The recent squad of 19 (plus Under-21s) submitted by Chelsea to the Premier League as mandated by the new home grown mandate was discussed in detail yesterday. Consensus so far has been that, while the squad is incredibly strong, it is grossly thin. Well, maybe not grossly thin but thin nonetheless.
Among the 19 are two reserve goalkeepers who have yet to prove they are anything other than **** this season and a pair of new additions, one of which is also new to the league. This would suggest that even a moderate level of injury could prove catastrophic. Then there is form; no player in this team is immune to it, not even The Mighty One.
Youth to be served? Perhaps. But of our Under-21 players, only Daniel Sturridge has marginal league experience - seven Premier League starts, two league appearances last sesaon for Chelsea. I want these kids to succeed as much as everyone else, but I doubt their impact will be immediate.
That brings me to Carlo Ancelotti. Our fearless leader. A man who's been saying all the right things this summer? He's happy with the squad, he says. We don't need further additions, he says. The youth players are ready, he says. Did he say that? I'm not so sure. This is, after all, a man well-versed in lacking authority (Milan, anyone?).
So, my question is, does anyone believe Carlo's actually happy with the shape of his current squad? I can't for the life of me see how he could be, but then again I'm no mastermind in the world of football.
And, no, I'm not complaining about our team. Lord knows coming from where we once were, this is champagne stuff. Nevertheless, it's a valid talking point considering what is expected of this side in the current era. The demand on a squad of this size, competing on four fronts, is going to be massive. I hope they can hold it together. Anyway, gets to voting.
Some information to consider before voting:
• Manchester United included 23 players in their squad. Not listed among the first team were Under-21s Rafael, Fabio and Chris Smalling, all of whom were been league contributors this past season.
• Arsenal registered just 20 players. There first team, however, does not include the likes of Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshire, who qualify as U21s.
• Wigan are joint lowest with Chelsea, but have Victor Moses, James McCarthy and Franco Di Santo among their U21s. All three have marginal Premier League experience.
• The CFC has registered 16 outfield players. On average over the past seven seasons, just over 16 players have made at least 10 league appearances for the club.
• In 2004, Chelsea opened the season with a squad of 24, not including youth products.