I can understand why Arsenal face up to criticism from supporters after another profitable transfer window. Arsenal, it seems, got weaker over the summer. The club, after all, lost its star player and one of the best assists provider in the team.
There are calls that Arsenal need more depth.
However, I would like to refer my readers now to CIES Football Observatory’s study.
According to CIES’s Study the fewer players used, the better the results. In the 2011/12 season no big-5 league champion has fielded more than 25 footballers over the course of the season, while less successful teams fielded 30+ and even 35+ players over the course of the season. According to CIES all title winners figure among the five clubs having utilised the least players in their respective league.
The best performing clubs rely more than any other team on a core group of players who make up the main stay of the starting eleven. From a performance perspective, the analysis suggests that the best strategy is to have at least eight stable players in the initial line-up.
The average percentage of minutes played by the four most used defensive footballers was always higher than 78% in title winner clubs, up to 89.8% for Montpellier (4th greatest value at big-5 league level, +28% compared to Paris St-Germain) and 90.6% for Juventus (2nd, +19% compared to Milan).
A small group of players, I guess, adds to the cohesiveness and togetherness of the squad. I can also guess that in a small squad, players feel more responsibility and when there’s no one huge superstar – like in Montpellier’s, Dortmund’s and Juventus’ case – the players know they can’t trust on someone to “save” them.
Arsenal have 25 players (including 3 goalkeepers) who will have meaningful playing time.
In short, Arsenal can’t compete financially with teams that spend £20m+ on a squad player like Manchester City or Chelsea. However, Arsenal can – with a small, cohesive squad -emulate Juventus, Montpellier and Dortmund. And perhaps that’s what Arsene Wenger wants.
Is that such a bad squad? via
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