Ozil's past injury record shows Arsenal up, fitness expert also blasts United

Raymond Verheijen again shines the spotlight on substandard fitness and recovery training programs in place at clubs like Arsenal and Manchester United.

Arsenal are second in a table they'd rather be bottom in. No, not the Premier League, but the injury league as their eight absentees is just one shot of sharing top spot with Manchester United, who have nine senior-level players occupying the physio's room.

Mesut Ozil's recent injury, which could see him miss up to - or over - three months of football, sees him join Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Yaya Sanogo, Mathieu Debuchy, Olivier Giroud, Serge Gnabry and Theo Walcott on the sidelines.

Manchester United, meanwhile, are without Phil McNair, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Jesse Lingard and Michael Carrick.

What the Gunners and the Red Devils have in common is that the list of injuries - from the common hamstring complain to ankle problems and knee injuries - are mostly muscular.

There is therefore an argument to be made that some, if not many, could have been prevented should a more effective rest and rehabilitation programme been embedded into each club's fitness regime.

For fitness expert Raymond Verheijen, the manager has to take responsibility for a lengthy injury list.

He said: "It has been clearly proven by Jan Ekstrand in his extensive research that coaches are responsible for most injuries because of over-training."

Are Arsene Wenger and Louis van Gaal liable for the respective crises at Arsenal and Manchester United?

"Man United and Arsenal have given the phenomenon 'injury crisis' a new dimension lately," said Verheijen. "And the media and fans just accept this incompetence.

"External factors do not result in injuries. Coaches not being able to deal with these external factors by adjusting methods cause injuries.

"The media and fans should understand that fatigue is the main reason for injuries. Accumulation of fatigue results in a slower nervous system. A slower nervous system means the brain has slower/less control over the body when executing explosive football actions. Higher injury risk."

He concluded: "The problem in football is most football coaches are uneducated & the fitness coaches are educated in the wrong (non-football specific) way."

The evidence is, perhaps, in the case of Ozil himself.

During his days spent at FC Schalke 04, the German trequartista was injured for a total of seven days. At Werder Bremen he spent 29 days injured whilst at Real Madrid he spent no days in the physio room. At Arsenal, including his latest expected absence, Ozil will be injured for 133 days - and he has not even finished his second full season yet.

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