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Which Premier League Sides Have Been Impacted The Most By Injuries So Far This Season?

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Which Premier League Sides Have Been Impacted The Most By Injuries So Far This Season?

Following the conclusion of the 12th round of Premier League fixtures of the 2023/24 season, the league will now take a short break until the 25th of November as yet another international break is upon us. Manchester City naturally lead the way at the top so far, but Arsenal and Liverpool are just a point behind.

Meanwhile, early pace-setters Tottenham have now dropped to fourth following two successive losses. Chelsea sit 10th, while an impressive Wolves side sit 12th after many tipped them for relegation at the start of the season.

The three promoted clubs in Sheffield United, Burnley and Luton all currently occupy the relegation zone, with Bournemouth and Fulham lingering just above them. Now while yet another international break will naturally be a source of scorn and criticism from supporters up and down the country, there will also be those fans who welcome the break because of the recuperation opportunity it provides to their club’s currently injured players.

In total, 129 of the division’s players were unavailable for the last round of fixtures due to either injury, illness or suspension. Now of those 129 players absent last week, over 110 of them missed Gameweek 12 due to injury, and the hope for the league’s managers over the next week will be that some of those players can get back to full fitness over the course of the next week or so, ready for when the league resumes on the 25th November.

Here, we are going to take a look at the state of play in terms of the worst-afflicted clubs, which players have been out of action the longest and a shorter dive into why there seem to be more injuries than ever…

Note – injury data such as specific injury details and expected return dates have been sourced from the website Premier Injuries, a site founded by Ben Dinnery. The website provides an up-to-date account of injury data in the Premier League, and is well-regarded for providing accurate information on this subject matter.

Header logoPremier League

PosClubPWDLGDPTS
1
Team logoMan City
382873+6291
2
Team logoArsenal
382855+6289
3
Team logoLiverpool
3824104+4582
Last updated 18/06/2024

The Teams

Newcastle

The Premier League side currently afflicted with the most injuries is Newcastle United, with boss Eddie Howe currently unable to call on 10 of his playing squad due to injuries. Midfielders Sandro Tonali and Bruno Guimaraes missed out against Bournemouth last week due to suspension but the latter will be back after the break.

However, Howe is currently without Jacob Murphy, Dan Burn, Sven Botman, Callum Wilson, Miguel Almiron, Alexander Isak, Javier Manquillo, Matt Targett, Harvey Barnes and Elliot Anderson. Isak has been touted for a return on the 25th when the Magpies take on Chelsea, but all the other players listed are expected to be out for a much longer period of time.

Callum Wilson should only be a slightly short-term absentee, while Sven Botman (knee), Harvey Barnes (foot) and Elliot Anderson (back) are expected to make their returns to the first team in mid-to-late December, with Dan Burn (back) and Jacob Murphy (shoulder) tipped to make returns to full fitness in the new year.

Meanwhile, no return date has been set for both Matt Targett (hamstring) and Javier Manquillo (groin), and Lewis Hall will also miss the game against Chelsea due to the Blues’ status as his parent club, making it 11 absences for the Toon when the league resumes next weekend.

Arsenal

Up after Newcastle on the list of most players missing through injury is the quartet of Arsenal, Sheffield United, Manchester United and Brighton – all clubs with 9 players currently out injured.

The Gunners will be without Fabio Vieira and David Raya respectively for their trip to Brentford next weekend after Vieira’s sending-off against Burnley and Raya’s status as a loan player from Brentford, but Mikel Arteta will also be without long-term absentees Thomas Partey (thigh), Emile Smith Rowe (knee) and Jurrien Timber (knee) for the match.

Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Ben White, Jorginho and Cedric are also all serious doubts for the trip to the Gtech Community Stadium – a combination of a hip injury and concussion concerns has seen Odegaard miss Arsenal’s last 3 matches and he will miss a fourth consecutive game if he fails to recover, while Ben White (knock), Gabriel Martinelli and Jesus (both hamstring), Jorginho (head) and Cedric (illness) will all have to be assessed before the trip to Brentford.

Sheffield United

Sheffield United will also be without 9 players for their vital clash with fellow strugglers Bournemouth, who themselves have come into a bit of form recently despite their own injury problems. The Blades will definitely be without defender Chris Basham following the broken leg he sustained in a defeat against Fulham just over a month ago, and is therefore expected to not feature again in any form until at least next season.

Paul Heckingbottom will also be without Max Lowe (ankle) until at least December, while both Oli McBurnie (groin) and Anel Ahmedhodzic (thigh) remain doubtful but could still make a return to action next weekend. However, Heckingbottom will definitely be without John Egan (ankle), Tom Davies (thigh), Daniel Jebbison (illness) Rhian Brewster (hamstring) and Rhys Norrington-Davies (thigh), who are all out long-term and the club have not stated a return date for any of them as of this moment.

