COLUMNIST KEVIN SPARKE
After the announcement that Felliani is going to be out for ‘about six months’ I sat at my PC and wondered ‘How much bad luck can one football team have?’
We’re jinxed, have a spell cast over us, have bad karma, are a walking bunch of Jonahs.
You think not? Consider this sequence of injuries.
November 2008: 21 goals was Yakubu’s previous season’s tally; he’d been going through one of his periodic lean spells this season (And I mean lean in terms of goals — not waistline!) He’s only managed 3 so far, but things are slowly coming back together, he’s looking like the player of 2007/2008 sharp and dangerous — he goes down like a heap of shit, 12 months out of the game
Feb 2009: The team have been unbeaten since November 2008 and playing some nice football. Then our most influential player Arteta goes down like a heap of shit, — cruciate ligament injury, 11 months out the game.
April 2009: We’re grinding out results built on stalwart resolute defending, a cup final is on the horizon. Then our most influential player and captain elect goes down like a heap of shit — cruciate ligament injury, 10 months and counting out the game.
September 2009: We’ve started the season in a piss poor fashion; raw new players who have not bedded in; the ghost of Lescott disrupting the team spirit which is rumoured to be envied throughout the game; the only upside is the form of Pienaar; our most influential player who is beginning to look very dangerous — bang on knee, goes down like a heap of shit, 6 weeks out the game
February 2010: We’ve put together a good run of results; in flashes the team are playing like the Everton of old; attractive passing football mixed with intelligent defence orchestrated from deep in midfield. Then a stupid rash tackle he really had no business attempting — our most influential player goes down like a... etc, 6 months out the game...
Now, all teams get injuries; they are part of the game, but this is ridiculous; the Gods of football really don’t like us. Which leads me to a theory...
I can imagine Zeus, Wotan, Jupiter and Osiris sitting on Mount Olympus with their Liverpool shirts on, passing around the Carlsberg and smugly planning whatever other shite will shortly be coming in our direction.
Sometimes life just isn’t fair — but this run of injuries is getting ridiculous!
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1 Posted 17/02/2010 at 23:02:33
2 Posted 17/02/2010 at 23:34:09
3 Posted 18/02/2010 at 00:09:50
4 Posted 18/02/2010 at 00:10:26
5 Posted 18/02/2010 at 00:29:15
We have been following Everton long enough to know that this kind of thing happens to us on regular intervals, we have sort of got used to it by now. When these things happen I tend to just shrug my shoulders look up at the sky and wave my fist at those Greek gods who actually sent down a greek messenger to do the dirty work for them this time.
6 Posted 18/02/2010 at 01:09:24
7 Posted 18/02/2010 at 01:17:47
8 Posted 18/02/2010 at 03:50:57
Last season we had ZERO forwards available for weeks on end too.
Shows that Moyes is indeed exceptional at turning a pigs ear into a reasonably attractive silk purse I guess.
Again - shows
9 Posted 18/02/2010 at 05:43:21
This is a key part of our star player retention policy.
Rumours that a player may be off in the summer??? No problem. Snap his achilles tendon and all the offers will go away for at least 18 months.
You can see Pienaar fully understands this hence his recent comments that he is happy to stay at Goodison.... He knows that he will be next unless he stays out of the rumour mill.
10 Posted 18/02/2010 at 05:49:32
Also, I think one of some other buggers laws...the law of conservation of energy, things have got to balance out, whole religions have been about it, ying and yang, karma ( instant or otherwise ).
Juat as some people always ’seem’ lucky, always pick the winner with the pin in the national, put a couple of bets on in the casino and their number comes up, literally, pub friut machines. I might as well just get my money and throw it down the grid.
There is a school of thought that, just as you can breed for speed, stamina etc etc you ’should ’ be able to breed for luck... Google ’ Teela Brown ’ and see what comes up.
So I fully support this theory and want to know.... Mr Murphy, what have I / we ever done to upset you you bastard???
11 Posted 18/02/2010 at 09:26:59
Champions1891; lose ground in 1892
1915: WW1 1939: WW2;
1970 best team ever that should have dominated for 5 years just imploded what with Catterick sick, Bally’s debts and Harvey’s eye;
1985 Heysel;1987 team gets pissed off with no Euro footy and disintegrate.
Don’t even start on Clive Thomas, Hansen’s hand, Poll etc etc...
