Or, as I have named it once before, Man Games lost to Injury. The aim and the topic is simple: Injuries in the Premier league. How many injuries, who has more or less than the average and are injuries accumulative as an increasing number of games are played? Those are the questions I want to answer, so let's dive in.
Here is the original piece on injuries in the Premier league which has now spawned this halfway point article and I recommend giving that piece a quick scan.
These are the recorded injuries for games up to the halfway point in the season/19 games.
Total Number Of Injuries--Team by team
An interesting spread of numbers seen there. Chelsea have been very fortunate or very effective in preventing injuries to members of their squad, but Villa have been hit hard to long term absences to Dunne and Petrov.
Man Games Lost To Injury Per Game
Taking into account that not all teams have played 19 games at the time of writing I think it only fair to break down the first chart into a per game graphic despite the minimal movement it brings.
Villa, again, are top and have seen, on average, 5.37 players unavailable to play per game. This a very high number, as Arsenal's is too, and logic dictates that this plays havoc with consistent team selection. Does the availability, or lack thereof, to pick a settled line-up diminish the chances of a team's ability to win a game? Maybe.
Do note that 5 of the 6 most injured teams are playing Continental football and that hours spent in a competitive game environment impact on players becoming injured. FA cup games and the knockout phases of European competition should see those big 5 teams become more injured, or so the logic tells us.
Injuries Increase With Games Played
This is the Premier league's injuries per game, per team average as seen from week 1 through to week 19.
The above graph shows three particular trends in terms of accumulated games played.
Weeks 1-5: Steady increase in league average man games lost to injury
Weeks 6-11: A steady number of players lost to injury with the number more or less constant in the low 3's.
Weeks 12-19: A steady pattern of players injured per game in the upper 3's
As previously mentioned, game time rather than training time has a greater impact on a players body breaking down and becoming injured. We may see this total rise again in late January and early February.
Teams Of Interest
The two worst teams in terms of most injuries in the league are featured above. We can see how Arsenal suffered through many injuries earlier in the season and how that high number of injuries has slowly decreased and returned more in line with the league average number of injuries.
The same cannot be said of Aston Villa who are increasingly plagued with the injury bug. Villa's moving total of games lost to injury continues to out pace the league average and mover further out into a chronic and season debilitating injury crisis, a crisis worthy of affecting form and points totals in the PL.
The Strongest, The Healthiest.
If Arsenal and Villa were the wrong side of the league average then Chelsea and Stoke are decidedly on the right side of that same league average. Both clubs have been consistently trending under the average whilst still seeing their moving totals increase as more competitive games are played, as expected.
Good health and fewer man games lost to injury surely points to a settled team selection and this helps with chemistry and positional trust between players. Not just that it surely does help when a club is able, more often than not, to field it's strongest 11.
A Quick Note
Man games lost to injury could have beeen improved by weighting each player that was injured by importance and this would give us some extra context so as to evaluate just how greatly the injured players were missed. Alas, I failed to decide on an appropriate weighting system out of the choices of transfer value, appearances, ToP%, weekly wage. A weighted system may well be something to introduce somewhere down the line.
Thanks for reading