Had a look at the squads on Arsenal.com and it seems we played players who are probably 4th or 5th team level.
This is what I have:
1st Team Squad who Started Match (Total 9)
- Oxlade-Chamberlain (injured during game)
Academy Players who Started Match (2)
1st Team Squad on Bench (3)
- Walcott (came on, then injured)
Academy Players on Bench (4)
- Bennacer (came on)
- Bielik (came on)
1st Team SquadPlayers Rested (6)
1st Team Squad Players Injured (6)
1st Team Squad Players on Loan (7)
Academy Players on Loan (5)
Academy Players Unavailable (2)
I make the total number of 1st team squad players, including those on loan and injured, plus academy players on loan/unavailable, to equal 38. It is unclear (to me) who in the Academy is injured, if any.
It is not a perfect assumption, but I think that the Academy players who started are behind those 38 in the pecking order. So Kamara, Iwobi, Bennacer, Bielik, Macey and Sheaf would normally be on the cusp of the 4th and 5th XIs! I felt particularly sorry for poor Bennacer – just 17 – who achieved the extremely rare feat of playing for the Arsenal 1st team while being someone of whom I had never previously heard! I can not remember the last time that happened.
There has been some criticism that the 1st team squad isn’t big enough. I disagree. Everyone in the 1st team squad needs to have some realistic prospect of game time otherwise their development will stall and they will become frustrated. The 1st team squad players on loan include plenty of quality – but it is unrealistic to expect them to come back but hardly ever play. The 1st team squad at the club is 24 which I think is fairly optimal.
The problem, once again, is injuries.
More specifically, just as we struggled greatly at left back one season several years ago, so this time we are struggling badly in midfield. And perhaps the worst affected position of all is wide-right midfield.
It looks as if Campbell is in line to play in the next round of matches (and it is good in some ways that he will get his chance) – but I suggest it is plausible that Ramsey, Ox, Walcott, Wilshere, Rosicky would all have started ahead of him had they been available.
Another option would be to play Flamini alongside Coquelin and push Cazorla out there – but I suspect we will see Campbell on Saturday.
Given that Gnabry isn’t getting much gametime at West Brom, is it worth recalling him?
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