We need to find John Houlding’s grave and drive a stake where his chest cavity would have been; that should do the trick.
Phew, time for a lie down.
12 Posted 18/02/2010 at 09:27:49
We never go into the transfer market when we are doing well and each time it seems we are on the verge of real improvement it comes back to bite us.
It is a well known fact that good teams buy when they are at the top so that they can stay there and not just be one hit wonders like us.
Even back in the days of EFC league success we tended to rest on our laurels and often a league title was followed by a mass exodus and free fall... this is the EFC roller coaster and brinkmanship is our norm !!
13 Posted 18/02/2010 at 09:30:55
You’re right though, as the ald fella says ’If we didn’t have bad luck we wouldn’t have any luck at all’
Some argue these runs even themselves out - If thats the case we’re owed at least 5 injury free seasons... and about 50 penalties.
14 Posted 18/02/2010 at 09:43:44
Other sides have been getting injuries to key players for long periods too, but Everton probably have the smallest 1st team squad of any of the clubs regularly in the top half of the division — which means that not only do we miss our injured players more, but we are probably overplaying our top players which may be contributing to them getting injured in the first place.
15 Posted 18/02/2010 at 09:56:10
16 Posted 18/02/2010 at 09:49:14
Squad depth? Try this for size:
GK: Howard (Nash)
RB: Neville (Hibbert, Coleman)
LB: Baines (?)
CB: Heitinga (Yobo)
CB: Jagielka (Distin, Senderos)
CM: Fellaini (Rodwell)
CM: Arteta (Osman)
RM: Donovan (Gosling)
LM: Pienaar (Bilyaletdinov)
AM/CF: Cahill (Vaughan)
CF: Saha (Yakubu, Anichebe)
Only once sufficient of those have been broken do we have to look at fielding Duffy, Baxter, Wallace, Agard et al.
Not bad in my eyes, we’ve just had really tough luck!
I wonder sometimes if it is something to do with the training regime that we get so many injuries... I suspect that we field close to the same team game-in, game-out plays it’s part... but I do think predominantly, we have just suffered really bad luck over the last couple of years!
17 Posted 18/02/2010 at 09:59:24
18 Posted 18/02/2010 at 10:28:52
19 Posted 18/02/2010 at 11:04:41
Tired muscles mean poor proprioception (balance reactions) and this means more force through the ligaments instead of the muscles and tendons, which can’t react quick enough. You can’t account for bad tackles causing ligament injuries but you do increase the liklehood of these types of injuries by playing too many games.
Our luck would change with a bigger squad but that’s unlikely to happen. I know we’d like to win every game but if Moyes continues to operate with such a small squad he should definitely start to prioritise his competitions and rest his best players appropriately.
20 Posted 18/02/2010 at 12:26:22
Training regimes - bullshit!!
Playing too many games - bullshit!!
Working too hard during games - bullshit!!
Freak accidents/ bad luck - check!!
There will come a time when our injury curse will dry up completely and players will suffer only minor injuries i.e normality will set in.
Otherwise we’re just going to delve deeper into what Frank Lampard eats and drinks and how many times he has sex in a week.
21 Posted 18/02/2010 at 12:42:01
we are one of the cleanest teams in the division have been for a few years. The dogs of war are long gone but the reputation with referees remains intact which I feel leeds to our players not getting enough protection in tackles, evidence:
Anichebe, Nevill, peinaar, Fellaini all crocked, all fouls.
22 Posted 18/02/2010 at 14:50:53
As I have said before, our lack of movement in the transfer market has meant we are a very small squad and this means that when we are having a lot of injuries we suffer!!
We include our many loan signings as squad members but realistically they are not because we do not own their contracts... ALL top teams buy when they are doing well so it does not affect them so much when they lose top players.
The players we have really missed include Jags, Arteta and now Fellaini. Some of the other absentees are fringe players.... we let quite a few go eg; Johnson, Lescott etc etc.. really our squad size has not changed as we have always been a small squad.
