Even with Jose Mourinho's 'little horse' comments about Chelsea not being ready for a title challenge this year, I think we can all see that the Portuguese manager has a magnificent squad to work with.
More importantly, he has an abundance of world class players to choose from and many have to contend with a place on the bench each week. This season they have added even more attacking midfielders to their squad which eventually led to one of the best players in the league leaving the club.
Even without Juan Mata, Chelsea have Oscar, Willian, Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle, Mohamed Salah, Frank Lampard, Ramires, Marco Van Ginkel as well as plenty of players out on loan (Lucas Piazon, Marko Marin) all capable of playing in advanced roles. Then there is Fernando Torres, Demba Ba, and Samuel Eto'o up front with Romelu Lukaku out on loan.
Therefore it is no surprise that Mourinho has used all three of his substitutes in every league match so far this season. He will always have great players on the bench capable of changing the game.
Take the away game against Southampton on New Year's Day for example. With the deadlock yet to be broken, Mourinho introduced Oscar and Willian to the action. Oscar hit the post which led to Torres' goal before setting up Willian's strike and then finally scoring himself. When things are not going right for Chelsea, they have the power to completely change the direction of the game.
|West Ham United||74||25|
|West Bromwich Albion||73||25|
The table shows that Liverpool have made the least amount of substitutes this season. Now this can tell us all sorts of things.
Liverpool are obviously enjoying a great season and there has not always been a need for Brendan Rodgers to change things around. If he is happy with his first eleven then there is no necessary reason to change things around. However in my opinion, Liverpool lie bottom of this table because they lack the quality to bring on. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have been exceptional for them this season and when Liverpool are losing there isn't anybody on the bench who you would think would replace either of those two and do a better job.
Even when Suarez and Sturridge are having bad games, Rodgers is likely to keep them on in the hope they can produce a bit of magic.
Liverpool have a strong first team, there is no doubt about that, and they have shown they can rip opponents apart. There is little depth at the club though, and a few injuries could seriously hamper their top four ambitions. The signing of Yehven Konoplyanka would have given them further options, whereas instead young Jordon Ibe is on the bench. He is a talented youngster, but on Saturday if Liverpool had been losing against Arsenal you would not want to be relying on him to change the game. As it was, it is fine introducing him when Liverpool have a comfortable lead.
Signings like Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas have failed to have much impact but they have been fortunate that Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling, among others, have stepped up their game and there has been less need for squad rotation.
If Rodgers wants to take the club to the next level though, then the squad certainly needs to be strengthened so they can compete with Chelsea and Manchester City.
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