Injuries happen. There’s no doubt about that. Every Premier League club has been affected by at least two injuries this season – with 5.5 being the average number of casualties per club.
Last weekend’s game between Arsenal and Manchester United raised the issue further, with Jack Wilshere [ankle] and Luke Shaw [foot] picking up knocks that will keep them out of action for the foreseeable future.
Huge strides have been made in sports science and today’s pitches are better than ever – so shouldn't injuries be less common in the top flight?
You could obviously make the argument that the speed of the game has increased significantly. Sports science, fitness programmes, higher quality players and improved surfaces also contribute to a faster game, but is that the main cause?
Manchester United’s Jonny Evans, who has had his fair share, believes these injuries are mostly ‘freak events’ and players never want to get injured.
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“Players don’t get injured on purpose,” he told the club's official website, ManUtd.com. “There have been injuries with the odd hamstring or groin, there have been quite a few of those, but [Marcos] Rojo dislocated his shoulder and I had a fracture in my foot.
"There were a couple of other injuries – Phil Jones has got one that came out of the blue. It’s hard to say – we don’t want any more injuries but what can we do about it? They’re freak injuries and it’s difficult from that point of view.
"It’d be nice to get settled in the team – everyone in the squad wants to get settled in their position as well,” claimed the Northern Ireland international.
Although the injury troubles at United [eight] and Arsenal [nine] are the best documented, Everton and Newcastle United have been hit even worse this season.
After James McCarthy picked up a hamstring injury in the Europa League last week, the Toffees’ list rose to ten. Meanwhile, Newcastle had 13 players missing for Saturday’s 1-0 defeat against West Ham at Upton Park.
It’s probably no surprise that the club top of the league also have the fewest number of injuries – Chelsea’s Nathan Ake is the only player in their first-team squad officially injured.
Jose Mourinho will be counting his blessings while others, like Roberto Martinez and Alan Pardew, will be counting to eleven and hoping for a few decent subs.