Has Aretea really overlooked a key problem at Arsenal?

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal are in a “good place” – but he may have overlooked problems

“…more injuries could rock the boat and Granit Xhaka’s knee injury – expected to keep him out for the rest of the calendar year – is a warning for Arteta.”

That is the opening of a piece in the Mirror that basically suggests Arsenal’s squad is woefully short of manpower when compared with other teams.    The piece acknowledges that “One advantage is the lack of European football, which will allow Arsenal’s strongest XI to get plenty of rest in between games,” and that “Arteta recognises the importance of this and wants to keep every member of the squad involved, away from the sidelines,” but still says our big danger is that we have a very small squad.

Now it is generally easy to see when a newspaper is making stuff up, because of the total lack of supportive evidence and this article was stunningly short of supportive evidence. In fact its supporting evidence rating was zero.  Or less.

So I thought I would do a spot of checking – just in case you too are worried about the thinness of the squad.

Here is the first team squad...

No First names Surname Home grown?
1 Cedric Ricardo Alves Soares
2 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
3 Calum Chambers HGP
4 Gabriel Dos Santos Magalhães
5 Mohamed Naser Elsayed Elneny
6 Robert Samuel Holding HGP
7 Sead Kolasinac
8 Alexandre Lacazette
9 Bernd Leno
10 Ainsley Maitland-Niles HGP
11 Pablo Mari Villar
12 Edward Keddar Nketiah HGP
13 Martin Odegaard
14 Thomas Teye Partey
15 Nicolas Pepe
16 Aaron Ramsdale HGP
17 Albert-Mboyo Sambi Lokonga
18 Kieran Tierney
19 Takehiro Tomiyasu
20 Benjamin White HGP
21 Granit Xhaka

That is 21 players who are over 21 of whom six are homegrown.  That means we have space for four more players in the over 21 section of whom one would have to be homegrown.

So on the face of it maybe that does look a little thin, but wait a moment…  Our under-age player list includes…

No First names Surname Home grown?
22 Folarin Jerry Balogun HGP
23 Tyreece Romayo John-Jules HGP
24 Bukayo Saka HGP
25 William Saliba On loan
26 Matthew Gerrard Smith HGP
27 Thomas Andrew Salvatore Smith HGP
28 Emile Smith Rowe HGP
29 Kido Taylor-Hart HGP
30 Gabriel Martinelli HGP

That list has hidden within it two players who are most definitely part of the first team squad (obviously Saka and Smith Rowe).  So really our first team squad is not 21 but is 23.  And there is Martinelli, who could well recover his form and enter the fray once more.

So maybe our first team squad is actually not 21 but 24.  We could buy more, but if those under 21s are still with us next season we’d have to sell some players again, and the media would be full of Arsenal chaos stories – buying players, never playing them, selling them…  ARSENAL CHAOS!!!

Now given that we don’t have any European games we are not going to be able to play all these players – and certainly, last season a number of players were kept happier than they might otherwise have been with their European games.

As Arteta said to the Mirror, “We don’t have European games and for me the key is to keep the unity of the group together and players feeling valued at all times.”

Now let’s compare some numbers:

  • Arsenal: 21 players, 6 home grown.
  • Chelsea: 25 players, 10 home grown
  • Liverpool: 24 players 7 home grown
  • Manchester City: 19 players, 6 home grown
  • Manchester United: 25 players, 11 home grown.
  • Tottenham Hotspur: 22 players, 9 home home

So Arsenal’s 21 players is by no means the lowest of the traditional top six, the group selected by the Daily Mirror for comparison, but a comparison they forgot to make.  Plus we have two under 21s regularly playing in the first team, plus at least one more who quite reasonably could also step up.

But most importantly of all, we have no European games to keep further members of the squad happy, in the sense that they would get six games before Christmas, and with a spot of luck another six after Christmas.

So yes, we have a squad of 23 (including our two under 21 regulars) and could buy two more players.   But when would these two players get games?  And indeed would they be willing to come to Arsenal knowing that there is a 23 man squad, and no European football, and established players are already not getting games?

No, our biggest problem is not a small squad, the endless swiping at Arsenal, and its players by all elements of the media with the regular “get rid of him now” pieces online and the suggestion of inside knowledge leading to the notion that Arsenal are “preparing to sell”.  That’s the problem – and at its heart of course are the totally fake stories like this one from the Mirror.

4 Replies to “Has Aretea really overlooked a key problem at Arsenal?”

  1. Tony

    From what you say above it sounds like Arteta has contributed to this article as he seems to of been directly quoted. (apologies to him if not but it doesn’t change the basis of what I have to say)

    Why would he do that ?

    You’ve been highlighting the crap the Mirror and their other drainpipe, foot.lon have been spewing out for I would guess years now, yet he deems to talk to them.

    Unless Arteta walks around with his eyes shut, which due to a lack of a broken nose or black eyes, I very much doubt he does, he must know they are utter s**t stirrers when it comes to Arsenal.

    Why would he do that ? Why would he waste one breath talking to them ?

    Personally I take it as an insult. Just like when our players turn up on Talkshite.

    These people insult our owner, our club, our team, our players, our MANAGER, and as such THE FANS, on a daily, in some cases, hourly basis, yet they quite happily talk to them on the radio or in an article, an article mind that is yet again putting us, and Arteta himself down. I don’t get it.

    We spend hours, or at least Tony does, researching and then highlighting just how insidious and damaging this is to our club, then these guys just happily chat away to them as if they are their friends.

    Sorry but I find it insulting. They should just tell them to go **** themselves.

  2. What gets me is the fact that when he plays, Granit is remorselessly slagged off by the media but apparently now he’s out injured it’s a problem for us. I’m surprised they haven’t simply claimed that we should reap massive benefits from him not being able to play. But that might imply something positive.

    It doesn’t matter whether he plays or not as far as the media are concerned. They can always find a negative angle irrespective.

  3. For years with Arsenal Olivier Giroud was shite to the media. He scored 20+ goals, led the EPL in headed goals unbeknownst to the experts.
    He goes to Chelsea and he’s a great old time centre forward and a stalwart for France.

    As Mikey says above, “they can always find a negative angle irrespective.

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