Suprisingly, Arsenal are sitting seventh in the league of injuries so far this campaign despite a number of big-name absences wrecking havoc in the Gunners squad. According to this report in the Telegraph, Arsenal have suffered 24 injuries so far this season, far fewer than the likes of title rivals Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.
While the data does not take into account pre-season injuries and the like (which excludes Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck from the equation), the same is across the board for all clubs who had problems prior to the start of the campaign.
It is startling to see the statistics that suggest the Gunners have lost players for a total of 312 days (less than the Premier League average of 369.7) , but it is in fact a drastic improvement on the 1278 days at the same point last season.
However it is perhaps the calibre of the injured player that has affected Arsenal so much and losing irreplaceable stars in certain positions. More so in recent weeks. And the most worrying statistic is we score quite high on soft tissue injuries that are more able to be prevented. Arsenal are fourth equal on the workload-related soft tissue problems, something medical professionals classify as avoidable through more rest and smarter player management.
The Gunners have lost a huge number of key players over the past month that has clearly affected their momentum. With Alexis Sanchez, Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla joining the likes of Theo Walcott on the treatment table, it is an extremely worrying time for the Gunners. Hopefully the latter can return over the next week, but it takes time for players to rediscover their form after sitting weeks/months out.
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If Arsenal had a stronger squad there would be more room to rotate efficiently and that has come back to bite us over the past six or so weeks. Injuries happen, it’s all part of the game. But they’re not going anywhere and it’s clearly affecting the entire league. So how do we combat that? Have an even deeper squad and manage our players more appropriately.
Manchester City’s ongoing issues with Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany’s fitness bodes well for the rest of the pack, but they have the players to cover and consequently have continued to battle on all fronts. One club who have managed to avoid injuries are Leicester City which is obviously a huge part of their lofty position. Boasting the in-form Jamie Vardy who now holds the Premier League record for the most goals in consecutive games, it is no great surprise their high flying season is down to their rotation and tinkering from manager Claudio Ranieri.
Arsene Wenger’s been in the game for an awful long time, but yet he still cannot equip this squad with enough fire power to cope with the inevitable injuries. Covering Alexis Sanchez with Joel Campbell and Francis Coquelin with Mathieu Flamini is simply not good enough and lacks ambition. The reason we’re having a decent domestic season so far is because we had a very strong first XI for majority of the campaign, but now the heart of that has been ripped out and we may well struggle through December.
Here’s the full table via Telegraph:
Number of injuries in 2015/16
AFC Bournemouth 22
Aston Villa 18
Crystal Palace 23
Leicester City 11
Man City 35
Man United 31
Newcastle United 30
Norwich City 10
Stoke City 25
Swansea City 6
West Brom 14
West Ham United 20