No Premier League team suffered more injuries than Manchester United last season, while Chelsea’s absentees cost them over £40million in wages.
United and Nottingham Forest sustained 69 injuries each across the 2022-23 campaign with the likes of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane missing key chunks of the season.
Chelsea’s 68 injuries were the costliest, meanwhile, with the club forking out an eye-watering £40.07m, calculated by multiplying players’ wages by the length of time for which they were unavailable. Big earners such as Reece James and N’Golo Kante spent time on the sidelines as the queue into the Blues’ treatment room regularly reached double figures.
New research also shows the 2022 World Cup saw Premier League players who competed in Qatar spent an average of eight extra days sidelined with injury in the second half of last season following the tournament.
The third edition of the Howden’s European Football Injury Index reveals the extent of the World Cup’s impact on players’ availability.
Between December 2022 and May 2023 following the World Cup, Premier League players who played in Qatar suffered a total of 46 injuries. The Bundesliga’s figure was 49, while LaLiga (18), Serie A (12) and Ligue 1 (11) were much less severely affected by the fitness demands of the tournament on players.
The report also shows that only the Bundesliga had more injuries than the Premier League last season. The English top flight’s total injury count in the 2022-23 campaign was 946 injuries — amounting to an average of 47 per side.
United and Forest (69 each) and Chelsea (68) suffered injuries on a much larger scale than most, with west London clubs Fulham (27) and Brentford (28) sustaining the fewest across the Premier League.
A total of 3,985 injuries across Europe’s top five leagues represented a decrease from the previous season, 2021-22, when that figure was 4,006, but the costs to clubs of those injuries rose by 30 per cent, demonstrating not just the concerning increase in ankle (up 170 per cent) and hamstring injuries (130 per cent) but also the exponential rise in player wages in recent years.