Squads Announced: Who has the most strength in depth?

As per the new regulations all the clubs have now announced their 25 player squads along with a long list of U-21 players who’ve been registered so that they are eligible to play in the Premier League just in case. You can see complete details of the squad lists and junior players of all the 20 clubs on the official site.

It’s interesting, although not surprising, to note that Chlesea have only given a 19 player list for the senior squad. Many clubs have not filled their quota of 25 senior players. Arsenal with 20, Villa 22, Blackburn 21, Blackpool 24, Bolton 24, Everton 21, Liverpool 21, United 24, Newcastle 23, Sunderland 24, and Wigan with 19 have some room to manoeuvre in the market in January or next summer.

In effect, only Birmingham, Fulham, City, Stoke, Tinies, West Brom, West Ham, and Wolves have taken up their full squad quota.

In such a case the U-21 players will clearly play a vital role as the season unfolds. Not surprisingly, Arsenal seem to have the strongest contingent of young players. I’ve not examined other squads in detail but a cursory glance showed that no other squad had the same level of proven talent at the youth level.

As expected Ramsey, Walcott, Gibbs, Vela, Frimpong, Wilshere, Szczesny and Traore are all part of the junior list, not to mention the likes of Nordtveit, Lansbury, Eastmond, JET, and many other talented youngsters who’ll probably form a big part of the Carling Cup squad.

I might be wrong as I don’t follow the youth football of other clubs but I don’t think any two or three clubs combined have such a strong youth contingent in terms of talent and top level experience.

Chelsea are really taking a huge gamble as their 19 player list is supplemented by the likes of Gael Kakuta, Daniel Sturridge, Jeffrey Bruma, and Borini. We can see the impact of letting the likes of Ballack, Deco, Belletti, Carvalho, and Cole leave with only Benayoun and Ramires coming in. They’ve also allowed youngsters like Di Santo, Scott Sinclair, and Miroslav Stoch to leave.

A couple of injuries in the same area and they could be really short, especially upfront. From a depth point of view I don’t think they have enough. What they do have is a solid track record of not having too many injuries in the same area and key players who have gone years without picking up long term injuries (Essien being the exception that proves the rule!). If it changes this year they will struggle to stay close to the top. Otherwise their key players will always make them strong contenders for any trophy.

United have named 24 players in their senior squad but that includes the perennially injured Hargreaves, past his prime Owen, unsettled Anderson, and completely unproven De Laet. In effect they have a 20 man squad.

They do have youngsters like Macheda, Obertan, Smalling, Bebe and Pogba but none of them is experienced or proven at the top level.

I think United have far better balance and depth in their squad when compared to Chelsea. I’d say they are on par with Arsenal in terms of strength in depth. If Berbatov can improve his performances this season and if the golden oldies stay fit they will be close to the top.

Surprise, surprise! City have taken up their quota of 25! I don’t have to mention the kind of depth they have. Any team that has a bench worth close to a hundred million pounds will not be short of players. I still don’t think they’ve a chance of winning the title but I’ll discuss that in detail in another article on predictions for the season. As far as strength in depth goes, City are probably top of the pile.

Liverpool have 21 senior players including the likes of Stephen Darby and Jay Spearing, while N’gog and Pachecho are part of the U-21 list. I’m not at all convinced they have the depth to compete for the title. Anyway, with Liverpool it’s all down to Gerrad and Torres and this season won’t be much different.

Finally, the Tiny Totts have also taken up their quota of 25. Their junior squad also contains players like Bale, Dos Santos, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, and Sandro. In terms of numbers the Tinies are not so small but when we consider that these numbers include the likes of Bentley and Jenas, it does put their squad in perspective. I think Redknapp has collected plenty of players who are of his own ilk, just short of top level quality. What else can we expect from a f*ck*ng football manager who is not a wheeler-dealer 😉

I think they have some depth but mostly in terms of numbers and not in terms of quality as we will see once their Champions League games start.

In conclusion, City have the most depth but Arsenal and United have the best equipped squads. Chelsea have a smaller but relatively stronger and well proven group. Liverpool look like they’ll struggle and the Tinies are in for a long grind. I do expect many different opinions on this so please feel free to share yours.

For the sake of quick reference you might find the following images useful. The first one has the senior squads of the six clubs I’ve considered and the second one has the list of junior players that I’ve compiled based on my discretion i.e. names I’ve heard of and not out on loan. I’ve not done much research on that so I might have missed someone but players like Traore, Cleverly, and Wellbeck have been left out on purpose. (The images are bigger and will be clearer if opened in a new window, limit on the blog width reduces the clarity.)

28 Responses to Squads Announced: Who has the most strength in depth?

  1. Nick says:

    seems like Arsenal and City maybe. Check this link:

    -edited: spam link removed – Desi

  2. Tactician says:

    Unless I’m mistaken , Arsenal only listed 20 players because we only have 20 players over 21 and the under 21s aren’t required to be listed.

    • desigunner says:

      Yes, that’s true. I wasn’t trying to say we’ve left out any players. Just that there is some room. Although Gibbs, Vela, Walcott, and probably Traore if he stays will need a spot next year.

  3. Abdikheer says:

    With this mention player including young mexico best player arsenal should win something this year

  4. Indogooner says:

    Where is Lansbury? also Cruse and Henderson?

    • desigunner says:

      I didn’t include all the youngsters as that was not the point of the article. We certainly have many exciting young players like Lansbury, Cruise, Henderson, Bartley, Coquelin, and so on.

      But most other clubs have also listed plenty of young players. I just didn’t know how to compare them as I don’t follow the youth level to the extent that I’d know how good the youth players from other teams were. You can see the complete list of seniors and juniors from all clubs on that PremierLeague web page that I’ve linked to.

