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15 outfield players ..


Davey Baby

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We are picking 4 defenders from 5 ..

3 midfielders from 5 ..

2 wide men from 3 ..

and 1 striker from 2.

Here are the 15 ..

Ivanovic, Boswinga, Terry, Luiz, Cole, Mikel, Romeu, Lampard, Ramires, Mereiles, Malouda, Mata, Sturridge, Drogba, Torres.

Here are our other 8 outfield players, all of whom can more or less be discounted for this season ..

Ferreira, Alex, Bertrand, Essien, Josh, Kalou, Lukaku, Anelka.

That leaves us very thin on the ground.

I hope the club have thought this through ..

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Anelka and Alex will presumably be replaced in January, if we're selling them now rather than in the summer, and Essien's supposed to be back in training sometime in the next month or so; it's hard to know at the moment how well he'll bounce back from the injury, but it's certainly early to be counting him out for the year.

Just for calibration purposes, Man U outfield players with at least three league starts so far (a rough attempt at getting the equivalent list for their squad):

Evans, Evra, Ferdinand, Jones, Smalling, Vidic, Anderson, Carrick, Cleverly, Fletcher, Giggs, Nani, Park, Young, Hernandez, Rooney, Welbeck.

That's 17. So if we get at least two core players out of Anelka-replacement, Alex-replacement, and Essien's return, we'll have the same size core squad as at least one of our major rivals. Otherwise, I agree we're a bit short.

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That's 17. So if we get at least two core players out of Anelka-replacement, Alex-replacement, and Essien's return, we'll have the same size core squad as at least one of our major rivals. Otherwise, I agree we're a bit short.

Doesn't tell the whole story though. Of our 15 (which seems an incredibly low number), 2 are running down their contracts (Drogba and Boswinga). This is significant because it occasionally affects a player's commitment, not wanting to get injured before he has the security of a new one. Also, Drogba is absent for up to six weeks this winter. Also, Terry may get banned, depending on police/FA inquiries.

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I know Alex and Anelka are essentially finished at this club, but are we definitely going to be selling them January 1? Somehow, if the signing clubs are cheap enough, I could see us using them for their last 6 months here, if need be.

But really, this has been the story the last couple of years. Especially last year where, without Mata, Sturridge, Torres, etc, we were relying on an old starting 11 and attacking 3 for our offense, and our backup plan off the bench was basically Solomon Kalou if we couldnt find any offense with our starters. I didnt think that was Carlo's fault, and I dont really see why the club are so comfortable with a squad that has been on the thinner side ever since 2007

But then again its pretty clear that AVB's Chelsea might look very different by the start of next season. Its just part of a process that probably shouldve started long before now.

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