Manchester United

In a similar predicament are Manchester United, with the Red Devils also currently unable to call upon 9 of their playing squad – and if you also want to count Jadon Sancho in that group following his disciplinary issues and ensuing stand-off with Erik ten Hag, then that figure does go up to 10 absentees for the club.

South Americans Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez are both out until the new year with hamstring and foot injuries respectively, while promising youngster Amad Diallo remains out following the devastating knee injury he suffered in August.

Danish duo Rasmus Hojlund and Christian Eriksen have recently become the latest additions to the treatment table, with the veteran midfielder expected to be out for up to a month following a knee injury picked up against Luton last week – Eriksen’s international teammate Hojlund will be out for approximately two weeks after a muscle strain he picked up in the same match. However, four of United’s defenders will be assessed before the Red Devils’ clash with Everton next week, with Luke Shaw (muscle), Tyrell Malacia (knee), Jonny Evans (thigh) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (illness) all in contention to return having missed the win over Luton.

While Shaw and Malacia have been out for a few months, both Evans and Wan-Bissaka seem the most likely to make a return and will undergo late fitness tests before the trip to Merseyside.

Brighton

For the Seagulls, Evan Ferguson is the only player out of their injured nine touted to make a return to action soon following a back injury he picked up. Tariq Lamptey is expected to make a return to action after the international break following a knock he picked up recently, while Julio Enciso’s knee injury is expected to keep him out until at least mid-December.

The trio of James Milner, Lewis Dunk and Pervis Estupinan all left the pitch during Brighton’s Europa League win over Ajax last week after all picking up muscular injuries, and will be assessed and further detail should be given on their statuses before Brighton’s meeting with Nottingham Forest next weekend.

A return date for both Danny Welbeck and Jakub Moder has not been provided yet following the uncertain status of their respective knee injuries, while Solly March is out for the rest of the season following a serious knee injury he picked up against Man City. Mahmoud Dahoud will also miss a handful of Premier League games following his red card against Sheffield United last week.

Chelsea, Luton, Tottenham & the Rest of the Premier League

After those four clubs come the trio of Chelsea, Luton and Tottenham, with the three clubs all currently having 8 players out with injury. The Blues will be without Trevoh Chalobah (thigh) and Carney Chukwuemeka (knee) after the pair suffered setbacks from those problems in October, while Wesley Fofana is still out long-term due to an ACL problem picked up in the summer.

Ben Chilwell also remains out with a hamstring injury he picked up in September, but a mid-December return date has been touted for the full-back. Both Malo Gusto (knee) and Levi Colwill (shoulder) are also doubts for Chelsea’s game with Newcastle, after the duo pulled out of international duty this week with France Under-21’s and England respectively.

In more positive news, summer signings Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia are edging ever closer to a return to action following their injuries in the summer which means that the pair have both failed to kick a ball for the club this season. Lavia (ankle) and Nkunku (knee) will continue to be assessed, and more positive outlets have reported that the pair could even take up spots on the bench for the trip to St James’ Park.

For minnows Luton, they will definitely be without Mads Andersen (hamstring) and Dan Potts (foot) for their clash with Crystal Palace, with the duo expected to make a return to action in January and December respectively. Reece Burke’s hamstring injury is also expected to keep him out until December, while the trio of Cauley Woodrow, Albert Lokonga and Amari’i Bell will all be monitored until next Saturday, while both Alfie Doughty and Chiedozie Ogbene will be assessed during the international break with the pair both carrying knocks.

And finally, Tottenham. Spurs have Ivan Perisic (knee) and Alfie Whiteman (ankle) out with no current return date having been provided for the pair, while Richarlison is expected to make a return to action in mid-December following groin surgery. Both Ryan Sessegnon and Manor Solomon were out of action until the new year, and they will now be joined in that timeframe by James Maddison and Micky van de Ven, who suffered respective ankle and hamstring injuries during Tottenham’s chaotic 4-1 loss to Chelsea a couple of weeks ago. Destiny Udogie is now also a doubt for Spurs’ match with Aston Villa after the international break – the Italian’s muscle injury will be assessed before that match.

Rounding up the rest of the Premier League, both Bournemouth and Liverpool currently have 7 players out injured, while Brentford and Manchester City have 6 each. Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa each have 4 players out at the moment, while Fulham, Crystal Palace and Everton all have just 3 players out injured currently. Wolves and Burnley have just 2 injured players each to contend with at this point of the campaign, which leaves West Ham as the only Premier League side to have no injuries at this stage of the campaign.

Which Players Have Spent the Longest on the Sidelines?

The players who have been out of action for the longest period of time since the season began are all out with ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries.

Now as we all know, ACL injuries are one of the worst injuries a player can suffer, in part because of how long and gruelling the rehabilitation period is, but also because of how the injury can mean that a player can return to action with less pace and mobility than they previously had. It can take anywhere from seven months to a year to recover from such an injury, and so far this season, a surprisingly high number of players have suffered such an injury.

