As the Premier League season heads into its final stretch, teams and players are really feeling the weight of what has already been a treacherous season. With so many matches, practices, and travel, injuries become more and more common. Even for the most well conditioned athletes, injuries are sometimes unavoidable with the amount of stress players put on their bodies. Fatigue injuries such as muscle pulls are very common near the end of the season as the players continue to push on while their bodies scream for rest. Looking at this weekend’s EPL Injury Report, we see many injuries that we may not have seen in earlier weeks including a lot of hamstrings, knocks, and ankle problems.
With ten points separating teams two through five in the table, and just five points separating five through seven, every point matters and that means that teams want all their best players healthy. Unfortunately, this is almost impossible this late in the season.
While Manchester United have Nani out with a hamstring injury, Paul Scholes out with a knee injury, and Phil Jones out with an ankle injury, the Red Devils are so far ahead in first place that they don’t necessarily need them. In a tight race, all three players out injured could spell trouble, but with such great depth and with so many points in hand, these injuries are very minor to United.
For teams two through seven however, time, points, and players are of the utmost importance.
Second place Manchester City has seen arguably their most important player, captain and central defender Vincent Kompany, miss key matches this season that has seen the Sky Blues fall out of the title race and into a dog fight for a Champions League spot. On top of Kompany’s nagging injury, City has recently seen the loss of Sergio Aguero and Maicon, who are both out with knee injuries, and Jack Rodwell who has developed a hamstring injury. Micah Richards continues to sit out with a serious knee injury, but is hopeful to return on March 30th. If City wants to keep a Champions League spot they can’t afford to lose any more key players.
Third place Chelsea has been the luckiest of the top teams injury wise recently. Since John Terry’s return from a serious knee injury, The Blues have been quite healthy and the only player consistently on the injury report is Oriol Romeu who sustained an ACL tear and will be out for the rest of the season. As of today, Gary Cahill and David Luiz are listed as day-to-day with knocks, but for the most part Chelsea has stayed healthy, which may be a key reason for their recent success.
Fourth place Tottenham is in the thick of things in the table and are fighting tooth and nail every weekend to earn points toward a possible Champions League spot next season. Unfortunately for them, they are also in the midst of a Europa League run, which puts even more stress on players and their bodies. Spurs saw a key loss recently as Aaron Lennon was sidelined with a hamstring injury and is not expected to return until March 30th. Central defender Michael Dawson has also been sidelined with a hamstring problem, but a return date is not set. Tottenham is one team that can’t afford any more injuries as they head into the meat of their schedule.
Fifth place Arsenal, who was recently bounced from the Champions League by Bayern Munich, has seen some key injuries lately that have surely contributed to their disappointing results. Jack Wilshere has missed multiple matches with an ankle injury, while German midfielder Lukas Podolski has been sidelined with a foot injury and is not expected to return until March 30th. Arsenal currently holds the one Europa League pot for next season, but with Everton just two points behind them and Liverpool just five, The Gunners will need to play well to close the season and to do that, need to get healthy fast.
For American fans, the recent back injury sustained by goalkeeper Tim Howard is one to watch. With some key World Cup Qualifying matches coming up, Howard’s injury could be a big problem. For his club Everton, who is fighting for a Champions League or at worst a Europa League spot, is also going to miss the keeper who has shown to be one of The Toffees most important players this season. Howard broke two bones in his back in a February 26th FA Cup match against Oldham and is expected to be out for at least a month, maybe two. The injury to Howard is terrible timing for the both his club and country, but with the competitiveness and passion of Timmy Terrific, there is no doubt that he will come back sooner than expected.
Let’s take a look at some of the other key injuries around the league:
Courtesy of Physio Room
Phil Jones/Ankle/March 30th
Paul Scholes/Knee Injury/Unknown
Darren Fletcher/Chronic Bowel Syndrome/Unknown
B. Sagna/Knee/March 13th
Vincent Kompany/Calf/March 30th
Jack Rodwell/Hamstring/March 30th
Sergio Aguero/Knee/March 30th
Micah Richards/Knee/March 30th
S. Ranieri/ACL/October 13th
Aaron Lennon/Hamstring/March 30th
Hatem Ben Arfa/Hamstring/Unknown
H. Vuckic/ACL/May 16th
Ryan Taylor/ACL/March 29th
Tim Krul/Ankle/April 6th
Fabricio Coloccini/Back/April 11th
M. Debuchy/Hamstring/March 30th
Yohan Cabaye/Groin/March 30th
Pepe Reina/Calf/March 31st
Fabio Borini/Dislocated Shoulder/Unknown
Martin Kelly/ACL/March 22nd
Phil Jagielka/Ankle/March 30th