Looking at the latest injuryleague.com standings it’s clear to see why Arsenal and Manchester City have struggled to run away with this season’s title race.
The surprise of the season so far is that Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur have lasted the pace with Arsène Wenger and Manuel Pellegrini’s men until now, but a lack of injuries and being able to play a regular side has aided their cause immeasurably.
With more money to spend, it goes without saying that Arsenal and Manchester City have deeper squads than most sides. However, with one player injured for a week equalling one point in the injury league, Arsenal have had it tougher than any of their title rivals. So far this season Arsenal players have missed 171 weeks due to injury, the fourth highest total in the Premier League.
Having said that, the Gunners now have Danny Welbeck back after 10 months out, while Jack Wilshere, Gabriel and Santi Cazorla are all reportedly close to full fitness. With a busy schedule, the Gunners need as many players available as possible.
Manchester City have also suffered this season, losing Vincent Kompany for much of the campaign and accumulating 159 weeks missed through injury. Sergio Agüero has also had his usual struggles and Kevin De Bruyne is out at the moment. However, Pellegrini’s men now have Kompany, Agüero, Yaya Touré and David Silva all available for the first time since the opening weeks of the season: could that spine still inspire a title charge?
At the other end of the injury league table, Tottenham (113) and Leicester (59) have managed their squads well until now. Spurs are currently without Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele – could their intense style and Europa League fixtures be starting to take their toll on a relatively small squad? If so, the title race would surely be a jump too far for them
Meanwhile, Leicester still have no injuries to key players. The Foxes, not playing in Europe and out of the FA Cup early have been able to field a remarkably consistent side all season, giving them a huge advantage over their competitors. Only Swansea have lost fewer players to injury.
Arsenal and Manchester City do look stronger now on the injury front, and it will be interesting to see how Spurs cope with a couple of players missing as big fixtures are coming up.