Adriano, Ibrahim Afellay, Alexis Sanchez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Eric Abidal as having all suffered hamstring injuries of varying severity from the start of pre-season to the end of September.
Pep Guardiola commented on the high correlation by suggesting it was nothing unusual: “Injuries have and always will be muscle-related. Especially the hamstring muscle, the most commonly used in football. You use it to start, stop, run and shoot.”
However, AS point to a strartling set of statistics to suggest the squad is proving more susceptible than previous to muscle injuries. During Guardiola’s first season – 2008-09 – in the period up to the October international break only Martin Caceres had a muscle-related injury.
The following season – 2009-10 – Guardiola had lost four players to muscle injuries by October, whilst the 2010-11 term up to October also saw four men register such injuries.
This season, that number has doubled to eight – Marc Muniesa and Gerard Pique have suffered muscle injuries to add to the six hamstring cases listed above.
The club are falling back on a disruptive pre-season as the cause of the unusually high number of injuries this campaign. Guardiola complained in August that the tour of Europe and the U.S. had hampered fitness preparations, as the team were unable to reach a desired level of intensity in workouts and games with extensive periods of travelling interrupting them.
AS also run an interesting insight from Dr. Jordi Ardevol, about the risk of players suffering relapse, particularly of the hamstring muscle: “30% of those injured in this area fall to the same injury before the end of the season.”