Chelsea dumped Arsenal out of the Capital One Cup last night, beating the Gunners 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
Both teams made changes to their starting line-ups as expected, but both still put out relatively competitive teams.
The difference was that Chelsea were able to call on a string of international players and Arsenal were left with under performers.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger brought in the likes of Ryo Miyaichi and Nicklas Bendtner, in contrast to the Blues bringing in Samuel Eto’o and Juan Mata.
The Chelsea replacements say it all about the two side’s squads. Chelsea now have a squad of players capable of coming in and doing a job in every competition. In the Premier League the likes of Mata and David Luiz seem to be struggling to get in the team.
However, they are not bad players to have in reserve for games like last nights. Also the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Willian came into a Chelsea team that never really looked like losing last night’s match.
The fact that Arsenal’s squad is a bit light on the ground in most positions except midfield is a well-known fact. Gunners fans were calling for an influx of new players in the summer, but in the end Arsene Wenger’s men end-up with just two players.
Granted those two players Mesut Ozil and Mathieu Flamini have had a big influence on the teams performances this season, but that does not change the fact that the Gunners are light in certain other areas.
Chelsea stalwart Ray Wilkins last night claimed that the difference between the two teams was ‘embarrassing’. I certainly would not go that far, but it does seem like there is a vast differences in the two teams squads.
With both teams currently looking like Premier League title contenders, the difference between success and failure at the end of the season could be squad rotation. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has the luxury of expensive players in reserve, whereas Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger does not.
Everybody knows where Arsenal need to strength and that is up front. Arsene Wenger tried in vain to rectify his striker’s crisis in the summer and failed with bids for a number of high-profile players, including Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez.
The veteran French boss was left with just Oliver Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner as his senior striking options and youngsters Yaya Sanogo and Chuba Akpom as backup. Bendtner was out of favour and nearly left the Gunners in the summer.
With Bendtner out of favour, that left Giroud as the only in-favour senior striker left at the club. The Frenchman has made a very bright start to the season, but the former- Montpellier striker cannot be expected to be able to play every game in every competition.
Wenger decided to rest Giroud last night and give Bendtner his chance as the lone frontman. The Danish striker looked well off the pace of the game and was eventually replaced in the second half by Giroud.
No doubt Arsene Wenger will look at adding to his firepower in the January transfer window, as he needs an alternative attacking option to Giroud. However, for now Arsenal continue to win games and score goals in the Premier League.
If Arsenal are going to maintain their challenge for the Premier League title and Champions League then the Gunners need to strengthen their squad. That means Arsene Wenger dipping into the transfer market in January.
The Gunners seem to be overstocked in the attacking midfield area, but at least that gives Wenger options. The Arsenal boss may look at finding backup for defensive midfielder Flamini though, as the Frenchman is likely to pick up knocks and injuries because of the position he plays and his combative style of play.
When everybody is fit and healthy Arsenal are a match for anybody in Europe. The Gunners are certainly contenders for the Premier League title. However, their lack of strength in-depth could cost the north London team come the end of the season.
Does Arsenal have enough strength in-depth to threat on all fronts?
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