I had earlier compared the goalkeepers and defenders of the top four clubs. Since then Mannone has shown that he is not out of place in a premier league game. Now let’s have a look how the midfielders and attackers stack up
I am not a big fan of Denilson or Diaby. But when the competition has the likes of Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson, and Lucas can there be any reason to berate our players. I ask myself a simple question – would I be happy if Wenger had spent ₤18 Million on Nani, Carrick or Anderson? The answer is a resounding “No!”
Anyone who still doubts Song has no clue what football is all about. He can hold his own against any similar player in that list including Essien. It does not mean that Song has become the best as there is some room for improvement in his performances. But his present form is enough to get him into the United or Liverpool midfield for sure. Considering his age and the rate at which he has improved I won’t be surprised if he soon becomes another player associated with big money transfer rumors.
Cesc, Rosicky and Nasri are proven world class players. Wilshere, Ramsey and Merida are the most exciting youngsters amongst the whole group. So the question is where is the lack of strength in depth?
Some people complain that we don’t have a back up for Song. But I don’t see a back up for Mascherano either! The point is anyone can miss a few matches due to injuries or international commitments or any other reason. We can’t always look at buying players as a solution to that. Suppose we buy a player to cover for Song in January, and he gets injured at the end of December. Do we also sign a back up for that back up and wrap him in cotton wool till January? The manager has to balance the squad and tactics depending on the availability and that’s the best we can ask for. Sometimes we fail in getting the tactics right but that has nothing to do with SiD so I will discuss that in another article later.
I am not saying that we have the best possible midfield. But we are not talking about utopia either. We are talking of the real world and we seem to have a real midfield that doesn’t look weaker than the others that are higher rated and more respected.
If people want to say that squads with Macheda, Welbeck and a misfiring Berbatov or Voronin, El Zhar, N’gog have more strength in depth than Arsenal, you cannot really argue with them. It would be a waste of time and energy. It would also be an insult to our attack.
I don’t think we need any statistics or explanation as to why our attack is easily the best out of the top four. Rooney, Drogba and Torres are fantastic players but we are talking about SiD so just consider an injury to one of them and see how their respective squads weaken.
I can understand why someone would have said we didn’t have strength in depth at the beginning of last season. We didn’t have Arshavin, Eduardo and Rosicky were not fit, Walcott was still raw, Gallas was unconvincing after his collapse in the previous season, and Denilson and Song were unproven players. But to drag the same argument even today tells me that people tend to get stuck on ideas and forget to incorporate the changes that have taken place into their thinking.
I am certainly not saying that we don’t need any new players. We do have something missing from our game. But we did lose in Manchester with our first choice defence and Song in the team. So even if we had a couple of extra players on the bench I can’t see any difference in the result. I think we can do well with a couple of additions. But the point is that so could everyone else. Consequently, writing us off because of a perceived lack of SiD only highlights a lack of perception in the observer.
Anyone can say that XYZ club will not win the league. If anyone says that about all the clubs in the league they would have a guaranteed 95% success rate every year. Point is, we can’t win is the easiest thing to say. And the second easiest thing is to say that we must buy more players.
Chelsea have such a strong squad. But they still didn’t win the EPL or the Champions League. That is enough to prove that even the best of squads can fail. Being champions is not about having twenty five great players in the squad but about getting results even when you have to put out a relatively mediocre side due to injuries or anything else. I think we are learning that.