Paul Merson is the latest player-turned-pundit to claim we are lacking a spine (via the Express), but there are a handful of reasons why this analysis is pure rubbish.
Merson claims that in order to challenge the likes of Chelsea for the Premier League we are in need of a goalkeeper, a centre-back, a defensive midfielder, and a striker.
It’s a ridiculous statement to make, and when you actually think about it, it’s easy to see why.
All three pundits claim we need four world class players strengthening various areas of the squad, but that is hardly a massive revelation or a brilliant insight.
If we strengthened with four world class players, would we win the league? Almost certainly.
But equally, if Manchester United strengthened with four world class players, would they win the league? You would think so.
If Tottenham, Liverpool, Southampton, or even Swansea strengthened with a spine of four world class players, would they win the league? Potentially.
Give any team four world class players and they will be drastically improved, but it’s obviously not that simple.
On top of that, when you look at Chelsea’s Premier League winning team, you would argue that – in places at least – our spines are not too dissimilar.
They certainly have us beat in the goalkeeping department, as they currently boast two of the best shot-stoppers in the league on their roster. It seems strange to suggest we are lacking a centre-back however, as we have a plethora of options there.
Chelsea have John Terry, who is hands down their best defender. They have Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma fighting for the other spot, with Branislav Ivanovic able to fill in if needed. So that’s three first choices, and one back up.
We have Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista, and a fantastic centre-back prospect in Calum Chambers. Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal have also shown they are more than capable of playing there if needed, so you would argue that we are better equipped than the champions.
One or two defensive injuries and Chelsea would be facing a crisis, yet we are the ones who allegedly need a new centre-back.
Similarly, Chelsea’s striking options consist of a quality, albeit injury prone striker in Diego Costa, and two sub-standard options in Loic Remy and an ageing Didier Drogba.
You would potentially take Olivier Giroud over all three of them, as not only has he shown his quality this season, but aside from a freak broken foot he has an excellent injury record. Danny Welbeck has shown glimpses of quality, but you would probably tar him with the same brush as the likes of Remy.
Chelsea may have a better squad, but we have shown this season that we have the quality to push for the title, and we should be more than capable of mounting a challenge in 2015/16. We almost certainly need to strengthen over the summer, but we should put little stock in the opinions of the pundits criticising our lack of spine.