Aston Villa have had not one, but two members of their squad suffer the injury, with Emi Buendia doing so just days before Villa’s opening game of the season against Newcastle, before Tyrone Mings eerily suffered the same fate as Buendia during the first half of that opener against Newcastle.

Further to that, Arsenal new boy Jurrien Timber pulled up with the same injury just 50 minutes into his debut. Just over a month later in September, Brentford’s Rico Henry became the fourth player to suffer an ACL injury this season (and the second of Henry’s career) during his side’s defeat to Newcastle, and then just a few days later, Tottenham’s Ivan Perisic became the fifth player in just over a month and a half to suffer the gruesome injury when he pulled up during Spurs training.

Wages Wasted vs Time Spent Injured

Now injured players are still paid their wages during any time out with injury – in a sense, clubs are therefore essentially giving away huge sums of money for a player who is not providing anything on the pitch during such times.

With the eye-watering sums of money in the coffers of most Premier League clubs in the current climate, there is an argument that it doesn’t matter if clubs are paying players while they are out injured – the clubs can more than afford to do so. But it is still interesting to see just how much is spent on certain players.

For example, Thomas Partey has started just three Premier League games for Arsenal this season, with his last appearance in an Arsenal shirt coming as a late substitute in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Manchester City. Complaints about Partey’s fitness have grown in frequency since the midfielder’s arrival in north London, and at somewhere between £110k-£200k a week, the Ghanaian is one of the top earners at Arsenal.

With Partey having missed the last month of action due to his injury, that means that a minimum of at least £400k (but it is almost certainly a lot higher) has been paid to Thomas Partey despite how frequent his injury issues and absences are, making it all the more frustrating not only for Gunners fans, but also Mikel Arteta, whose best starting XI contains the midfielder.

Similarly, defender Jurrien Timber suffered an ACL injury on his debut for the club, and will be out for the entirety of this season. On a weekly wage reported to be between £50k-£90k, that means that Arsenal will be shelling out somewhere in the region of between £2.5m-5m this season on a player who they can’t call upon.

Tottenham face a similar situation with Ivan Perisic, whose own ACL injury sustained very early on in this season meant that Spurs will still have to pay the versatile Croatian’s reported annual salary of between £5m-9.3m in full despite his unavailability.

At Sheffield United, a club who are already in a financially perilous state, injuries and such instances of unluckiness like this will be even more of a problem for the men upstairs – for example, top earner Rhian Brewster has only played 164 minutes this season, and has no set return date for his current hamstring injury, with the Blades having to fork out anywhere between £20k-£40k per week to cover his wages.

It is the same situation for midfielder Tom Davies, whose £20/£30k weekly salary will continue to be paid despite his continued absence. For a club that is already somewhat cash-strapped, that will hit hard, and will leave fans and executives wondering if the right player investments were made.

Injuries vs Fixture Congestion

Injuries are, of course, a very normal and natural part of football. All clubs know this – it is simply a part of the game, and these injuries will naturally occur given the strains that are placed on the bodies of these elite-level footballers.

However, according to a recent analysis carried out by Howden Insurance on football injuries, the number of injuries has been growing season-on-season in the English top-flight.

Their September 2022 “European Football Injury Index” report states that there were 495 injuries in the 2018/19 Premier League campaign, followed by 562 player injuries in the 2019/20 season. However, that figure then shot up to 938 injuries in 2020/21. And then in 2021/22, that number went up further to 1,231. So between 2020/21 and 2021/22, there was a 30% increase in the number of injuries in the Premier League.

There are a few reasons why the number of injuries has been building up year-on-year – football is still somewhat trying to return to a proper fixture schedule following the upheaval to the calendar that the 2020 pandemic caused, which was further not helped by there being a winter World Cup held in 2022, instead of in its usual summer slot. (Note that the next World Cup in 2026 will see 48 countries take part – how will that impact player availability and injuries?).

So, fixture congestion seems to be the most simple and obvious explanation for the ever-increasing number of injuries at the highest level of football, and several high-profile players themselves have come out and stated as such.

However, in another sense, player workload is also playing a huge part in the increased rate of injuries. The game has evolved rapidly over the past two decades, and we know now that players, especially in the Premier League, are required to be much fitter and faster than at any other point in time due to the style of football that is now a staple of the Premier League.

An aggressively high-pressing, high-intensity style of play is commonplace throughout the English top flight, and while it may yield fantastic results on the pitch for some clubs and managers, there is also an impact, a cost that this brand of football has on the players. Players are now required to be fitter, faster, and more powerful to cope with these demands, but playing 50-odd games every season in this way will naturally lead to more strain on players, and subsequently, more injuries. Has football’s evolution to such a style been too much to the detriment of the players?

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