Why Squad Depth is an issue that needs to be addressed

After now falling 13 points behind United and 9 points behind United (although we have a game in hand) we as a club must think, why have United and City been far superior in the league over the past few years. Other than the fact there is no real stability at Chelsea I personally believe that Squad Depth is something that sets the Manchester clubs apart from the rest. When you compare our best starting 11 to United and City’s starting 11 they are both world class but when you look at the benches of these 3 teams United and City have far better players than us. Here is a breakdown of how the Chelsea compares to Manchester in the 3 key areas of the pitch; Defence, Midfield and Attack.


In the defence is the only place where we are on par or if not better than with United and City. Presuming that our starting centrebacks Backs are Terry and Luiz we also have Cahill who is an extremely underrated centreback back and Ivanovic who can play at either Right back or centreback back. At Left-Back we have arguably the worlds best in his position, Ashley Cole. His understudy at Left Back is Ryan Bertrand who has the ability to step in and get the job done but not on a full time basis. At Right back we have arguably the bargain of the season. Cesar Azpilicueta has been a revelation at Right Back, managing to make the position his own. As mentioned before Ivanovic can also step into this position as a back up.


In the Central Midfield position is where we have lacked quality depth badly. Our usual pairing in the double Pivot has been Ramires and Mikel. On the Bench we have Lampard who is the only real world class replacement for these two. Oriol Romeu still needs time to mature top reach his potential but this may take a lot longer than most expected after his long injury lay off. Oscar and David Luiz have also been Used as alternatives in this position. Personally I believe David Luiz far better when he is playing as a centreback back. When he plays CM his positioning is awful which leaves our vulnerable to fast paced attacks. Oscar has shown great potential at CM and I believe that he should be trained as a CM because he has unlimited potential in this position. But until we start doing this he will not be a decent alternative in this position. Michael Essien’s career performing at the top level seems to be coming to and end. Josh McEachran who is currently on loan at Middlesborough is being trained to be a defensive minded player, but it will still be a few more years before Josh breaks into the First Team. United and City has astounding depth in this position. United have Fletcher, Cleverley, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs and Anderson while City have Barry, Milner, Toure, Rodwell and Garcia. While come of those players may not be considered as world class they all have the ability and knowledge to get the job done in the CM position.

In The Attacking Midfield/Winger positions is where I believe we lack Quality Depth the most. While many will say we have way too many attacking players but how many of then can we count as world class. In the 3 attacking players behind the main striker our best options are Hazard, Mata and Oscar. Then on the bench we have Moses who has been a grea contributor to the team this year but other than him who else can we rely on. MArko MArin ahs been a big disappointment and Lucas Pizon is not yet ready for the Premier League on a regular Basis. Our other loanee Kevin De Bruyne is our only other top class option in the s behind the main striker. The Manchester clubs have a wide range of top class options in these positions. At United they have Valencia, Nani, Young, Kagawa and if needed they have Rooney and Welbeck to fill the void. At Man City they Have Silva, Nasri, Sinclair and also have Toure, Tevez and Aguero as other options if needed.


WE all know about our lack of Depth up front. We currently have 2 strikers, Torres and Ba. These two alone can not be expected to carry the team all season. WE have nobody else currently at the club who can support them. We have Romelu Lukaku who has been in great form but is on Loan currently and I expect him to go out on loan once again next season, The two Manchester clubs have 4 World Class strikers to chose from each week, A very nice selection headache for Sir Alex and Mancini to have. United have Rooney, Welbeck Hernandez and Robin Van Persie. At City they have Tevez, Aguero, Dzeko and Balotelli.

How to fix the Situation

It’s simple, after getting a manger that WON’T be sacked half way through the season we need to buy a Central Midfielder, a Central Attacking Midfielder and at least 1 striker, preferably two. These players would all have to be world class as well . If we do this then I would give us a chance at beating the Manchester clubs and winning the Premier League but at the moment our squad just isn’t up to par and over the long and tough EPL season the benefits of having a team with quality are shown.

  1. brynknight says

    Not a very well thought out article. The reasons why we seem to be struggling for depth is threefold. And none of the mean that we have to panic-buy.

    Firstly, we have loaned out too many players. Courtois, Bruma, van Aanholt, Kalas, McEachran, Chalobah, De Bruyne, Piazon, Essien, Kakuta and Lukaku are all good enough for first-team football. That’s 1 keeper, 3 defenders, 4 midfielders, 2 wingers and a striker. And all of them are still very young , maturing and improving (except Essien). Additionally Mikel and Moses are at AFCON, Romeu is injured and Malouda has been banished. The problem is not that we haven’t got enough players, but that they aren’t all available to us at the moment.

    Secondly, Di Matteo. Throughout the majority of the autumn, he hardly ever rotated the squad. Our team was Cech, Ivanovic, Terry/Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Mikel, Ramires, Mata, Oscar, Hazard, Torres. Di Matteo stuck to that team and formation almost religiously, meaning that those players are anything but fresh, which has come back to bite us in recent weeks. Benitez has been much more astute in his team selection, rotating the squad intelligently depending on the opponent. His only real mistake has been the continued selection of Torres up front.

