Premier League hit by huge injury spike as number of players sidelined in December tops 100 for the first time in five years… and things could get even WORSE with Covid wreaking havoc
- Premier League postponed 16 matches in December due to injuries and Covid
- Clubs reported 111 injuries in December excluding 72 cases of coronavirus
- Season average of injuries is up by 10 per cent according to Premier Injuries
- Players at increased risk of injuries due to crammed schedule and Covid
The number of injuries in the Premier League last month topped 100 for the first time in five years, with the seasonal average up by 10 per cent.
Sixteen matches were postponed last month because of a combination of Covid and injuries.
Data collected by analysts at Premier Injuries reveals there were 111 casualties reported in December — whereby a player has missed a period of at least nine days — up significantly on an average of 76 in the previous five seasons. The figure does not include the 72 known cases of Covid.
Chelsea right-back Reece James will be sidelined for two months with a hamstring injury
Former England and Arsenal physio Gary Lewin believes the situation will show no sign of changing, with players at higher risk of injury given the impact of Covid on fitness and scheduling.
‘This is an accumulative problem from the last two years,’ Lewin told Sportsmail. ‘Firstly, the last time any player did a full pre-season was probably three years ago.
‘The basis of fitness is that groundwork of strength and conditioning in the summer. In the past two years it has been rushed and condensed.
Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips was sidelined with a hamstring injury in December
Newcastle forward Allan Saint-Maximin suffered a muscular injury against Man United
Callum Wilson suffered a calf injury in the same game and could be out for over six weeks
‘Secondly, the fixtures are being crammed into a shorter period and no competition has been forsaken. It is like we have a festive programme the whole season through.
‘Thirdly, Covid. It has stopped you rotating as much because you have to put a team out if numbers allow. Also, a lot of players are coming back from illness and training for as little as one day and then playing. It is creating the perfect storm for injuries to occur.’
Lewin, who runs the Lewin Sports Injury Clinic, added: ‘I feel for the medical departments. It’s almost impossible to manage. You can tell the manager a certain player is in the red zone but they have to play games.
‘The Premier League need to look at everything — from the number of substitutes allowed to expanding squad sizes to revising the schedule, because this increase in injuries was inevitable.’