Untold Injury Index – Gameweek 6
By Dale Higginbottom
This last weekend saw teams, including or beloved Arsenal, slip up against weaker opposition. What do the injuries say about this and do we as Arsenal fans have good reason to believe that this was just a hiccup?
As before the players listed are players failing to make their respective squads due to an injury that has been reported. The number after the player name is the number of games he’s been unavailable for selection this season and any other issues are reported below the team’s figures.
Arsenal Vs West Brom
Arsenal (8 injuries)
- Goalkeeper – No injuries reported
- Defence – Vermaelen (3), Gibbs (1)
- Midfield – Frimpong (5), Ramsey (6), Fabregas (2)
- Attack – Bendtner (6), van Persie (3), Walcott (3)
Additional issues: Rosicky was reported as a doubt before the game but made the bench. Diaby and Eboue also passed last fitness tests to make the starting line-up.
West Ham Vs Tottenham
Tottenham (7 injuries)
- Goalkeeper – Gomes (4)
- Defence – Dawson (3), Kaboul (1), King (1), Assou-Ekotto (1), Gallas (2)
- Midfield – O’Hara (6)
- Attack – Defoe (4)
Additional issues: The injured Woodgate, not in the 25-man squad, is not included in this list.
Man City Vs Chelsea
Man City (6 injuries)
- Goalkeeper – No injuries reported
- Defence – Richards (1), Bridge (5), Kolarov (5)
- Midfield – Wright-Phillips (1)
- Attack – Balotelli (5), Tchuimeni-Nimely (3)
Additional issues: Boateng, Lescott and Adebayor were only fit enough to make the bench (nod to Tony’s excellent carpentry joke in an earlier article). Boateng and Adebayor came on as late second-half substitutes.
Chelsea (4 injuries)
- Goalkeeper- No injuries reported
- Defence – Bosingwa (6)
- Midfield – Lampard (3), Benayoun (1)
- Attack – Kalou (1)
Additional issues: Kakuta was reported as a doubt for the game but was an unused substitute.
Liverpool Vs Sunderland
Liverpool (1 injury)
- Goalkeeper, midfield, attack – No injuries reported
- Defence – Aurelio (3)
Additional issues: Kuyt was doubtful prior to the game but played the full game. An injury to Konchesky meant that he was only able to play 28 minutes before coming off.
Bolton Vs Man Utd
Man Utd (3 injuries)
- Goalkeeper, defence, attack – No injuries reported
- Midfield – Hargreaves (6), Carrick (3), Valencia (2)
Additional issues: Giggs played just 53 minutes, coming off with an injury. Ferdinand appears to be fit having played mid-week but was left out of the squad.
On Friday, and even more so mid-afternoon on Saturday, I had hoped to be writing this injury round-up in a more joyous mood. The Carling Cup win against Tottenham, the great financial results showing that we’re superbly equipped for the future. A great tie in the Carling Cup (ok great for me, being a Gooner in the North-East) and Chelsea finally dropping points in the league. All these were reasons to be cheerful and there’s no reason why one result should take anything away particularly when you look at the injury figures.
It is beginning to sound a bit like a stuck record but Arsenal again top the injury league table. Whilst this doesn’t excuse the performance on Saturday it shows that sometimes, after a hard week, you need one or two of your inspirational players to step up and take hold of the game. Missing Vermaelen, Fabregas and van Persie is like Man Utd without Vidic, Scoles and Rooney; Chelsea without Terry, Lampard and Drogba or Liverpool without Carragher, Gerrard and Torres.
The Carling Cup was a deserved victory but a team can only ride its luck for so long without these key, inspirational players.
Spurs could be regretting signing Gallas as he picked up another injury and their defence is looking particularly weak considering the players missing. A defeat away to West Ham adds to their difficulties and with the Champions League games adding extra pressure it’s a wonder if they might suffer later on, either through increased injuries or even more dropped points or defeats.
The early Saturday game between Man City and Chelsea was always going to be a tight affair. Chelsea probably missed a few attacking options with Lampard, Benayoun and Kalou unavailable and it’s a wonder if they really have the squad depth considering a few of their key players are getting on a bit and are therefore a little more likely to pick up knocks or strains.
Man Utd have continued their form in away games as they struggle to get all three points. In all three of their away games Rooney has either not played or has been there in body but not in spirit, they need him fit and on form.
Liverpool just can’t compete. Only one recorded injury plus the knock picked up by Konchesky and they still can’t win games. They have six points and have had very minimal injuries so far, so no excuses. We would give anything not to be in Liverpool’s overall position but would dearly love their current run of luck with injuries.
I’ll leave the full analysis to the first round-up at the half-way point of the season but I did want to point out one small observation. So far this season 12 different Arsenal players have missed at least one league game through injury. That’s 12 players who have had their start to the season stutter at a time where building match fitness and finding form is important for confidence and self-belief.
Excluding Woodgate, Spurs have also had 12, Man City 9, Chelsea 8, Man Utd 6 and Liverpool just 2.
When squads and line-ups are affected and adjusted week-on-week and the preparation time between games is just a couple of days it’s no wonder that sometimes the team doesn’t always gel. Players will go out of position, passes will go astray and there will sometimes be a breakdown in communication but this won’t always happen. It’s just three points and it will all be forgotten when we beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
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