I was watching the girls pre-season game at Glasgow City yesterday and I did wonder how big the squad really is. Put it this way, there was 13 first team players with 6 of the reserves girls to top up the squad. 12 of those players were used, the only one not used being Yvonne Tracy, who nearly never gets on the pitch those days in competitive games. We know that Faye White and Rachel Yankey are on the way back from injuries and one of them is desperately needed to boost the squad.
History does remind us that the most succesful season ever for Arsenal 06/07 was built on the back of 14 players only who played more than 83% of the games. They were Byrne in goal Scott, Grant Asante, Phillip and Larkin in defense, Chapman Ludlow Smith in midfield Carney, Davison, Fleeting, Sanderson Yankey up front.
So in theory with a small squad it should be possible to win every competitions entered. But, to win the Champions League would need a bigger squad than 16 players really. In a year where the road to the final is wide open, it would be a real shame to see the girls miss on the biggest club trophy due to injuries or suspensions.
There is always the alternative solution ie the internal one if no one is signed before the end of the transfer window and indeed some girls from the reserves team have shown some potential for example Hayley, Angharad, Kirsty, Bianca or Tricia but they need a gradual introduction to the first team and a game like yesterday was a perfect opportunity to give them playing time in a friendly but very competitive game as it happened in the Japan tour. At the end of the day, if the young girls have to be thrown at the deep end in the final stage of the Champions League or the WSL without a proper introduction to the first team, it will be difficult for them. But from what I have seen, there is little trust shown to put them in any serious game.
So what position should Arsenal look at ?
In defense one center back and one left back. Up front one winger and one center forward. With 4 extra players,the squad would have quality in abundance and a very strong bench as well. Or promote the youngsters and give them a proper chance..
March update : Obviously the youngster option is not trusted as after letting Meaghan Sargeant go to Lincoln, Angharad James and Melissa Lawley are now Bristol bound and may be followed by other girls very quickly. With 4 games in 10 days v Lincoln, Goteborg, Liverpool and Goteborg again plus a potential FA Cup quarter final tie 14 players only won’t do with suspension/injuries/tiredness or those girls are simply exceptional because a dozen of them have just come back from the Algarve/Cyprus Cup.
If no one is signed quickly, it might become a difficult season even before the league has started.
edit number 2, since that post Arsenal has signed Alex Scott and Kelly Smith with a strong rumour saying another WPS player will join as well very soon…hence shioping out all the kids because they would’t get a game unfortunately