The North Londoners finished fourth in the Premier League last term, making them effectively the fourth best English club side but Arsenal have more players in the World Cup than their rivals as we head into the quarterfinals this evening in Brazil.
The Gunners have seven players – Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski (Germany), Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud (France) Thomas Vermaelen (Belgium) and Joel Campbell (Costa Rica) – whilst Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City all have five, Manchester United have four and Liverpool have two players left in the tournament.
It makes for an interesting statistic, not on face value, but because of what it suggests about the quality of Arsenal players over their Premier League rivals. Whilst other teams on the continent also have players left in the competitions, only one other club, Bayern Munich, has more players still participating this summer in Brazil.
The Bavarians have 10 players who remain involved but the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Paris Saint-Germain fall below Arsenal’s tally. Those Arsenal players involved are top-level competitors but yet they have struggled over the years to win trophies with Arsenal up until, of course, the FA Cup win in May this year.
This stat demonstrates Arsenal have some of the world’s best players, capable of the highest quality and consistency, but that, perhaps, they are surrounded by even more quality with their countries than they are at Arsenal at present.
For example, Mesut Ozil has the likes of Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger supporting him and working alongside him in the team with Germany and Olivier Giroud has Paul Pogba behind him – what this suggests is that if the Gunners just added a couple more world-class players to their squad this summer, they would have a group of players capable of being on a par with the German champions, the French champions, Spanish champions and capable of becoming Premier League champions.
They proved as much last term – they were top of the Premier league for a total of 127 days, longer than any other side by a country mile yet injuries took their toll on the team and they fell away against the other big clubs in England. I would posit that it would only take two or three world-class signings this summer for Arsenal to be capable of being not only English champions but even European champions.