23 Posted 18/02/2010 at 15:34:37
24 Posted 18/02/2010 at 15:23:01
Alan, I agree with your point re resting players. It is something quite new to Moyes, and he certainly needs to master it. But I can’t agree with your point re ligaments snapping just because muscles are tired. I don’t like the term luck, I simply look at it as Shit Happens. Look at Felli’s challenge with the Greek. Both players made poor attempts to win a 50-50, as happens so often, one ended up with a rather harsh IMO 3 game ban, and the other with a far harsher early end to his season. Is it right? Nope, life scarcely is.
What it does though is make me even prouder to be an Evertonian. We have not had a fully fit squad since basically the beginning of last season, and have suffered 5 injuries resulting in 6-12 months out as well as 3 or 4 more 3-6 monthers in that time. 5th and a cup final last season. Who knows this time? A win on Saturday lunchtime puts us 7 behind 4th going into the weekend’s fixtures. I want better, course I do. I think we can achieve better with one or two tweaks here and there. Let’s start on Saturday.
25 Posted 18/02/2010 at 16:39:02
Sorry Alan but that’s incorrect. Firstly, the muscle itself doesn’t get ’tired’. In fact, at no point during a football match or training session will anywhere near all of the available motor units be recruited. The local fatigue you feel at the muscle is likely due either to the inability of the body to replenish sufficient ATP (Pcr and CHO depletion) to fuel the required contraction, limited calcium released into the cell (or calcium leaking from the cell) or a reduction in neural drive to the muscle (downregulation of motor unit recruitment).
Secondly ligaments cannot and do not produce force.
A decline in proprioception is indeed a risk factor for ligament injury, but the cause of proprioceptive decline is more likely to come from central fatigue processes than ’muscle fatigue’. It could be argued that some type of of neuromuscular training (as is prevelant in recovery from ligament injury) could reduce the incidence of ligament injury, but reduced matches or improved muscle endurance won’t change a thing. IMHO.
26 Posted 18/02/2010 at 17:30:26
Back at Anfield, Carragher should have been at least yellowed, what, two minutes? The end of that failing on the day gave the the home team the advantage when Fellaini was stretchered off.
I believe that LFC will do anything they can to harm us.
Ground share? Only if they are facing bankruptcy.
I remember them losing games when we were in danger of relegation - funnily enough, against other relegation candidates.
I have been involved in and seen enough football for 50 years to know that injury can be deliberately inflicted. I’m not saying that the no-mark Greek knew that he was doing that. But ’the dressing room’ went out willing to kill for the cause.
27 Posted 18/02/2010 at 18:47:06
28 Posted 18/02/2010 at 19:00:17
You’re right ligaments do not produce force, they resist it. I’m sure you already know both ligaments and tendons contain structures designed to maintain balance and resist forces. If muscles are fatigued, they are not working properly to withstand the forces of twisting and turning during a game. This means more force goes through the ligaments. You therefore are increasing the risk of ligament damage playing on ’tired’ legs. There are players like Lampard who just seem to keep going and don’t get injured. He may just be made that way but playing 2 games a week all season will increase the risk of injury.
If anyone wants to test this out - time yourself balancing on 1 leg with your eyes shut. Go for a 5 mile run and as soon as you get back repeat the 1 leg standing with your eyes shut. Your legs will hurt and your balance will be all over the place.
29 Posted 18/02/2010 at 19:15:52
In those days a tackle was a block - from the front. Anyone that didn’t do it that way was known as a dirty player. Kendall, for example, was never anything like that. Strongest man on the field, and the cleanest.
But dirty tacklers came into the game - remember Fitzpatrick at United? - and the refs here had no idea what to do about them. So eventually the ’tackle from behind’ (but I got the ball ref) was imported from Europe as a proper foul.
And the refs here still don’t know what to do. They must come up through brutal park football. Hard but fair, the English game? Bollox. Shit like LFC are perfectly capable of sending assassins out to do a job.
The days you are talking about didn’t include deliberately inflicted injury. This happens today. And instead of a criminal prosecution, they get a three match suspension.
30 Posted 18/02/2010 at 19:40:55
Some no-mark serves 3 games.
The RS have injured us.
But we’re better than that, and them.
