Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Darren Burgess to take top spot in Arsenal fitness set-up

Last month it was reported that Australian fitness guru Darren Burgess would be joining Arsenal from AFL side Port Adelaide.

Indeed, the club’s have agreed to a strategic partnership as part of the deal, and although it’s going to take some time before he becomes ‘full time’ with the club – due to agreements which will see him prepare the Aussie rules side for their new season – Burgess will become the senior man in the Arsenal fitness set-up.

That means that current Head of Performance, Shad Forsythe, will act as his number 2. The American joined the club in 2014 after the World Cup in Brazil where he’d been working with the German national side.

He’s been a fixture in the Arsenal set-up ever since, preparing the team on the training pitch and as part of the pre-game warm ups.

However, he’ll now have to take a back seat to Burgess when the Australian takes over on a full-time basis.

It’s expected there could be other changes to the fitness department over the coming months, but Forsythe’s experience will be vital as the new man settles into his new role and deals with the travel between the UK and Australia.

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uncle D

If this prevents injuries and fatigue, am all for it. Yay!

Faisal Narrage

Can’t prevent injuries and definitely can’t prevent fatigue.

But he will help reduce the likelihood of it. But also requires Wenger to comply with his recommendations also. If he players a player right through to Christmas as per usual, I don’t want people blaming Darren for it.

uncle D

Prevent and stop are different words. And anyone blaming him is just silly, the records speak for themselves, by the end of next season it will be known if that area improved! We have only added two new players and 3 new teams to the Pleague. The results will show alright!

Faisal Narrage

“By the end of the next season” is exactly my point.
It’s gonna take more than a season to implement everything he would like. The fact people are looking to judge after 1 season is basically setting themselves up for disappointment.

If his methodology is data driven (and it is), he would need 2-3 season of data collection just to profile the players they have.

uncle D

He at least in a season should maintain the standard, at least! At the level of competition Arsenal compete that’s the least or else it’s a setback.

Faisal Narrage

This is such a ridiculous way to look at things.
This is the problem with it all; it’s not that simple.

To just see it and compare to last season and conclude if he’s better/worse is weird.

And in my original post, I made the case that the manager has the biggest influence on loading (which is fair, because Darren’s primary goal is player availability, Wenger’s is to win matches), so don’t go blaming Darren based on high expectations.

uncle D

No I will blame who hired him and expect them to correct it, it’s a game. I am sure Arsenal keep records already.

Ahmed Khaled

So you assume that Arsenal don’t have the data of the players? I know data play the biggest role, but it’s not about collecting them, it’s about how you put them into practice, and that’s what Darren excels at. I do agree that it would take about one season to see his results but definitely not 2-3 seasons!

Mein Bergkampf

Mission 1: Fix our Santi.
Mission 2: Never underestimate the importance of mission 1.
Mission 3: See mission 2.


I really miss this little fella. Hope he manages to get properly fit and can end his career in a way he has deserved it.


As do i. He is a smart enough to be able to play as long as Pirlo if he does get fit.


I had the feeling that Forsythe really had an impact. So I’m happy that he seems to be ok with the number 2 role and stays. It seems Gazidis was right when saying that they’re looking at all aspects in order to improve. Mertesacker and Lehman appointments were very positive for me and this seems to be another good thing. From what I’ve heard this guy is really a guru.
Just have to sort out this Alexis mess one way or the other and then we’re well equipped for the future.


Going by his track record, he’ll get the players in prime physical shape and prepare them to have the best chance of getting 100% out of themselves each match.

It may be a small advantage in the bigger picture, but in a game where the tiniest things matter these “one percenters” could make the world of difference.

Cliff Bastin

Operation cyborg wilshere phase 1


When is AFL preseason? Jan/Feb. Burgess has it sorted – no winters!


Wtf?! Woody Harrelson is head of the team’s fitness set-up?!


Is it clear that Burgess will be Forsythe’s boss, as opposed to just replacing him? Would be a shame to see Shad go, I think.


Hope this doesn’t mean Shad goes looking for a different club.

An Ox-sized Coq

Now that Per, Lehmann, and a new head of fitness have been sorted, it’s time that Gazidis enacts the final act of his “shake up plan” … move forward with with Flamini buying The Arsenal.

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