It’s to be expected at some stage of the season, normally a critical phase, that Arsenal lose two, three and even four players at a time to injury.
The script as we know sees the North London club manage to embark on an unbeaten run every season before key personnel get to take their place in the treatment room, which must be a very busy place indeed. No other club in the Premier League lose as many players for so long and so often.
In 2014, The Telegraph worked closely with Ben Dinnery of Premier Injuries Ltd and the country’s leading data injury analyst. Dinnery worked closely with a number of Premier League clubs and had some help from other sources.
He managed to compile that information which showed that Arsenal were the leading club for injuries and the data was nothing short of astonishing. The data revealed that In the 11 seasons researched from 2003-4 to 2013-14, Arsenal suffered 312 significant injuries which led to the player being out for 10 days or more. That was exactly 100 more than Chelsea, while Arsenal’s total number of injuries was above the Premier League average in 10 out of the 11 campaigns.
So what makes an Arsenal player more likely to sustain injuries more frequently than any other club. Well, the number of matches per season will obviously be cited as a major reason by Arsene Wenger who is and has advocated for a break in the season.
Arsenal have until last season been involved in every major competition and that has to have some form of impact over the course of a season. Others will cite the pace of the English game which is undoubtedly more energetic than some of their European counterparts such as Italy, Spain or France.
Perhaps closer attention could be paid to Arsenal’s training regime which has been called “Punishing”. Wenger is a great believer in a high level of fitness and even drafted in dieticians to get the best from his players which at the time, who, apart from Dennis Bergkamp, were partial to a pint and a burger.
However, if the intensity of the training pushes a player to the limits of their endurance then fatigue is inevitable and injuries highly likely. Arsenal were obviously concerned enough to look at the data and restructure to avoid any unnecessary injuries and made appointments to study their own data but sadly nothing much has changed since 2014.
Koscielny, Ramsey, Walcott and former player Oxlade-Chamberlain, have all spent long periods sidelined and it seems hardly a week goes by without a defensive crisis of one form or another which Arsenal can ill afford.
In the era of the Great Brian Clough, he handed out bottles of ales and passed around the ashtrays for players to have an invigorating fag and although I’m not suggesting that becomes the norm, it’s interesting that he still managed to fashion a competitive side that took both league and Europe by storm.
His philosophy would probably cost him dearly these days but in all the time he was a manager, he rarely had a mass of players missing at one time. If Wenger leaves after his current contract, it will be interesting to see if Arsenal change in any significant way and the injuries are reduced.
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