One of the areas looked at was the playing time of Pablo Hernandez who has (unfairly in my opinion) gained a reputation as being fragile due to repeated injuries this season. As Pablo got injured again in the last game against Crystal Palace I was planning to update his data but similar injuries in the Champions League to Ozil and Aguero along with talk of 'dinosaurs' and 'incompetence' from Raymond Verheijen made me want to extend this.
Garry Monk said Pablo felt his hamstring pretty much from the start of the match against Crystal Palace, Ozil injured his in the 2nd minute against Bayern, Aguero in the 3rd minute against Barcelona.
The other thing that links all 3 is that they had all played 90 minutes around 72 hours previously to getting injured and have all recently come back from injuries (prior hamstring injuries in Pablo's and Aguero's cases).
Obviously players get injured on a regular basis and hamstring injuries are not rare but for all three to suffer strains right from the start of the match suggests possible issues around overplaying and insufficient recovery time, either from previous injuries or previous matches.
For Pablo, the three times this season the playing minutes have ramped up, he's ended up with an injury, this is far from proof of over playing but does at least flag it up as a concern.
Looking at Pablo's minutes for last season, joining from Valencia after the season had already begun, he was pretty much an ever-present apart from a gap of a few weeks in the middle of the season.
|Ozil in 2012/13 There are certainly times where Ozil played 2 full games in a 7 day period but overall there isn't the same level of activity of a consistent period that there has been this season|
Unfortunately there's not going to be a 'one size fits all' approach to prediction and prevention of injuries and there'll always be the temptation that any given match is big enough for it to be 'worth the risk'. If you're a manager facing an important match and 'knew' a player had a 30% chance of getting injured early (as an example) it's likely you'd take the gamble anyway, it may not be the optimum decision over a long period but seeing as a club can go from being comfortable to being 'in crisis' within the space of a week, long term planning may not extend beyond the next 4 games if you're lucky.
Minutes played data from Transfermarkt
Injury Data from Physioroom
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