West Ham lose striker Michail Antonio for six weeks with hamstring injury as Premier League fixture crush causes injuries to rise… as Chelsea boss Frank Lampard calls for return to five subs per match
- West Ham’s Michail Antonio could be out for six weeks with a hamstring injury
- Antonio was injured in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Man City and will miss two games
- The Hammers star’s blow is the latest in a long list of Premier League injuries
- Chelsea boss Frank Lampard wants to revert back to five substitutions-a-game
Michail Antonio is facing six weeks out with a hamstring tear as the number of Premier League stars with soft tissue injuries nears 50 per cent more than at the same stage last season.
In a devastating blow to West Ham, striker Antonio was substituted in the 52nd minute of last Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Manchester City with what scans have revealed to be a Grade 2 hamstring tear.
Hammers boss David Moyes had hoped that the injury was not too severe but Antonio, who had scored three goals in six games, will miss Saturday’s trip to face Liverpool at Anfield, along with the London derby with Fulham.
West Ham forward Michail Antonio (middle) could be out for six weeks with a hamstring injury
The Hammers star came off in the 52nd minute of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City
Jurgen Klopp’s side have their own injury issues, with star defender Virgil van Dijk out with knee ligament damage and his replacement Fabinho expected to be sidelined for three weeks with his own hamstring injury.
As of last weekend, there had been 78 examples of players suffering muscular injuries, according to data collected by Premier Injuries, which is a 42 per cent increase on 55 from the previous campaign.
As well as Van Dijk, high-profile casualties this season have included Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and Leicester striker Jamie Vardy.
Speaking on Thursday, Frank Lampard warned this will be a ‘season like no other’ because of a relentless schedule which is putting players at risk.
Antonio’s blow is the latest in a long injury list for Premier League clubs, such as Virgil van Dijk
The Chelsea boss added it was a big mistake to remove the five substitutes rule, which he says would have spread the workload. Lampard also revealed his players were preparing for their game at Burnley tomorrow after only four hours’ sleep.
‘It will be a season like no other, and none of us can control that,’ said Lampard, whose players landed back in England from Russia following their 4-0 win over Krasnodar in the Champions League in the early hours of Thursday morning.
‘The ball was firmly dropped when clubs or the Premier League turned away from having five subs,’ Lampard said.
‘We’re clearly in the most unprecedented time. The situation facing football is carrying on. It’s not going anywhere. The demands on the players is huge at every club.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has noticed a common theme regarding injuries in clubs
‘I’m not just talking about my squad — I’m talking about every football player who is being asked to play day after day and is putting himself at injury risk. It’s changed the landscape. We’ll try to manage it as we can,’ Lampard said when asked how clubs can cope with such demands. ‘We’re fortunate in that we have a big squad here.
‘We want to do the best, the pressure is on, the players want to get the right results. It could have a big effect this year, more than any other year.’
Project Restart in 2019-20 saw the number of substitutes rise from three to five — and matchday squads increase from 18 to 20 — to help players cope with the condensed schedule.
Lampard would like to see the Premier League go back to five substitutions like last season
Despite Lampard clearly being in favour of returning to that format, Sportsmail has been told it is highly unlikely that the Premier League would perform a U-turn.
Clubs previously voted against it, with the smaller sides feeling it benefited the Big Six, who have deeper squads and could use it to see out victories.
The Premier League would also not like its rules to change midway through a campaign.
The use of five substitutes are permitted in the Champions League and Europa League.