As we approach Christmas, title favourites Chelsea enjoy a three point advantage over Manchester City, who are a significant five points above rivals Manchester United in third.
Surprise package West Ham, who sit fourth, are some 11 points adrift of the leaders, while Southampton and Arsenal are two points further back. The race for the Premier League crown is most likely down to two teams, although Manchester United could yet be a contender.
But what sets these three teams apart? The answer is depth.
At almost the midway point of the season, injuries start to take their toll, fatigue starts to kick in, and this is when teams with greater squad depth can start to pull away.
As three of the richest clubs in the league, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have been spending consistently over the past few seasons, and have large squads with multiple players for each position.
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This allows the managers to rotate their first XI, reducing fatigue, and offers leeway should players get injured. Therefore, they can perform at the highest level consistently throughout the season
In contrast, teams with smaller budgets, such as Southampton and West Ham, are starting to feel the strain of having smaller squads. Both teams started the season remarkably, but they are likely to tail off.
Feeling the strain
Southampton are already feeling the strain, losing four games in succession. Although five injured players may seem insignificant to larger clubs, it has certainly taken its toll on the Saints.
Even Arsenal, a team constantly in the top four, has struggled due to a lack of depth. With only six senior defenders in the squad, injuries have surely affected their performance, as manager Arsene Wenger has been often forced to field a makeshift backline which has been very leaky at times.
Hence, depth is certainly the key entering the second half of the season. If any of the teams with smaller squads wish to make a genuine push for the title, the answer is simple: they need to spend in January.
Or maybe get more team doctors.
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