Arsenal Defeat Against Sheffield Wednesday Highlights Poor Squad Depth


Arsenal lost 3-0 to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night, putting an end to our League Cup campaign. Many of our first-team players did not make the trip to Yorkshire, meaning that the Arsenal starting XI was a mixture of bench players and youth prospects.

The League Cup has never been a priority for Arsene Wenger, and indeed the majority of fans will most likely see it as a competition that they are content with being knocked out from. The focus this season should primarily be on the Premier League campaign, and possibly another good run in the FA Cup.

Despite the lesser stature of the League Cup, this defeat highlighted a worrying lack of depth to the Arsenal squad, in both quality and quantity.

More from Arsenal News

Before I start, let me state that I feel that Arsenal’s first-choice starting XI is of very high quality, if indeed one of the Premier League’s best. A league win, however, as well as competing on multiple fronts requires good squad depth.

The back four of Debuchy, Chambers, Mertesacker and Gibbs is nowhere near our first choice. Collectively, therefore, there was bound to be some rustiness to their performance. Despite this, these four are by no means strangers, and it is not the first time that they have played together as a back four. Not only this but they are all experienced players.

Yet, watching the game, you would think that they had only met each other 30 minutes before kick-off and had barely played any professional football. The defensive aspect of Arsenal’s game was terrible. Collectively it was bad, but individually these four players were far from making a case for their inclusion into the first-team.

What is worrying is the possibility for someone like Debuchy having to fill in the right back void should first-choice Bellerin pick up an injury. The back up players in defence are simply not good enough.

The same can be said for midfield and attack. Our midfield options beyond the first-choice of Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla is alarmingly thin. Should one of those two get injured or pick up a lengthy ban then our hopes turn to the likes of Arteta or Flamini.

Arsenal FC
Arsenal FC /

Arsenal FC

Arteta is not good enough at this level any more. Flamini (based on this last two games prior to Tuesday night) is more determined to make it as a striker than stick to his job of shielding the defence. With Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey being unreliable either due to injury or form, our midfield depth is almost non-existent.

Joel Campbell has made a few appearances for Arsenal, but has failed to show any reason as to why he is deserving of a starting position. With the injuries to Ox and Walcott, however, it may be that we have to rely on Campbell in some very important games.

Who can replace Sanchez on the left wing if he gets injured or loses form due to being burned out? There is no one. Arsene Wenger himself stated last night that the youth players are “not ready to play at this level… none of them”. A rarely seen and damning judgement by Wenger on his young Arsenal players.

The extent of Chamberlain and Walcott’s injuries are still fairly vague, but if they add to our already extensive injury list then the game against Sheffield Wednesday, while by no means a catastrophe, highlights the criminally thin state of our squad.

Is such a thin squad capable of competing either for numerous trophies or indeed just in the strenuous Premier League? Only time will tell, but as things stand the quantity and quality of our squad is looking rather sparse.

Next: Is Dan Crowley Good Enough?

More from Pain in the Arsenal