The number of injuries in the Premier League has soared this season, sparking concerns that players are being overworked in a busy schedule.
A new study from Premier Injuries found that there have been 196 injuries in the first three months of the 2023/24 campaign. This represents a 15% increase on the rate of injuries across the past four seasons.
The worst-affected teams have been Manchester United and Newcastle United, who have each sustained 14 injuries this season. In the case of both teams, over-working could be a key factors.
Newcastle played fewer games overall, but placed high demands on their squad. Ben Dinnery, founder of Premier Injuries, explains that Newcastle have relied upon a small group of players for the vast majority of the playing time.
He said: “Newcastle were the only team across Europe’s top five leagues where nine of their outfield players were able to play a minimum of 75% of their domestic league minutes last season, which is unheard of.”
Why are there so many hamstring injuries?
Perhaps the most striking statistic uncovered by Dinnery’s team is the increased frequency of hamstring injuries. Muscular injuries of that nature are often the result of sustained over-exertion, rather than a singular, freak incident.
During more than two decades of Premier Injuries research, hamstring complaints accounted for around 42% of soft tissue and muscular injuries. However in 2023/24 the relative frequency of hamstring injuries is a whopping 96% higher.
One explanation for the incredible rise in Premier League games is the additional time being added. A new directive, designed to clamp down on in-game time-wasting, now ensures that games regularly last more than 100 minutes. That extra exertion could be pushing players beyond their limits and putting their safety at risk.
Manchester United injury list grows
After showing good progress in 2022/23, Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United stewardship is enduring a tough run of fortune. With 14 players missing parts of the opening three months due to injury the team’s form has suffered and progression from the group stages of the Champions League looks unlikely.
Ten Hag has been without key defensive options like Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martinez, while Raphael Varane has only recently returned from injury. Midfield lynchpin Casemiro looks unlikely to play again this year after sustaining a hamstring injury.
Most recently Christian Eriksen and Rasmus Hojlund, a £72 million ($90m) summer signing, were both forced off due to to injury in the recent victory over Luton Town.
The November international break will have given the team a chance to recover, but Manchester United will still be without a number of key players when they make the trip to in-form Everton on Sunday.
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