squad will not be included.

Players will now only be included in the weekly lists if they are declared injured and fail to make the squad. Therefore, players not making the squad will only be added to the list if they were declared injured beforehand, either in the club press releases/conferences or if they are injured before kick-off (in training, warm-up etc)

As I have been quite thorough in the previous articles I’ll be able to retro-fit these conditions on the previous figures. I still would like to make a weekly log of the other issues and these are listed in the additional issues section. Readers are free to debate the impact these minor issues have had on performances.

Below are the figures for this week, gameweek 4

Arsenal Vs Bolton

Arsenal (6 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Vermaelen
  • Midfield – Frimpong , Ramsey
  • Attack – Bendtner, RvP, Walcott

Additional issues: Diaby came off after injury during the game; Nasri, who was previously injured, made the bench but did not play.

West Brom Vs Tottenham

Tottenham (6 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper – Gomes
  • Defence – Woodgate, Dawson
  • Midfield – Bentley, O’Hara,
  • Attack – Defoe

Additional issues: Crouch, who was reported as a doubt, made the bench and was a second half substitute. Modric suffered an injury during the game and was forced off after 32 minutes.

West Ham Vs Chelsea

Chelsea (2 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Bosingwa
  • Midfield – Lampard

Additional issues: Kakuta, who was reported as injured, made the bench and came on as a 76th minute substitute. Terry and Ivanovich were also reported as doubtful but were fit enough to start and play most of the game.

Everton Vs Man Utd

Man Utd (4 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, attack – No injuries reported
  • Defence – Ferdinand
  • Midfield – Hargreaves, Anderson, Carrick

Additional issues: No additional issues reported.

Man City Vs Blackburn

Man City (5 injuries)

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

Additional issues: Richards was earlier reported as a doubt but played the whole game.

Birmingham Vs Liverpool

Liverpool (2 injuries)

  • Goalkeeper, midfield- No injuries reported
  • Defence – Aurelio
  • Attack – Kuyt

Additional issues: Ngog was reported as doubtful and was an unused substitute.


This week sees Tottenham and Arsenal lead the way in terms of injury numbers, as has been the case over the past few weeks. The fortunes are very mixed as Tottenham look to be struggling with the frequency of games having joined the Champions League this year. On the other hand we look so far to be coping with the injury barrage but it will be interesting next Tuesday in the Carling cup to see the squads and where the priorities lie.

Man Utd’s troubles this week seemed to have been more related to the loss of Rooney than the four injuries listed and Man City do not appear to be missing many key players through injury except maybe at left-back. Chelsea and Liverpool have few injuries but the relative squad depths have been shown up as Chelsea were comfortable winners away at West Ham but Liverpool struggled to create chances at Birmingham.

So, how did we do in the internationals? Here is a list of players injured as a direct result of the recent international break.

Arsenal – Vermaelen & Walcott

Tottenham – Defoe & Dawson

Liverpool – Kuyt

Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea – No injuries reported

The international break looks to have been toughest on Tottenham and Arsenal.

By reports it looks like Tottenham missed Defoe and Liverpool missed Kuyt as both teams struggled to create chances to get a winning goal. So far, the two injuries for us have not been a problem, the squad depth appears to have handled the injury situation so far and hopefully that will continue despite Diaby’s injury.

One positive thing for Arsenal is that we can see now the great efforts Wenger has put into developing a strong, deep squad. In previous years we were criticised for not having the squad depth to cope with a full EPL and Champions League campaign but this season, so far at least, seems to show great depth. To have three of your key attacking players out and still score four goals is really good going. Maybe the 25 rule is actually playing well into our hands as our rivals can’t go out and fill their books with quality, experienced players. Maybe the league will be won based on the quality and number of under-21 players and in that we excel.

One little question I’d like to put is, how do you feel about the injuries in the recent international break? Ok, we lost Walcott for a few weeks and Vermaelen has a short-term knock but are these negatives out-weighed by the positives of Nasri, RvP, Bendtner etc. getting an extra week between games to recover from their injuries?


Untold offers the most detailed analysis of each game, anywhere on the planet

But do we really have more injuries than in the “old days”. Read about the game where our injured keeper had to play at full back as nine other players cried off sick.

Arsenal v Bolton: the referee’s analysis Referee Walter Broeckx considers how the man in the middle got on.

Robinson, Taylor, Shawcross, Smith – the criminals in the EPL – a somewhat confused Tony Attwood looks at the tackle that could have cost Diaby his career

02 and Untold together: Wenger is a cheat!!! Billy the Dog McGraw is the special guest of 02 for the game and gets inside their famous Blue Room on Club Level

And the Preview: Arsenal vs Notlob, and O2 have no idea what they are letting themselves in for

27 Replies to “The Untold Injury Index: Arsenal’s injuries compared to the rest”

  1. Dale,

    You are keeping us very well updated.

    The question you posed in my opinion is negative. It is soley based on the % players from Arsenal who have national team duties compared to the rest of Europe’s teams. Also, Bendter is injured anyway and if he wasn’t he would have had to have reported for nat’l duty. So we lose no matter what.

  2. Good post but is Woodgate in Spuds 25 man squad? His injury has lasted so long I don’t think ‘appy ‘arry included him.

  3. it’s not the number of injuries that matters it’s how much time we lose players for that matters.

  4. This is a good post to mention it, from what I’ve seen on various blogs are people mentioning the lack of silverware is due to the amount of Injuries we get compared to other clubs and that the cover coming in is not as good as other clubs cover etc etc and it got me thinking on whether or not it has much baring on the outcome of the title, as all teams go through injuries major injuries. So do we get more than say Man Utd or Chelsea who missed both Rio & Essien for large chunks of last season and are 1st team players. So for example when we last won the double in 2002 did we have as many injuries and players out as we did last season??

