By Tony Attwood
Arsenal’s big problem is a lack of players – allegedly. We are going to face total burnout soon because we have such a small squad, we are told. Typical among these reports is Arsenal have growing problem they may need to fix in January to maintain Man City fight from Jack McEachen in the Express
In fact the story has been around for a while and we’ve already responded before as with Don’t be fooled: Arsenal don’t have a small squad
And yet not only is the story palpably untrue, and not only is it being presented without any figures to back it up, which is always suspicious, it is a story that is run over and over again across the years.
Now the first thing to note is that the variation in the number of players used by Premier League teams is not that great – it ranges from 20 to 27. So the clubs using the most players have used just 35% more players than the clubs using the lowest number of players. (Information comes from Transfermarkt.)
This table below is in the order of players used and highlighted the six clubs with the most used players. There is no exact link between position in the league and the number of players used but there is a tendency for clubs near the top of the league to use the lowest numbers of players. Which is exactly the reverse of the dire warnings in the media that Arsenal are in trouble through having a small squad.
|Club||Used new signings||Total Players used||League Position||players used position|
|West Ham United||7||22||10||11|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||3||20||9||20|
The smallest number of players used is 20, and if we look at the clubs using 20 or 21 players there are seven of these including Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham H. The top three clubs in the league are all near the very foot of the “number of players used” table.
But what makes this really quite amusing is that the myth that Arsenal has a uniquely small squad is one that appears over and over again across the years. In fact it is such a repetitive story that sometimes even some of the media that normally knock Arsenal get so fed up with the gibberish they actually knock the rest of the media for running it yet again.
As for example when TalkSport ran the headline on its website
This was run on 4 December 2013 when the table coincidentally looked like this
So there we were nine years ago and top of the league and the media was running the same story as now, and then as now the story was a complete load of gibberish.
TalkSport is not normally a station or website that we agree with, but credit where it is due. This is what Talk Sport wrote on that occasion…
“One of the myths of this season has revolved around a notion that Wenger has rotated his squad very little, showing an over-reliance on certain members of his playing staff, in particular in attacking areas.
“While that is true to some degree – namely in the case of Olivier Giroud, who has featured in 20 fixtures in all competitions for Arsenal to date this season – a comparison to Chelsea, Man City and Man United does offer interesting reading.
“So far this season, 24 different players have featured under Arsene Wenger in the Premier League. This figure is equalled by Man United, but is in fact the fourth highest number of players used in the top flight – only Fulham and Sunderland (26) and West Brom (25) have fielded more players. Hardly indicative of an overreliance on a small group of players.”
So what we are finding is not just that the media makes up any old stories to suit its agenda (such as Arsenal have a very small squad and so are in trouble) they also go back to see how they were knocking Arsenal last time they were in this position and RUN THE WHOLE STORY ALL OVER AGAIN…
Even though it was as untrue last time as it is this time.
Really, these journalists. They are such scallywags.
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