  5. Jassi Khangura says:

    Well done DesiGunner! I’ve been a lifelong Gooner, well from age 10 anyway. Lived 40 years in the UK. Now back in India to serve the people as MLA for Qila Raipur, Punjab. I still have 6 season tickets at the Emirates which I share amongst family and friends and I get to see a few matches during my frequent social / business visits to the UK. Suggestion: make your blog truly Desi centric to increase our fan base in India. There’s nothing wrong with remote support and Arsenal has millions of fans who have never been to Highbury or the Emirates. Well done!

    • desigunner says:

      Thank you very much. I’m honoured to have a senior member of the Desi as well as Gooner community.

      I read about some of the great work you’re doing. Wish you all the best. India would certainly do well to have more MLA’s and politicians like you.

      I’m not based in India right now so it’s not that easy for me to spread the word, but I’ll surely try to reach out to more and more Desis.

      • Sriram says:

        I would say you keep doing this, you are spreading the word not only to India but the whole world. Arsenal is a world phenomenon. There are a lot of other Indian friends of mine, who read your blog. So, your base in India is already growing. Keep it up mate! Cheers!

  6. Will says:

    You forgot one very important player under City: “Premier League” LOL

    Manchester City – Under 21 players (Contract and Scholars)

    Ball, David Michael
    Balotelli, Mario Barwuah

    Weiss, Vladimir
    Wood, James Robert Fraser
    Premier League <—

    Now who said the premiership could not be bought?

    On a serious note, I never realized how under-strength Chelsea was until this article. We're very much covered, and in overall squad depth, we're one of the strongest in this league on paper. This will be a very interesting season. C'mon You Gunners!

  7. suhel says:

    thnks dasi enjoyed ur post very much 🙂

  8. BINI says:

    thanks for the well thought article…

  9. slimshady says:

    Nice article Desi, I’ve sent a link of this to my chavski cousin, I keep telling him their squad is light!

  10. ColneyBlog says:

    Thought it was Pereira Neves not Pereika, No? 🙂

  11. Gunner says:

    i would say we actually have the most complete squad this season, as compare to last 5 years. (not mentioning GK, since tranfer is closed)

    At the same time, most of other teams have stagnant or weaken this season, exception to ManC..

    So, as long as there are no MAjor injuries issue, we are very well position to challenge the EPL title, and have a very decent on CL. In fact, if Uefa do introdue the Financial Fair Play rules, we are in the best position to take full advantage of it..

    So.. Show us the results boyz~~~ 🙂

    • desigunner says:

      I think we are already seeing the impact of the fair play rules. My guess is Chelsea have trimmed their squad down to control the wage bill so they can reach break even and other financial criteria. Over the next few years we will more benefits as almost all other clubs will have to go in reverse while we can forge ahead in terms of spending and wages.

      • Gunner says:

        Wont it be very fun and interesting to see how ManC struggle to pass the Fair Play rules, especially the kind of wages they are paying to every playersin their 1st 25?? of coz assuming they did get to L..

        By selling all their highest earner at half of wat they have paid? like Robinho?? LOL

  12. Austino says:

    Its not about number but about performance;its not “how far” but “how well”.Chelsea is not a light-weighted team like Arsenal.With our number,we can still carry the league with ease.One thing that makes me detest you guys(Arsenal fans)is that you like comparism so much.Its only in this site that i have seen the comparism of this 25 man squad-rule.The most annoying thing is that you do it to favour you.If you guys have been truthful in or unbiased in the analysis,then you can give it(the title)to mancity because the depth of the team is second to non.But no,you have twisted it in a way it will benefit your club,and that is absolute “nonsense”.We shall see what happens by May.Till then,keep deceiving yourselves.

    • AnonymousGun says:

      How it is twisted? Twisted as in 1-0 lost to Sunderland. The Gunners wasnt the one this season that have 1 lose to its record already .. In fact, we have 3 wins.. just like Chelsea’s.

    • Gunner says:

      if u do read carefully, we do anknowledge the FACT that ManC has the strong bench ard.. serously, if anyone spend more den 200mill on players in 3 years, wat do u expect? in term of 25 man squad, they are the strongest, man for man.

      but lucky for us, Football is not an individual sport. Having many many strong individuals dun make a team.

      When last few season,we dun have sufficent players, people start say ” need buy more quality”.. now we have both qualtity and quality, some bugger like u will start to comment, “oh, too young, too cheap, too light weight.. ” DUH..

    • desigunner says:

      These are my exact words,

      “In conclusion, City have the most depth but Arsenal and United have the best equipped squads. Chelsea have a smaller but relatively stronger and well proven group.”

      Beyond that I don’t want to waste time on a Chelsea fan who is making a fool of himself.

    • wilbrod says:

      u expect an Arsenal fan 2 be writing up things 4 Chelski n Money Shiteys? Y wud a Gunner do yo work 4 u? Certainly he did it 4 us so we can know where and how well we Gooners stand! If u wanna know wat bias is try reading articles 4m the ‘greater media’ houses and listen 2 all sorts of sports commentaries and soccer pundits predictions….then u wil know that everyone is biased against Arsenal. Here Desi just presented and discussed facts, and truly yo Chelsea is much weaker than last season’s save 4 the return of Essien yle Manure has creaky pillars all over its team. Just swallow it u – urgghh (i vomited on yo name!)

  13. santori says:

    Good break down Desi.

    Only thing I’d bear in mind is we have our fair share of perennially walking injured too!:D

    Still its been an encouraging start to the season with some of the younger players (Walcott and Diaby thus far in particular) stepping up a notch.

  14. […] Squads Announced: Who has the most strength in depth? As per the new regulations all the clubs have now announced their 25 player squads along with a long list of U-21 […] […]

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