  5. CBK – Great point. Should this list include players not in the 25 man squad list?????

    Dale – excellent. I think the opening clarifies the study much more than previously.

  6. Cheers Paul, I tried to take on board what you said after the last article.

    @CBK – Great point about Woodgate. I completely forgot that he was left out of the squad. Ive made a note of that on my overall list and will exclude him in the future. Therefore Tottenham are down to 5 injuries.

    In that case it makes Arsenal top of the injury league, great that we can still win 4-1.

    @Ole Gunner – I think it’s the number of injuries at any one time that is the issue. For example, if we lost one or two players for an entire season, that’s fine we can accomodate that. If we lost 9 players for a crucial two-week spell it could end our season. I think it’s a bit of both really.

  7. Woodgate shouldn’t be excluded from the list, he’s an important player whose injury has a big impact on their squad. And if he was fit, or likely to have returned to full fitness before January, he would have been included in the 25.

    Walcott and Ramsey are not in our 25-man squad either, but this makes no difference to their worth to our squad, and the impact their injuries have on our squad depth. They are rightly included in the examination, as should Woodgate.

  8. Wrenny, I am not sure this is quite right. Walcott and Ramsey are included in the squad – in the youth section, so when fit they can play. Woodgate, I think, is not able to play – that’s the difference…. I think (someone else can give the definitive answer!)

  9. This made me unwell 🙁

    Spuds 25 Man Senior squad

    Benoit Assou-Ekotto,

    Sebastian Bassong,

    David Bentley,

    Vedran Corluka,

    Peter Crouch,

    Carlo Cudicini,

    Heurelho Gomes,

    Michael Dawson,

    Jermain Defoe,

    William Gallas,

    Tom Huddlestone,

    Alan Hutton,

    Jermaine Jenas,

    Younes Kaboul,

    Robbie Keane,

    Ledley King,

    Niko Kranjcar,

    Aaron Lennon,

    Luka Modric,

    Kyle Naughton,

    Jamie O’Hara,

    Wilson Palacios,

    Roman Pavlyuchenko,

    Stipe Pletikosa,

    Rafael van der Vaart,

  10. Man, when you look at Spurs squad list you realise all those grand claims about Spurs having this tremendous squad are just baloney. What a bunch of dross they have in their squad.

    Where is Sandro in that list? Didnt he just arrive at Spurs?

    Big cheer for David Bentley being on that list. Worth every penny of that 17m they paid for him, I’d say.

  11. Paul C, stop making me laugh! (ha ha ha). Van der ‘fart’ will soon get tired of farting, as will Gallas.

  12. You’re right about that Tony, and I suppose I didn’t set out my argument all too well.

    What I meant to point out is that Spurs are being robbed of a very valuable player in Woodgate, who would without doubt have been included in the 25 had he been fit, or atleast thought to return to fitness before January by which time another squad is submitted. So the fact he has been excluded and is ineligible to play in my view is irrelevant, either way Spurs are missing one of their better players. To dismiss him from the index seems very unfair.

    Sandro is under-21

  13. Wrenny – what is the cut-off date for u21 eligibility? Sandro turned 21 in March. Is he still eligible for u21 distinction? I would have thought you had to be u21 at the start of the season.

  14. They take it from the 1st January 2010. Anybody who was 20 at that time are U21, so basically all players born in 1989 will be classed as ‘under-21’ for this season.

    For us, that means Walcott, Vela, Gibbs and Traore. Next season however, they will all have to be made part of the 25 man squad.

  15. This might be out of topic, but just came across my head after reading the comments, do we need to hand in a new list of 25 players after the january transfer window?

    If that is true then Woodgate could be named in the squad list then, if he’s injury free then, that is.

  16. I look forward with interest to how this injury log pans out over the season – but seems a very predictable start for Arsenal.
    Just seems we have a horrendous injury record over the last 3 or 4 years, especially involving what would be termed key players.
    Is it down to the build of our players, the speed they play at, are our players targeted, a problem with training/playing surfaces? too many internationals, too many key games? do we play injury prone players? Are our medics up to it?
    I would love to know because these injuries are hurting our cause!

  17. Mandy – some injuries (such as Ramsey) cannot be legislated for.

    Youth is a big factor. Players bodies are growing and the pace of the game means nagging injuries will occur. Remember Gerrard at the start of his career? Until he was 21-22 there was serious doubt he could last a full game, let alone a full season. Owen was the same, diito Giggs, Scholes etc etc etc. With our squad being so young we get a lot of groin strains, hamstring pulls etc, all injuries that youngsters tend to get in abundance.

    The prime of players career is 26-31 (maybe 32 or 33 now with modern treatment and training methods). Before that age and after that age players tend to get injuries.

    And then of course some players are just injury prone. Unfortunately it seems RvP may come into that class.

  18. great article Dale

    But if ever a man needed an embedded bar graph, you do

    could include both number and duration of injury

    may help

  19. Very true about youth and RVP Paul C, frustrating nonetheless. We dont half get them tho and when we get them, they seem usually seem to be bad! Or maybe I am just focussed on our injuries!

  20. Keep up this great job Dale. Maybe you could make a first round up after 19 games? Just an idea so we could see how each time has had their injuries and how it affected their points.

  21. Yes – there is a new list of “25” after each transfer window, but the age qualification is set for the whole year (so Theo doesn’t become “21” during this season – he becomes 21 during next summer.

    And there is a piece on which takes the Arsenal match programme from 90 years ago, and reprints an article on injuries there. We had 10 first teamers out, and the goal keeper with a sprained wrist was brought in to play left back.

  22. Cheers Walter. Yes, that’s exactly my thinking. I’ll do a round up at 19 games. I’m still thinking about how exactly to do the round up but there’s time for that yet.

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