31 Posted 18/02/2010 at 19:45:13
There is no doubt that overuse of muscle fibres makes them more prone to strains, microtears and full blown tears. Which chemical reaction it is does not matter. Many muscle injuries occur in the last 20 minutes of a game which relates to fatigue — Cahill being a perfect example of this on Tuesday. To say it is due to reduction of neural drive to the muscle is just senseless jibber jabber. If you run a mile your muscles are tired — that is simple common sense. If you rest your muscle recovers.. Are you honestly suggesting that if you played a match everyday that your muscles wouldnt get tired. Even my granny would know that.
Allan Clarke is also quite right about proprioception. In Arteta's and Jagielka's injuries the cruciate ligament tore from contact with the ground — if their proprioception had been more senstitive then maybe that wouldn't have happened. I suspect no attention is paid to that at everton — interesting that Arteta did not entrust his recovery to the Everton physios.
Are you honestly saying that overuse injuries in muscles don't occur — get real. Why on earth do you think teams rotate players?
32 Posted 18/02/2010 at 19:52:57
Over the past couple of seasons — probably for less time but similar importance - Arsenal will have bemoaned the loss of Van Persie and Fabregas, Liverpool Torres and Gerrard, Man Utd Vidic and Hargreaves, Chelsea Cech and Cole, Spurs have had some too, not that I care...... Villa will shake their heads at Barry leaving; Liverpool, Alonso; Man Utd, Ronaldo....
That's football I’m afraid. Shit happens — it just seems worse when it's our own as it's only then we feel the pain. We might have had it a bit worse than most but then someone's got to pull the short straw. It's how you deal with it that counts.
33 Posted 18/02/2010 at 22:18:51
34 Posted 18/02/2010 at 23:19:59
35 Posted 19/02/2010 at 07:25:13
But would you agree that Johnnie Giles was in the modern tradition of lousy ankle kicks? And he was firmly of the 60’s era.
36 Posted 19/02/2010 at 11:35:25
"If overworked and tired the muscles will work anaerobically as opposed to aerobically. A lack of oxygen to the muscles will stop them contracting either concentrically or eccentrically properly. This will lead to muscles becoming fatigued."
Sorry Alan, completely wrong. Muscles don’t work aerobically till they are tired, then start working anaerobically. Muscles work anaerobically when the force of contraction required is greater than that which can be achieved through a purely aerobic pathway, so in simple terms it’s pretty much the other way round. We can work aerobically almost indefinately using lipids as an energy source — but aerobic energy resources can not produce powerful contractions. I don’t want to give a lesson here, but I’m right and you’re wrong so I’m going to — other readers may wish to switch off.
If I go and sprint 100 m now I’ll be working predominatly anaerobically immediately (ATP will be depleted within about 2 secs and PCr stores to replenish that ATP will almost be depleted at the end of the race). If I try and maintain that pace I’ll slow down because I run out of PCr and then replenish ATP both anaerobically and aerobically with CHO (which isn’t as quick). Eventually this will also run out (with pacing I’ll probably reserve a small anaerobic component — but thats digressing) so I can no longer replenish ATP quickly enough to produce the same strength of contraction — so of course I slow down. I’m, now working (in simple terms) purely aerobically. My ability to get O2 to the working muscles at these low (aerobic) intensities won’t really be challenged because I’m predominatly replenishing ATP from lipids which I have in huge reserve (I’ve been running for about 2 hours now), and from which I can replenish huge amounts of ATP per molecule. Of course I can’t produce run fast because I can’t produce powerful contractions - so if I try and run fast I’ll feel fatigued.
A better argument for you may have been that towards the final 15-20 mins of a football game ANAEROBIC stores are depleted so they can no longer produce the force required for powerful contractions, so they are fatigued. Of course I may have argued that the players are continuously replenishing their CHO stores throughout the game - and that central downregulation of motor unit recruitment (i.e. the brain won’t let me recruit as many motor units from the working muscle) is responsible for the sensation of fatgue.
I’m not saying that playing to often doesn’t lead to greater fatigue — of course it does (because it takes time to fully replensih your anaerobic resources) but your understanding of the mechanics of this, and how it may be related to to ligament injury are way off the mark.
37 Posted 19/02/2010 at 12:40:52
Yes quite correct. But also try this. Do a general (not local) fatiguing exercise that doesn’t involve the legs (i.e. arm ergometry until volitional exhaustion) and then try it. Your balance will be just as bad.
