How does the Arsenal squad compare with the way other clubs are set up?


By Tony Attwood

As is obvious to all, Arsenal are making progress – something that was absolutely not thought to be possible by the media at large when they made their predictions concerning the 2022/23 season, before the start of the campaign. 

Indeed the general thought was Arsenal would finish 5th or 6th – behind Tottenham H.  (Tottenham are currently 23 points behind Arsenal, but they do have a game in hand, so that’s ok).

But what is not so obvious, not least because the media never mention it, is how Arsenal’s progress compares with that of other teams – especially with Manchester City, who are relevant for being the recent dominant force, and also because Arteta was at Manchester City before coming to Arsenal.

So I thought it might be interesting to compare the two clubs in terms of the size and age of the starting XIs over the recent years.

Now, this is relevant because there is a delicate balance to be had here.   On the one hand, mature players have been there and done it, but they also slow down and take longer to recover from injury and so it is tough if a club is trying to rely on them.

But get a balanced and stable squad and the club may well manage to stay in the top four having once got there.  Indeed only twice in the last ten seasons has the league winner not finished in the top four the season before.

However, Arsenal may be able to buck this trend for next season because the club this season has a particularly young squad – the youngest in the league in fact.   Of course, having a young squad does not mean that the club is bound to win, but can sometimes be helpful.

As for the number of players used in a season, clubs that are not happy with where they have finished in the league tend to use more players because they are looking for a way to push forward.  Clubs that are doing well, tend to use fewer players, because of the old adage about not breaking up a winning side.

In fact, Arsenal have been consistently using more players than Manchester City, but have also been consistently reducing the number of players used.  At the same time Arteta inherited a young team and has been reducing the age of the team, keeping it quite a lot younger than Manchester City’s team

So how does this compare with the rest of the league?  Here are the figures for this season so far in the order of average age of each set of players used.  Figures come from TransferMarkt.  As we can see Arsenal have gone down their own path, choosing to have a younger starting XI throughout the season while having a small squad size and using a small number of players.

We can see here how Chelsea’s persistent difficulties this season are indeed reflected in the squad size and the number of players being used as they try to find a format that works.


Club Squad Players used Average age
24 29
22 25
25 27
29 26
30 27
23 26
24 22
25 25
32 26
27 28
28 31
35 33
25 28
27 30
32 32
24 25
25 25
24 28
23 26
30 31


Older teams can of course be more experienced, but also slightly more prone to injury, and more prone to losing form.

So clearly the manager has been rebuilding the whole image and approach of the team, making it ever younger, rather than as some teams do, buying in older players so the squad benefits from their experience.


7 Replies to “How does the Arsenal squad compare with the way other clubs are set up?”

  1. Sorry Tony, but as Andrew didn’t put up a pre match article on the Women’s home match against Man City today, I hope you don’t mind me posting my congratulations to the Women’s team on a wonderful 2-1 victory today on here.

    Despite the key players out through long term injury.

    Despite the players out following their hard fought win in the CL in the week.

    Despite losing yet another player to injury early in this match.

    Despite going down to an early goal.

    Despite the fact Man City are THE form team.

    Despite, yep you’ve guessed it, the referee.

    Our Ladies came back to win with an absolutely wonderful rocket from McCabe.

    Stunning performance of character, passion and skill.

    Well done Ladies

  2. I found it strange that the BBC commentary team kept referring to Kirsty McCabe. Usually, they just mis-pronounce the players’ names. This time they outdid themselves.

  3. Chelsea owners’ idea of long-term backing for the manager is interesting – 7 months. Their short-term fix model could be interesting.

    Contrast that with the eight-and-a-half year contract of Mudryk.

    This won’t help their FFP struggles.

  4. Who would have thought that MA ‘s name would not have been on that list of 12 managers sacked ? So far.
    That Chelsea would have had two managers sacked , after all that nett record spend , is a surprise . Not really ! They were renown to shoot themselves in the foot . And shoot it again , just to make sure , is their norm ! And no Ruskie to blame this time !

    And as we start our 9 cup finals , here is to this young Arsenal team – thank you for this season of so much joy , hope and happiness . Well done guys . Now just go on and etch your names in the history books . You deserve this .

    Up the Gunners !

  5. @seismic,

    I believe that at Chelsea they don’t give a rat’s ass about FFP. After all why should they considering recent history.
    FYI, PSG have lost 369 million euros 2021-2022….considering that, if UEFA wants to go after Chelsea, they have to go after PSG and the second will not happen.

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