Given our poor record of players constantly being injured, this news won’t come as much of a surprise.
In research confirmed by the Independent earlier this week, it has been revealed that Arsenal suffered the most injuries to first-team players during the 2015/16 campaign, which cost the club an eyewatering £15m in wasted wages on those who were being treated.
Manchester City were the only side across England’s top flight to have spent more on injured players’ wages. This, despite having had fewer injuries according to statistics by data services firm Hopewiser.
Wenger and inevitable criticism of training methods
Criticism of Wenger’s training methods have been bubbling up for a few years now. With the sheer amount of injury lay-offs every season, it’s not hard to wonder why. Outspoken Dutch fitness coach Raymond Verheijen criticised the Frenchman’s “old school” practices, citing lengthy spells on the sidelines for younger players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey not being a coincidence.
“Young players are getting injured for weeks or months and that is a very worrying pattern,” he added.
He also suggested that the boss has failed to effectively adapt his coaching style from the one that brought plenty of success when he originally joined, hinting at the possibility that he was working players too hard.
“The main reason for injuries in the accumulation of fatigue because when you accumulate fatigue over time, your brain has less control over your body and your co-ordination goes down and then you are vulnerable to injuries,” he stated.
“The real question is: ‘Who is the main reason for fatigue?’ The main reason for the fatigue is the fitness football coach because he is responsible for the planning of training. Wenger is responsible,” Verheijen continued.
Wenger memorably defended his methods when previously questioned during a press conference saying, “This guy looks like he knows absolutely everything, I am amazing that he knows more than all of our physios and all our doctors. I trust my medical staff to do well and my coaching staff to do the fitness planning.”
Danny Welbeck (knee cartilage) and Carl Jenkinson (ligament) were Arsenal’s most expensive injuries to treat last season, and came at £5.5m between the duo.
That’s just over a third of the total money spent, something that staff will be hoping to avoid again this time around.