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EPL injury review 2023-24 Manchester United

EPL 2023-24 Season Injury Review: Manchester United

EPL injury review 2023-24 Manchester United
With Expert Insights From
Ben Dinnery
Ben Dinnery
Injury Analyst

Manchester United topped the time-loss injuries table in the Premier Injuries EPL Injury Stats for 2023-34. But was it as bad as it might have appeared? Injury analyst Ben Dinnery digs deeper.

Why were Manchester United injuries getting so much coverage?

Headline numbers grab the attention and when you’re a club like Manchester United, one of the biggest in the world, every move, result and decision is heavily scrutinised.

In 2023-24, much of the media attention was focused on the injury situation at Old Trafford as the side slipped out of the Champions League qualifying places by winning only 8 of their eighteen league matches in 2024.

Much of the talk was around problems in defence as the Red Devils struggled to name a consistent back four.

Casemiro was called upon to deputise during the run-in with the likes of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Tyrell Malacia, Aaron Wan Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Willy Kambwala, Jonny Evans, Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martinez all sidelined to varying degrees as the pressure began to mount on manager Erik Ten Hag.

Was the injury situation as bad as portrayed?

Based on the numbers alone, yes.

According to Premier Injuries data, United reported 45 time-loss injuries during the 2023-24 season, more than any other side. Chelsea (43) were close in second.

Time-loss Injuries 2023-24

For transparency, these numbers are taken from the opening weekend, first-team only, and does not include players absent for domestic or European cup competition.

It is also important to note that the Red Devils’ injury burden, both in terms of Days Lost (1620) and Games Missed (202) in the league, saw the side drop down to sixth overall, with the average time spent on the sidelines per injury being 36 days.

Days Lost 2023-24

Games Missed 2023-24

The red devil is in the detail

The difficulty when comparing numbers between top flight teams is that it is not like for like.

Winning the FA Cup, plus their involvement in the Champions League, meant United played 50 matches (4560 minutes) last season and, with Sheffield United exiting both cup competitions at the first hurdle, the Blades’ match exposure (40) resulted in only 3600 minutes of game time.

Therefore, we calculate the Injury Burden based on injuries per 1,000 competitive minutes, which again drops United down the table, having suffered 9.9 time-loss injuries in every eleven matches.

Injury Incidence 2023-24

For the record, Crystal Palace (10.0) topped the table despite only reporting 37 absences.

Are all injuries the same?

No, and for United the primary concern will be the number of soft-tissue and muscle strains that account for two-thirds of their total burden.

However, digging a little deeper, more than 66% of the thirty reported muscle injuries (20) can be attributed to just seven players, with Harry Maguire and Mason Mount each suffering four injuries. Luke Shaw accumulated the most days on the sidelines (221) up to and including the final day of the season.

Conclusion

The 2023-24 season saw the Red Devils’ injury burden rise by around 32% when compared to 2022-23, from 34 to 45.

This spike prompted an internal audit by INEOS sporting director Sir Dave Brailsford, who plans to overhaul Carrington, including a new ‘pre-activation and player performance’ zone in addition to a new warm-up area, as they attempt to mitigate the risk of player injury.

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