It is one of those balancing acts in football and something of a paradox that Arsenal and just about every other big club has to cope with every season, but hopefully this season Arsene Wenger has got the balance just right between having a talented squad with strength in depth and keeping the players reasonably happy with the chances they are getting on the pitch.
It is all about competition really and the summer additions through the transfer window of Granit Xhaka, Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi, as well as giving the manager more options in his team selection, will hopefully have the added effect of keeping the likes of Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Per Mertesacker and Gabriel on their toes.
The situation with Xhaka is even tougher for the new midfield star and the players he will be competing with for a first team place, but one of those at least is relishing it and Francis Coquelin told Arsenal Player that this is what you must expect when you play for a club like Arsenal.
The combative Frenchman also declared that the arrival of more quality players has really increased the confidence in our ability to challenge for major honours again this season and that is what it is all about after all.
When asked how the new signings made him feel Coquelin replied, “Pretty confident. With these two additions, the team is looking really strong. We need a few people with injuries to come back, but after that we will have a full competitive squad. We can face the four competitions ahead of us.
“There is loads of competition, but I think that’s a good thing. Obviously we are Arsenal, so we expect competition and a player comes in every year, so it is a great addition. Granit came this year, and I think he is a great addition to the squad.
“Mohamed came in January, and I think he has done well. No one really knew him before he came here, but he has shown how good he is. It is going to be an interesting competition in the middle.”
It certainly is and Coquelin does not even mention Santi Cazorla or the currently unavailable Aaron Ramsey, so just how strong is our central midfield and who do you think will be Wenger’s first choices?