Back in the Time of Marin, we used to have a joke around these parts about hamstring injuries, as the Artist Formerly Known as The German Messi seemed to infect everyone around him (but especially Daniel Sturridge) with a rare airborne strain of the ailment.
There are of course no such things as airborne muscle strains. There are however injury-prone players, such as Marko Marin or Daniel Sturridge, or, to use a more recent example, Ross Barkley. The January signing has fought hard over the past couple seasons to kick that label, which he acquired as a teenager in part due to his gung-ho style of play (see also: Phil Jones), but has had a severe relapse over the past half-year, suffering a succession of injuries that have limited him to just three appearances, all in the past couple weeks. Now however he’s set for another spell (of so far indeterminate length) on the sidelines after becoming the eighth player to pick up a hamstring injury at Chelsea this season.
Dammit, Marko! It’s a full-on epidemic now!
It’s unclear if this is the same hamstring that Barkley had surgery on at the start of the season, or a different one — either way, the Telegraph (and noted Twitter eggs) are using it as another stick with which to beat Conte (he rushed him back and/or trained him too hard). Here’s the world’s foremost unemployed “expert” with the classic “I made a vague prediction, like, two years ago and now it came true SEE I TOLD YOU!”.
My tweet of 20 October 2017 about my tweet of 13 July 2016 about predicting Antonio Conte would implement his training methods at Chelsea ignoring the specific characteristics of EPL:— Raymond Verheijen (@raymondverheije) February 2, 2018
- more demanding games (more fatigue per game)
- more games (less recovery time between games) pic.twitter.com/xVLVK4zmey
Conte had just the other day praised Barkley’s surprisingly excellent “physical condition” (while doing the opposite about his tactical acumen), so the timing of the injury is rather ironic.
Could Conte reduce his training (which has already been drastically reduced from last season)? Probably? Possibly? I’m not sure any of us have any great visibility into this. They do need to train at some point unfortunately.
Fortunately, Willian is set to return from his hamstring knock on Monday, and young Callum Hudson-Odoi also continue to impress, so Chelsea won’t be too short of options for this must-win game.