According to many the reason we will not win the title is due to a lack of squad depth. Can this really be true? Is it my imagination or do we not have the best squad for a very long time – perhaps ever?
So let’s look at who is behind the first 11 ……
Against Chelsea we had a bench with the current French International centre forward, the Welsh Captain, a current England winger, a German with almost 100 caps, a 19 y.o established England player who continually gets rave reviews, a Brazilian International defender and a Swiss CH with 33 caps. Oh, and a goalkeeper who is still in pampers.
Add to that the reserves and our injured players: The midfield great white hope of England, the Czech national captain, an ex Russian captain, the current Moroccan captain, one of the best right backs in the world, the Polish no.2 keeper, a few outstanding youngsters in Coquelin, Frimpong, Jenkinson …… and Squillaci.
That is our 2012/13 squad.
When looking for comparisons, why not compare with the best …… The Invincibles. That team had an exceptional first eleven, this is indisputable. But squad?
Behind Messrs Henry, Campbell etc were:
An ageing Martin Keown (38yo), Pascal Cygan, a very young Clichy (18 yo), Justin Hoyte (19 yo), our bench GK was Graham Stack!
Compare with Fabianski, Jenks, BFG, JD and Santos.
You are already getting a feeling as to where this is going!!
Invincibles – Parlour (31 yo), Edu and Bentley, That’s it.
AFC 2012. Ramsey, Arshavin, Wilshere, Rosicky, Frimps, Le Coq.
Invincibles – Kanu (who is apparently 36 this year !!), Reyes, Aladiere, and a very grumpy Wiltord who only started 8 games.
AFC 2012: Walcott, Chamakh, Giroud, Ox.
The first thing which strikes me is how physically strong the Invincibles first team were; 10 players played over 30 PL games through the season. Kanu got just 3 starts. Reyes 7 and Keown 3.
Secondly, the massive difference in the quality of the bench compared to the first team in 2004.
You can decide how many of the “04 squad members would make our bench today, but I think very few. Is it true we have a thin squad? Clearly not, it is a fiction put about by people who know nothing about The Arsenal other than what they watch on Match of the Day.
(for comparison’s sake all the Invincibles started at least one PL game).
Written by Big Raddy