Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has over the years been criticized by many for relying on a squad of young players who simply don’t have the mentality to win a title or mount a serious title charge especially towards season end. This was evident last season as Arsenal lost momentum and steam, eventually finishing fourth behind champions Manchester United, Chelsea and Man City.
The Premier League may be at its juvenile stage with only three matches played but Arsenal are just a point above the relegation zone and suffered an embarrassing 8-2 defeat at the hands of Manchester United almost a fortnight ago. Wenger of course couldn’t rely on the ‘young squad’ excuse as United’s team was equally young (with an average age of 23) with Ashley Young, 26, being the oldest player on the pitch before Park Ji Sung or Ryan Giggs were introduced in the second half.
During the summer transfer window, Wenger lost some of his most experienced players in the squad in the form of Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy who both went to Man City, and Cesc Fabregas who fulfilled his boyhood dream of rejoining Catalan giants Barcelona.
Whatever the reason for his delayed recruitment (or was it replacements), Wenger found himself buying 26-year-old German centerback Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen, 31-year-old Yossi Benayoun from Chelsea Mikel Arteta, 29, from Everton, Andre Santos, 28, and Park Chu Young, 26, from Monaco.
These signings have certainly upped the average age of players at the Emirates, so much so that the Gunners have the third youngest squad in the Premier League, behind Manchester United and promoted side Norwich City.
The average age of the Arsenal squad this season is 25.33, United 25.31 while Norwich are at 25.08. At 25.42, Liverpool are placed fourth above fifth-placed Sunderland who have 25.5. Other teams in the top 10 include Newcastle (25.54), Manchester City (25.73), Swansea (25.75), Wolves (25.76) and Blackburn (25.79)
At 33, Andres Villas-Boas may be the youngest manager in the premier league but his squad made of Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda, Frank Lampard, Paulo Ferreira and Henrique Hilario, all at the wrong side of 30 are the fourth oldest in the league. Stoke City are the oldest with an average age of 28.42, followed by Fulham and Queens Park Rangers at 28.04 and 27.85 respectively.
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