As we approach the final leg of the Premier League season, the last seven months have been a thorough reminder of what we missed so dearly during the coronavirus pandemic. Stadium’s full of fans, less controversial referring decisions and a closely contested title race which looks set to go down to the wire.
While even the best betting exchange sites are struggling to pick a winner, there are other teams who would have wanted to throw their names in the hat at the start of the season, but have been badly affected by injuries, leading to an underwhelming campaign to say the least. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the sides that have dealt with the worst injuries throughout this season.
What a strange turn of events this season has been for Leeds United. With their loving fans back at Elland Road in full voice, and a great first season in the top flight under Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds looked destined to kick on from their already impressive ninth-place finish, but instead have suffered with injuries to the core of their squad.
Top scorer Patrick Bamford and midfield maestro Kalvin Phillips have been out for most of the season, with Bielsa’s intense brand of football simply unsustainable — Tyler Roberts and Junior Firpo are the latest to have suffered setbacks against Leicester City and Aston Villa as they both look likely to be out for the rest of the season.
The Leeds players have been running themselves into the ground for the last three years and it’s clearly caught up with them, suffering severe second-season syndrome in which results have nosedived and they seem incapable of defending. Bielsa has since walked away from the Yorkshire outfit, with Jesse Marsch now tasked with saving a sinking ship that looks destined for relegation.
While its hard to sympathise with Chelsea given their financial muscle and substantial squad depth, if you look back to the start of the season the Blues were cooking on gas and looked destined for the title. Romelu Lukaku was scoring for fun and Thomas Tuchel looked like the most tactically astute coach in the league.
However, long-term injuries to both fullbacks Reece James and Ben Chilwell massively hindered Chelsea’s results. Their productivity was a large part of their success and Marcos Alonso and Trevoh Chalobah simply haven’t been able to replicate that. While they still look on course to finish in the top four, you wonder how much longer they could have sustained a title push had they had less injuries.
Having started the season well under Rafael Benítez, with three wins from their opening five games, Everton looked to be making an outside push for European football. But losing their talisman Dominic Calvert-Lewin massively knocked their confidence, not only leading to Benítez’s departure, but enduring a poor run of results in which they couldn’t score for love nor money.
Now the Toffees find themselves in a relegation battle, with the likes of Jean-Philippe Gbamin — who ended up leaving in January — Tom Davies and Fabian Delph, all spending lengthy periods on the treatment table. It’s thrust Everton into a relegation battle and given their final run of fixtures, it’s still not objectively impossible that the blue half of Merseyside ply their trade in the Championship next season.