Now this is where I traditionally go very wrong, so when you spot my errors please can you correct my workings gently, recognising that I am now a year older than I was last season, when I was pretty old anyway.
We actually have a squad of 29 players. But four of these are now out on loan, making us a squad of 25.
But we must then remember that five of the remaining players are under 21 and so not included in calculations of the 25 man squad, which gives us a squad in terms of Uefa rules and PL “home grown” rules, of just 20. Meaning that if the manager wanted to go out and buy some more men in January, nothing is stopping him, unless of course Arsenal Supporters’ Trust come up with another “We only have 50p to spend” campaign, and the club gets so bored with it all, they give in and say, ok, “it’s only 50p, we’ll give it to you if only you can shut up and go away.”
Our five under age players who are not on loan are, I think, serious contenders for places in the team. And indeed the encouragement to them is that as we do only have a squad of 20 players aged over 21, they should have every opportunity to get games.
Indeed the way the manager played Guendouzi last season suggests that he has no trouble playing younger members of the team when he sees real talent – as all these youngsters seem to have.
Here’s the chart – I have not designated any of the under 21s as HG or otherwise as it does not influence whether they can play or not.
|2||William Saliba||18||On loan at Saint-Étienne|
|4||Emile Smith Rowe||19|
|7||Eddie Nketiah||20||On loan at Leeds United|
|11||Dani Ceballos||23||On loan from Real Madrid||4|
|21||Mohamed Elneny||27||On loan at Beşiktaş|
|25||Henrikh Mkhitaryan||30||On loan at Roma|
As an age range this is not at all bad in my opinion. As for the spread of positions, we do only have three keepers in the squad, and so I suspect a fourth could be added from the under 23 squad if any of the three got injured.
However a rash of injuries of the type that Arsenal can collect if the referees choose to allow a free for all in matches, could stretch the squad a little. But at least the manager won’t have to worry about the nationality of who he goes out to buy in January.
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