By Tony Attwood
Sky Sports have presented a list of “days lost” to clubs by players being injured or ill.
It is an interesting list and is combined with a note from Sky that notes that this is fractionally under 10% higher than for the first 26 games last season.
Then they suggest that “the reason for this is a higher rate of squad rotation” this season, although looking at the figures I really can’t see how this works. Irrespective of whether you put out different teams each week, there are still only 11 players on the pitch each time.
A player might be injured because of the thuggery of the opposition, poor refereeing, not being warmed up properly, not training properly…
So we can see the numbers of players out, but the cause cannot be taken from this. This seems to be clutching at straws.
But to try and take this further I’ve added some extra columns, and this really now becomes very simple for seven of the clubs in the top ten for injuries are in the bottom half of the league table.
In other words, as a general rule, the lower you are down the league the more injuries you are likely to get. Or as you sink down the league you pick up injuries.
|Pos||Club||League position||Days lost||Percentage of worst||Percentage above the best|
|10||Brighton and Hove||16||557||54%||202%|
|11||West Bromwich A||19||554||53%||200%|
|14||West Ham United||4||470||47%||170%|
There is a remarkable range in these figures. Arsenal have had injuries to a level of only 34% of those of Liverpool this season. And they have injuries of 128% of the level of Chelsea.
What these figures show is that the number of injuries suffered by Chelsea at the foot of the injury table and of Liverpool at the top, are way out of line with everyone else.
There is a fair amount of bunching of injuries around the middle as we might expect, suggesting again that Chelsea and Liverpool are just way out of line with everyone else.
But then we could say that of Arsenal; with just 354 player days lost Arsenal are way above Chelsea but still they are 19th on the list.
What we can see is that there is no direct relationship between league position and injury level except that as noted, the clubs with the lower levels of injury tend to be higher up the league.
As for the cause, that remains unknown. Is it playing style, training technique, or sheer good or bad luck? Under Mr Wenger it was the training technique that was blamed by outsiders, but the data really didn’t add up – it was mostly a case of people highlighting the numbers when things were bad for Arsenal but ignoring them when things were good.
The sadness is that we have not been able to make the most of these low figures for Arsenal injuries by pushing ourselves up the league. But although there is a negative relationship between position in the league and position in the injury table, it is only general.
Generally the more injuries a club gets the further it slips down the league, and vice versa – but “generally” is the key word.
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