    Thirdly, fixture congestion. Chelsea haven’t had a midweek without a match all season, I believe. That workload will take its toll on any team. And we won’t have a break of any description until the midweek before the League Cup final. I’m not 100% sure of the facts, but we have certainly had to play many more games than anyone else, with the combination of the Champions League, Super Cup, Club World Cup, FA Cup and League Cup. And with the FA Cup and Europa League to come, it won’t be easing up any time soon.

    Yes, we don’t have the strength in depth of the Manchesters, and yes we could do with another striker, but no, the situation is not desperate. Neymar is all we need. And he can wait until the summer

    1. Smell says

      Thank you, article was absolute rubbish and badly written too. This was much better.
      Torres isn’t a mistake, Ibrahimovic wants him to play and I don’t believe it’s an option for the managers if he plays or not.
      Neymar? Really? Bit too flashy for me, but certainly not for Chelsea. So you might be right about us getting him but needing him I’m not so sure

  2. Zane says

    The defense is fine as it is. The midfield needs a regista. That’s the only type of player lacking in that position next to the defensive partner. Fans say we need Fellaini but why? I don’t get it. The attacking midfielders are fine for me. With Moses back in a few weeks so expect Oscar to go back to the bench unless he plays Mata out of the starting eleven.which is highly unlikely. I don’t think we need more strikers for this set up where there are three attacking midfielders behind a lone striker. I think Torres might leave in the summer and Chelsea will get their man Falcao. Moses is there as an option when one of the strikers get injured or suspended. Remember,United and City don’t play the same system as Chelsea. They play the 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1 systems so you’d expect them to have four strikers to rotate. One of our strikers play about 60-70 minutes in a game and then the sub for 30-20 minutes. The latter will then be fresher to start the next game. The cycle is actually perfect and that keeps the strikers happy and fit because they play regulary,yet they rest aswell. Having three or four world class strikers at Chelsea will be an unhealthy situation because some won’t get the needed game time to stay in form or happy. Please edit articles before posting. There’s alot of errors.

  3. Vaibhav Kumble says

    When had we ever had 4 world class strikers… we always had a main striker and 2 back-ups. I dont think Lukaku will be loaned out again. And I dont think Torres will leave. So to make up the four strikers all we need is one more (which I think will be a waste of money). All we need is Isco. De bruyne will come back and hopefully Essien will be fit enuf. My opinion is we only need Isco.

  4. Azizi says

    what you mean by “world class”? just wondering in any aspect that explain about world class player

  5. Pejuseyi says

    I think I’ll go with the opinions of Zane and Brynknight. There’s absolutely no need for panick buying we just need our absentee players to come back and a couple of players to up their game.

  6. Dil says

    I like your article, Jon but I have to slightly disagree with some of your point of views. I agree, our defenders don’t need any fixing, although I’d like to see Bruma and/or Kalas come back in 2014.

    Assessing our central/defensive midfield positions, we need slight reinforcements. We have Mikel, Romeu, Ramires, Lampard, McEachran and occosionally Oscar and Luiz. I have been impressed with Romeu’s run of games in 2011-2012 but made a few errors this season before his long term injury. Time will tell if he’d be the one for us or if we have to cut ties with him sooner or later. Ramires is a unique CM in my opinion in that he runs with the ball to provide it to the attacking midfielders and strikers. Lampard, I would like to see for another season but I am not sure if that is going to materialize. Mikel doesn’t offer the best out of a CDM position, but I would like to keep in the squad as reliable sub. McEachran needs another season on loan to improve his defensive/attacking/deep-lying playmaking qualties. Luiz is good I feel as though he needs to focus more on his defensive position and only step in when there is a crisis. Oscar, could be another option in this position if he can focus on his long ball distribution and defensive duties.

    If we are going to for a midfielder then we should go for an intimidating figure than can really protect the back four and drive the ball up to our playmakers, Fellani or Diame would do but that would be mean we’d have to let go of Mikel or Romeu, or we can wait for our very own Chalobah, but that would be at least another year or so.

    We have an abudance of attacking midfielders and wingers (Mata, Hazard, Oscar, Moses, Marin, De Bryune and Piazon) but if Oscar is going to be converted to a deep lying playmaker it would be wise to bring back De Bryune.

    Finally as for our strikers, we NEED to let go of Torres, he is frustrating the entire team, one or two good games every now and then and people say “he’s back” lol. The dream is over he’s been here for about two years and we have only seen a few seconds of brilliance from him. Ba is a good start, I agree that Lukaku needs to go out on loan for another half a season or full season. The problem with the January window is the prices are usually inflated and the strikers are cup tied, and we can’t have two strikers being cup tied in the Europa League. So that being said, we might have to stick with Torres until the end of the season unless we can bring in someone who is not cup-tied (Cavani, anyone?)

  7. Dougl Assamuel says

    Keep up the good work. You inspire me a lot!

  8. Aliza says

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