GRAPHIC: Two areas Arsenal's rivals already have an edge over Gunners

Arsene Wenger at Training - 18/02/2014

Arsenal could be considered disadvantaged against their rivals in two key areas.

The first round of Premier League action ended earlier this week and it produced a stat, which might worry Arsenal fans.

The Gunners had the smallest and the lightest average squad based on the first round of games, which suggests their rivals have a key physical advantage in these two areas.

Whether that will make a difference over the course of a long season remains to be seen but it does suggest Arsenal are more vulnerable in a couple of key areas.

For example, it suggests that they could be muscled off the ball and out of possession during important games, which is why Arsene Wenger places such a heavy emphasis on retaining the ball once the Gunners have it.

Also, it suggests that the Gunners could be more vulnerable to injury over the course of the long season, with injury problems last season well documented.

During the era of the Invincibles, the spine of Arsenal's side was huge (and tough); Lauren, Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira at six feet three inches and Dennis Bergkamp adding grit up front.

It's a model, which has been copied by current sides such as Manchester City with big, tough players through the spine of their title winning side; Kompany at the back, Yaya Toure through the middle and Alvaro Negredo putting in the hard yards up front.

Arsenal fans won’t care if the club continues to wrack up the wins but it’s an interesting point considering that the Premier League is perceived as one of the most physically demanding leagues in Europe.

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