38 Posted 19/02/2010 at 12:54:47
All good character building stuff though, not like the red shite’s lily livered fans, who whinge if they lose just one game.
39 Posted 19/02/2010 at 13:12:56
You’re obviously well versed in how muscles contract and how ATP is generated , stored and used by the body but you’ve failed really to comment on how balance is affected by tiredness. Whether it’s to do with ATP stores, aerobic respiration or anaerobic respiration, the fact is if your muscles are overused they will not contract in the same way as if they are fresh. You cannot deny that muscles don’t control joint position and therefore balance?
If you look at joint stability as a whole, you rely very much on your ligaments and muscles RESISTING (not producing) force. A tired muscle will take longer to react and therefore the load is passed on to the ligaments. It may only be milliseconds but that loss of time between the fatigued muscle contracting and the ligament experiencing the increased force is enough for it to snap.
In Jagielka and Arteta’s cases they both played in nearly every game up until their injuries. I very much suspect their fatigued muscles could not react quick enough to stop the force being passed on to their cruciate ligaments and hence they snapped.
What Wrende is talking about when mentioning his granny is basically you are more at risk of injury when tired. I think everyone accepts that.
40 Posted 19/02/2010 at 13:33:54
41 Posted 19/02/2010 at 13:37:14
Look at the Derby — 11 vs 10 for an hour, most of our top players available and he bricked it.
He prefers this "backs against the wall", "we need bodies" carry on. Then we can’t accuse him of being negative or lacking ambition because he knows he’s got the ready made excuse — "Felliani’s out"/"Arteta’s out" — he loves it!
42 Posted 19/02/2010 at 13:45:42
Because you’ve depleted the local PCr stores which are required replenish ATP at a fast enough rate to generate the contractile force required to push 100kg. Load your muscles with creatine - you may be able to lift one or two more. This isn’t because your muscles are less ’tired’ - it’s because you have more PCr. Also (In my opinion - and I have time aligned EEG and iEMG data to demonstrate it), noticing that your body is running low an anaerobic energetic resources, your brain reduces neural drive to the muscle meaning that you can’t produce as much force because (in simple terms) less of the muscle is working.
Run at your anaerobic threshold for as long as you can without any exogenour CHO, how far do you get? Then it again with exogenous CHO and how far do you get?
Is the difference because your muscles were less ’tired’ on the latter trial than they were in the first trial? Or is it because you can keep ’feeding’ the muscle with anaerobic resources which enable you to produce the necessary force?
I’m not saying that the incidence of injuries is not more when fatigued, I’m saying that this is due to central than peripheral fatigue processes.
"You might also want to look specifically at the function and role of the hamstrings, quads and gracillis in knee stability, how they protect the cruciate ligament and the demands these muscles experience through a typical game of football. If these muscles don’t do their job properly, the cruciate ligament is at risk."
This is an entirely different kettle of fish. I’m acutely aware of the demands on these muscles during a game of football, as such I am also aware of the extent to which muscle damage which can be experienced during eccentric exercise (e.g a game of football), and to what extent and how eccentric muscle damage can impair proprioception.
Of cause eccentric muscle damage is divorced from fatigue. If you are suggesting playing games too regularly leaves insufficient time for motor units to recover from eccentric muscle damage then I would be inclined to agree with you. But that’s not what you said, is it? You were talking about fatigue (tiredness) not damage, weren’t you?
Proprioception is certainly impaired by eccentric muscle damage. But this is entrely divorced from the role that ’tiredness’ plays in changes in in proprioception - as you suggested.
43 Posted 19/02/2010 at 14:45:55
@Mark Stone/Alan Clarke ... Keep it up fellas - I’ve learned more about muscle function and fatigue here in a few posts than half a dozen boring text books.
Only on Toffeeweb - fantastic!
44 Posted 19/02/2010 at 15:05:49
Incidently, I’m writing one, on central fatigue. It’s boss.
45 Posted 19/02/2010 at 17:17:43
As for us - RS and the Devil is the pact. It will all come right in the end. Roll on Armageddon.
2004-5, we had 9 players with over 30 matches, 10 if you count Gravesen replaced by Arteta. So there were times when we had no significant injuries. And some people were never prone to injury — Bernie Wright, Brett Angel, Gareth Farrelly.
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