Do Arsenal’s players get injured more than other teams? If so, why?
Wenger’s Arsenal sides over the years have carried a unique style, both on and off the pitch.
These sides have been characterised by a few telling attributes during Le Professor’s tenure: free-flowing passing and movement, the nourishment of emerging talents, creative masters and unfortunately, injuries.
For over a decade Arsenal have been savaged by injuries to their key players, with large chunks of time required to heal.
I am aware that every team suffers with injuries, but why does it seem to be more of a conspicuous issue at The Emirates? Do Arsenal incur more lasting injuries than other clubs? If so, why? What goes on in London Colney for player’s physical condition to so frequently suffer?
Let’s begin with notable recurring Arsenal absentees over the years.
Rosicky, Diaby, Van Persie, Vermaelan, Gibbs, Eduardo and Ramsey all spring to mind.
This season alone, eleven players have spent more than one month out with injury: Wilshere, Walcott, Chamberlain, Gibbs, Ramsey, Podolski, Frimpong, Monreal, Cazrola, Sonogo, Miyachi, with twenty four players spending time out altogether.
The table below is a cumulative club comparison for the recent season. It’s based on figures taken weekly detailing numbers of players out for each club on physioroom.com: one player injured for one week equals one point.
|Injuries League 2013/2014|
*calculatated by injuryleague.com
Unfortunately I don’t have access to any past season statistics, but this alone is quite telling.
I opened by assessing the clubs ever-present injuries as perhaps the most comparatively prominent aspect of their style.
It's arguable that were it not for Arsenal's lengthy injury list, they could well have been more successful.
Take the season just passed. Arsenal sat top of the pile before a wave of injuries plagued the dressing room, with no fewer than five first team players forced to join two long term casualties in the treatment room.
With half of your first eleven injured for a month, your form will certainly suffer.
Perhaps Wenger expects too much from his professionals. Perhaps he once stumbled upon an optimum level of player performance and how to achieve it, and then regimented a tough diet and training regime into his players.
It succeeded for a while due to a particularly exceptional group of professionals, and then things started to falter. Players began dropping out with pains and strains from ever-younger ages. Key men would pick up knocks that transform into perennial ailments on a repetitive basis.
Perhaps Wenger’s regime pushes adolescent bodies beyond that which they’re capable?
A mixture of other factors could add to the issue including a congested competitive schedule, a corollary of existing at the top, and even perhaps the amount of kicks received while displaying pressure-soaking possession football. Though, surely if the additional factors had much bearing, Barcelona would suffer like Arsenal?
It is a genuine problem for Arsenal and, as long it continues, perhaps Arsenal sides will continue to falter, not because of a lack of depth or talent, but because they’re simply exhausted.