Arsenal’s Injury Crisis – Is There More To The Story?

Article originally published by Andy Kriebel on VizWiz.

ESPNFC recently published an article providing some details about Arsenal’s nearly 900 injuries since the start of the 2002-2003 English Premier League season. Last year, Arsenal crossed the 100 injury mark, suffering 111 injuries in total.

This year they are picking up where they left off, with 26 so far this season. In particular, Arsenal continues to be without Theo Walcott and has suffered major, long-term injuries to key players like Aaron Ramsey, Mathieu Debuchy and Mesut Ozil.

The story published by ESPN basically just listed off a few facts. Quoted from ESPN:

  1. Arsenal players have sustained 889 injuries since August 2002, according to a report by
  2. The Gunners’ 889 injuries over the 12-year period compare to 792 for Manchester United, 620 for Chelsea and 551 for Liverpool.
  3. Abou Diaby, who has recently returned to fitness, has endured 40 separate injuries, according to the study, while Theo Walcott,
    who is currently recovering from a serious knee problem, features 42 times.
  4. claims 120 of the injuries were of the hamstring variety while six anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) have been

I found this story fascinating because it finally put numbers to Arsenal’s perceived injury crisis. They do indeed suffer way more injuries than any other EPL team but is there something missing?

Without comparing Arsenal to their rivals, how do I know how bad their injury crisis really is? If they’re suffering injuries at the same rate as their rivals, then maybe there isn’t a crisis after all. But if their rate of injury is higher, then perhaps there is more to the story. Have Arsenal players always been injury-prone or have they increased since they moved to the Emirates Stadium with its rock hard surface?

I set out to understand more by downloading the injury reports from for all teams that have participated in every year of the EPL since 2002-03 (plus a few others that are not included in my final story below). You can download the data in Excel format here.

Thus, it can be concluded that by adding charts and graphs, a text-based story is transformed into a more meaningful story.

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