I have never been one for accepting Wenger’s use of injuries as an excuse for the lack of silverware. There was a time where United had players like Tevez and/or Berbatov on the bench. Chelsea in the days of Maureen used to have two quality players in each position. Back then our squad players were nothing more than promising youngsters lacking in both physical development and experience. Last season when Van Persie was injured we lacked adequate cover and ended up playing Arshavin as a target man, defensive injuries meant that Silvestre had to start games which didn’t fill anyone with confidence.
This season is different, we have more than the two players for every position that Maureen used to go on about. With Van Persie out injured we had Chamakh ready to come in and now Bendtner looking to push both of them for a place. Out wide we have Arshavin, Rosicky, Nasri and Walcott all top quality with Vela, JET and a few others waiting in the wings. In midfield we have Wilshere, Song and Fabregas with Diaby, Denilson and Nasri also more than capable of challenging for a starting place. Wilshere really has been like a new signing. We have Eboue and Gibbs pushing Sagna and Clichy for a place at full back. For the first time in years we also have four CBs none of which fill me with the fear that Cygan, Silvestre and others used to.
Looking at the teams around us, United’s lack of cover for Rooney has already cost them points. Hernandez might be a good prospect but he is no replacement for Tevez. Owen has had his own injury problems and hasn’t been fit enough to put a run of games together since signing for them. Their squad players aren’t what they used to be and Nani is no replacement for Ronaldo. With Giggs, Scholes and co reaching the end of their careers they can’t play every game and any injuries to key players mean that United struggle.
The two man Liverpool squad (Gerrard and Torres) needs no explanation of its lack of depth. Their first team is full of average players. They started the season without Torres and now look set to lose Gerrard for a good few weeks. Having lost their place in the top four to our North London rivals, it seems highly unlikely that they will regain it this season. Spurs were lucky with injuries last season but they still don’t have the depth capable of mounting a serious challenge for the title. Citeh might have some quality players but still don’t have the ‘two players in ever position’ required to win the title. Next season that might be different!
Last weekend we saw how injuries to two centre backs cost Chelsea three points. With Terry and Alex both likely to miss a few weeks I really expect them to struggle. There are better teams than Sunderland out there waiting to capitalise on Chelsea’s injury crisis and they always struggle when Terry doesn’t play. Away games at Birmingham and Newcastle are never easy and they then face the only two clubs to break the top four stronghold in the last six years (Everton and Spurs). I can see them dropping points in at least a couple of those games.
So I see this season’s Premiership crown going to the team that has the best luck with injuries. Of all the challengers we have the best cover and the biggest squad – something I haven’t truly believed since the invincible squad. I am surprised at the lack of depth in United and Chelsea’s squads but delighted at the cover we have in every position. I always say you make your own luck and our squad depth means that even with our record for injuries we could still push for the Premiership title – which I believe will be decided by injuries!
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