Arsene Wenger must be seriously unlucky if our latest bone-crunching infographic is anything to go by. The Arsenal gaffer has been charge of a squad that has been ravaged by injuries time and again, with Alexis Sanchez the latest to be added to a miserable list for Gunners fans.
We’ve gone back as far as August 2004, and in those 11 years Arsenal have suffered an eye-watering 831 injuries – an injury every five days of the year. To put that into some context, there are an average of 47 injuries a year in Spain during bullfighting events – at an average of an injury every eight days. So, if you’re a professional footballer considering a move to the Emirates Stadium, it’s statistically better for your health to pick up a Muleta (that red cape) and head to sunny Spain instead. Just a thought…
The most common injury at Arsenal in the last 11 years is an ankle/foot injury. The Gunners have suffered 133 of these since the beginning of the 2004/05 season – with Jack Wilshere contributing an incredible 14 to the total. Ankle or foot injuries make up 16 per cent of the total Arsenal injuries in that time. Closely following them in our tendon-tweaking table is a hamstring injury (123 times) and a knee injury which has occurred 84 times.
Some of the rarer injuries to make an appearance include two broken noses (Sol Campbell in 2006 and Tomas Rosicky in 2014), Malaria which Kolo Toure contracted in 2008, and Calum Chambers’ bout of tonsillitis in September. That wasn’t the only dentist-related injury however, as Jose Antonio Reyes had his wisdom teeth out in April 2006.
In September 2006 both Theo Walcott and Johan Djourou suffered shoulder separations, while Kieran Gibbs (2011) and Nicklas Bendtner (2009) were out of action after both getting treated for a hernia.
The unfortunate title of most injury-prone Arsenal player of the last 11 years falls to Walcott. The highly-rated Arsenal striker has suffered 44 injuries in total since he arrived at the club – including eight ankle/foot injuries, three hip/thigh injuries, three hamstring injuries, a shoulder separation and four bouts of illness. Theo has 48 league goals in 193 games for the Gunners in the last 10 years, at an average of a goal every four games. It makes you think just how brilliant Theo can still be with more luck on his side.
Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky, Kieran Gibbs and Robin van Persie, join Walcott in our top five most injury-prone Arsenal players of the last 11 years, which unfortunately isn’t any great shock. More worryingly for Arsene Wenger and Co is Jack Wilshere and Laurent Koscielny’s appearances in the top 10 – both injured 26 times respectively.
Despite Arsenal’s doctor having a busier December schedule than the big man in the red suit, the Gunners are second favourites to claim their first Premier League title since 2003/04, and to retain the FA Cup. With everyone else in the top flight doing their utmost to throw away a decent title challenge, could this be Wenger’s year? If only he could keep his squad fit and firing…