By Bulldog Drummond
Arsenal remain in the lower part of the injury table league (including players suspended for disciplinary reasons) provided by Premier Injuries…
- Leicester City: 11
- Brighton and Hove Albion: 9
- Southampton: 9
- Manchester United: 8
- Tottenham Hotspur: 8
- Norwich City: 7
- Watford: 7
- Brentford: 6
- Everton: 6
- Leeds United: 6
- Liverpool: 5
- West Ham United: 5
- Burnley: 4
- Chelsea: 4
- Manchester City: 4
- Wolverhampton Wanderers: 4
- Arsenal: 3
- Aston Villa: 3
- Crystal Palace: 3
- Newcastle United: 1
But I wondered if this number of injuries related to the number of tackles. Leicester City are very much a tackling team, as they have been for the three years we have been looking at tackling, and they are currently third in the tackling table. Indeed they have so far committed 37% more tackles than Arsenal.
Brighton and Hove are another team that tackle a huge amount – they are sixth in the tackling table – and we find them top of the injury league too.
However, although the match is not exact, there is a link. Arsenal have a low number of injured players and are 16th in the tackling table, Liverpool are 19th in the tackling charts and 11th in the injury chart. So it appears that the high-tackling approach can bring with it an increased chance of injury. I’ll try and explore this further in future reviews of how clubs are progressing.
However, there is a separate issue with the Premier Injuries table because it includes players who are not injured but are left out of the squad for disciplinary reasons. Our list of three players out gives us:
Sead Kolasinac – now in the early stages of rehabilitation and looking to return toward the end of January.
Bernd Leno for whom PremierInjuries.com don’t have a return date
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang who they note as suspended by the club and “ruled out” of this game. This last point is interesting – I did not know that Arsenal were saying the suspension was for more than one game.
The West Ham list includes Aaron Cresswell, who is give a 50/50 chance of playing, plus four players who are ruled out: Johnson, Zouma, Fredericks and Ogbonna.
Moving on we can have a look at West Ham’s history this century. They have spent three years of the century in the second tier, and have won one trophy – the Intertoto Cup which they won in 2000. Last season, in which they came sixth in the Premier League, was their highest achievement this century – and that despite having been given their ground for nothing by the then London Mayor, Boris Johnson.
Another interesting snippet about West Ham is that only once this century has their top goalscorer gained over 16 goals in the league – when Harewood in 2005 knocked in 22. In fact, twice this century their top scorer has not managed to reach double figures in league games: Nolan in 2014 with seven, and Antonio in 2017 with nine.
Since returning to the Premier League in 2012/13 after one of their sojourns in the lower reaches, they have twice been in the top ten of league clubs (7th in 2016 and their all-time record of sixth last season).
They have also reached one FA Cup final this century, and two league cup semi-finals.
All of which shows us that this current spell they are having is certainly unusual and is undoubtedly their best run for a club that has never won the top division. Although now, with their stadium paid for by the taxpayers of London, they surely ought to be performing well – as indeed they are.
It will however take a few years for them to catch up with Arsenal in terms of the head to head. Arsenal have so far won 69 of the games between the two clubs, while West Ham have won 35. 40 have been drawn.
In the past 12 games (11 in the league one in the league cup) Arsenal have won eight, two have been drawn (both curiously 3-3) and one game has been won by West Ham. In these 12 games Arsenal have scored 28 goals to West Ham’s 12.
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