Top 10 most costly Premier League injuries features no Arsenal, Liverpool or Man City players

Will Ford
Martinez Nkunku Olise
Lisandro Martinez, Christopher Nkunku and Michael Olise have been costly absentees this season.

It’s been the Premier League season of injuries in 2023/24, but which absentees have been most costly to their sides this campaign? A Palace one actually.

You won’t find your Jurrien Timbers, Kevin de Bruynes or Trent Alexander-Arnolds in this top ten because the lucky/wealthy/well-resourced/well-run football clubs that own them have had very able deputees. Their injuries haven’t been too keenly felt, whereas the absences of this bunch of treatment table-warmers have had dire effects.


10) Lisandro Martinez
Only just sneaks in because he was shockingly bad before his first injury, then looked somewhere close to his excellent form of last season when he briefly came back before his second injury, and the 21 minutes against Brentford before his third was hardly enough to make a judgement. He’s had a rough time of it.

Martinez and fellow long-term absentee Luke Shaw had the joint-most blocks for United last term, which goes some way to explaining why they’ve already conceded eight more goals than last season, but does nothing to make sense of the million shots Erik ten Hag’s side have faced.


9) James Maddison
His injury coincided with Micky van de Ven’s, and before that bizarre 4-1 defeat to Chelsea in which they both came a cropper, unbeaten Spurs were sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League, having won eight of their ten opening games of the season. They picked up just one point in their next four, ending their admittedly premature and fanciful hopes of being involved in a title race.

Maddison won the Player of the Month award for August and got three goals and five assists in those first ten games of the season, at which point we all wondered whether he could be squeezed into Gareth Southgate’s starting line-up for England. That’s no longer a consideration, with the playmaker unable to quite rediscover that form on his return from injury.


8) Bryan Mbeumo
The absence of Ivan Toney may well be Thomas Frank’s greatest excuse for failure this season, but Mbeumo’s injuries have arguably proven far more detrimental to Brentford’s season. He’s got more assists (five) than anyone and only Yoanne Wissa (10) has scored more than his eight goals. That’s 13 goal contributions at a rate of one every 130 minutes, which makes him the 18th most prolific player in the Premier League.


7) Pedro Neto
No Wolves player to have started more than ten games has won more points per game than Neto (1.47), who has the third-most assists in the Premier League (nine) despite starting just 18 games this season. His much talked about move to Arsenal or Spurs would presumably be as good as done were it not for concerns over his injuries. He’s now missed over 100 games for Wolves in five seasons.


6) Joelinton
No Premier League team has had players miss more days through injury than Newcastle (1,766) this season. Nick Pope, Callum Wilson and Harvey Barnes have been among the most notable, but not as significant as Joelinton thanks to the hugely impressive displays of Martin Dubravka, Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon.

As Howe said, the Brazilian “adds a completely different dynamic” to the Newcastle midfield, and they’ve missed his power in and out of possession, as well as his ability to arrive late in the box and score goals. They have at least avoided losing him for free this summer.


5) Kaoru Mitoma
The silver lining for Brighton when Mitoma picked up his season-ending injury in February, after the Japan international had already missed six games with a different problem earlier in the campaign, is that he’s been out of the Amex shop window during a period in which Big Clubs generally have their eyes firmly fixed on what the Seagulls have to offer.

There’s now little chance that Manchester United, Arsenal or Barcelona will reignite their interest in the 26-year-old because it’s by and large a case of out of sight, out of mind for these recruitment simpletons, for whom recency bias rules all.

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4) Christopher Nkunku
Goalscoring hasn’t been such a problem of late for Chelsea, but missed chances and xG underperformance was all anyone – including straw-grasper Mauricio Pochettino – could talk about in the first few months of the campaign, with the Blues boss lamenting the absence of Nkunku almost as frequently.

He’s started just two games for Chelsea in his debut season during his brief hiatus from the sick bay over Christmas and into the new year, but scored goals from the bench against Wolves and Liverpool in that period to leave no doubt – amid very little competition – that he is in the top two most natural finishers in the squad along with the ludicrous Cole Palmer.


3) Micky van de Ven
Had he not sh*t the bed against Newcastle and then rolled around in it against Arsenal, Van de Ven may well have claimed top spot. The jet-heeled get-out-of-jail-free card has been a revelation for Tottenham this season – essentially the only reason Ange Postecoglou’s high line has worked at all. Despite his high-profile blunders of late, Tottenham have conceded 1.34 goals with him in the team and 1.81 without him.


2) Solly March
He’s not been seen since October after a season-ending knee injury but scored three goals in his opening two games and reportedly just missed out on a call-up for England for the Euro qualifiers in September. Seven games is an admittedly small sample size but his WhoScored rating of 7.43 is the fourth best in the Premier League, below only Bukayo Saka (7.66), Rodri (7.59) and Phil Foden (7.52)


1) Michael Olise
Crystal Palace have had to make do without their greatest attacking threat, one of the most dangerous and effective wingers in the Premier League, for 19 of their 35 games this season. Partner in sublime Eberechi Eze had also been absent for 11 games, and they’ve only started together on seven occasions this season, which looks likely to be their last as a pair at Crystal Palace. Here’s hoping Oliver Glasner can persuade them to stick around for at least one more – hopefully injury-free – campaign.