It has been an unusual year; suspension of the league to “Project Restart”, one legged Champions League and Europa league format, and short summer break, no thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic which disrupted proceedings all over the world. Clubs are already feeling the pangs and effects of the extended season and little or no summer holiday before the start of the new season with slow start to the season by the bigger teams and varying degree of injuries to top players.
Different clubs, especially bigger ones have been having their unfair share of injuries to their top players. So far, defending champions, Liverpool have been the worst hit, they have star defender Virgil Van Dijk out with a serious knee injury which could keep him out for the rest of the season.
Luis Fabinho has joined him with a hamstring injury and Joe Gomes just some days back got injured while on international duty with England international having to undergo a surgery. The Reds are definitely decimated at the back at the moment.
Manchester City are also licking their wounds. They are currently missing star striker, Sergio Aguero with Gabriel Jesus just recently returning to action. While on international duty, summer acquisition from Bournemouth, Nathan Ake got injured and is set for a spell on the sidelines.
For Chelsea, they have been less hit but still have a casualty in winger, Christian Pulisic while Arsenal recently lost star summer signing, Thomas Partey to a thigh injury against Aston Villa and this forced him to miss the AFCON qualifiers with Ghana.
All these spate of injuries are effects of an extended last season laced with short summer holiday. Players have their bodies on the edge and at the risk of varying degree of injuries especially muscular ones. They must be protected at all cost. Players of bigger clubs are even at a bigger risk considering the amount of matches they have to play from the league to the continent and then international matches for their countries.
To get the best out of these players, they should be protected through adequate rest. A return to 5 substitutions at this time could be a welcome development and a clarion call clubs need to heed if they are to stem the tide of these unsavory injuries. Premier League clubs kicked against it at the start of the season but they are seriously reconsidering it now with West Ham manager, David Moyes who initially kicked against it having a rethink now.
The only thing constant in life is change and if they must save the players from burnout and career threatening injuries, the Premier League must change, 3 substitutions must give way to 5, it is a career saving change!