Some interesting calculations appeared in The Times on Monday (21st April), where the estimable Bill Edgar looked at how injuries have affected the current top four and Man Utd this season. (Bill rightly has no time for the smaller clubs who are never going to make a serious challenge for the title. *cough* Spurs!)
Using data from physioroom.com, which lists all Premier League player injuries, he’s worked out a total number of injury weeks for each leading club based on who he would expect to be a first choice starter. Not an infallible method obviously, for several reasons, but you have to draw the line somewhere and make reasonable assumptions given that squad sizes are different.
The calculation shows the number of weeks missed by the first choice team for the whole season so far:
- Chelsea 24
- Liverpool 57
- Man City 69
- Arsenal 84
- Man Utd 102
If you extend it to the leading 15 players from each squad rather than 11, the figures look like this:
- Chelsea 52
- Man City 76
- Liverpool 87
- Man Utd 135
- Arsenal 152
Liverpool also ‘suffered’ from the loss of Suarez for the opening six games of the season. I put ‘suffered’ in inverted commas, because I believe that in the end that ban for Mr Bitey, coupled with the hardline stance from JW Henry over possible transfers, ultimately benefited Liverpool by fostering a stronger ‘all in it together, us against the world’ mentality. And that’s worth a few wins over a season, as George Graham’s 1991 Arsenal proved after the infamous brawling and points deduction, not to mention the captain spending time at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
As to the injuries, I’m guessing Abou Diaby has been included in the Arsenal 15 but not the first 11. Always good for bumping up the stats, old Abou.
The eternal question is WHY Arsenal repeatedly seem to suffer more from injuries than other leading clubs – something I have written about here.
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