All EPL clubs have big squads – the trick has been in the past to have a mix of first team regulars, those who can step up, and those who know they will hardly get a game but expect to be there in a year or so.
The problem at Arsenal is that M. Wenger has been so successful in bringing incredibly brilliant players forward that by next season there will be too many players competing for places.
One step was taken seven years ago when the manager began to use the Little Cup to play lesser players. The next step has been to use the FA Cup in the same way. This season we have seen some lesser European matches used like this.
But from next year this will not be enough with the club having 6 or 7 strikers in the first team squad.
Judging by the manager’s comments a new opportunity is needed – for he has often bemoaned the fact that the reserve league is too easy for players of the skill seen at Arsenal once they reach 18 or 19.
In Spain that opportunity is present, as clubs like Real Madrid play their squad players in the 2nd division of the league – with the rule that if they win the league they cannot be promoted.
However the FA has turned this option down – even though it would add greatly to the crowds in the Championship. Which raises the interesting idea of Arsenal gathering all their on loan and some of their squad players to play for a lower league club in Spain.
The move to extend the number of players on the bench next season can be seen as a small way to try and head off such an idea – and it is more than likely that more such deflective ideas will appear in the coming weeks.
It is a great shame for an Arsenal team playing in the Championship would give many more people in England (including many supporters who can’t get a ticket to the Emirates) a chance to see Arsenal. A much better solution than playing one match a year in China.
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