Squad Erat Demonstrandum

As football fans may know, the EPL has introduce squad rules this year. Each club gets to register 25 member teams/squads for the EPL. The 25 must have 8 home grown players, but “home grown” is defined as having spent 3 years before the age of 21 at the club. So Fabregas counts as homegrown, for Arsenal.

Squad Numbers

A quick look at the registered squad numbers under the new rules, by the “top 6”

Arsenal – 20

Chelsea – 19

Liverpool – 21

Man United – 24

Man City – 25

Spurs – 25

The first 3 look a bit light, but this is not the whole story.

U-21s

Looking at the under 21s gives you another layer of detail. Arsenal’s U-21s include Walcott, Wilshere, Ramsey, Gibbs, Traore and Vela. All regular first team players. Squad wise, Arsenal are well set, but as we all know they have a surfeit of creative and attacking midfielders and are worryingly light on most other positions.

Chelsea’s team is a sign that of the belt tightening at Stamford Bridge this season. The 19 named are all of frightening quality but the U-21s are mostly unknowns with the exception of Kakuta and Bruma. Chelsea might struggle with injuries to key personnel and the Goalkeeping understudy is still a challenge for them from the last season.

Liverpool are struggling financially, and have had no recent history of bringing youngsters through. This is reflected in their U21s – with Ngog, Shelvey and Pacheco the only recognizable names and none of them really established, although Ngog has had his best start this season. Liverpool’s secret weapon will be Hodgson, of course.

Man United have 24 named but they include Hargreaves, Bebe, Anderson and Ferdinand and it’s unclear at present how much first team football these 4 will play (or Neville, for that matter). However, a strong suite of U21s, including Cleverley, Obertan, Wellbeck, the Da Silvas, Macheda and Smalling, all of whom have enough first team experience to manage a stint in the starting 11.

Man City, needless to say have 25 and counting, as Mario Balloteli is listed in the U21s. The rest of the youngsters are not names that would ring any bells, outside of the eastlands.

Spurs, similarly, have a full squad of 25 and are able to include Gareth Bale, Bostock, Dos Santos and Rose (remember his goal?) in the under 21s. I’d say that is a strong squad as well. The question is, is it strong enough to handle the Champs League and the EPL? Recent experience suggests there’s some learning to be done there.

Desipte all the worries, it’s only Man City and Spurs who’ve really had to choose. Jonathan Woodgate has been cited this morning as a player who missed the cut because of the arrival of Van Der Vaart at White Hart Lane. (on which note, look out for headlines like “White Vaart Lane” soon, if VDV has a good game, and any number of stink jokes).

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