By Tim Harrison
Midfielder Mateo Kovacic is a doubt for Chelsea this weekend as the Blues restart their league campaign by hosting Newcastle.
Seeing the Croatian limp off in a draw with Wales would ordinarily depress manager Frank Lampard... but now it merely means a dip into his seemingly bottomless barrel of fresh talent.
That squad depth (with U23s and youth players champing at the bit, not to mention another dozen out on loan) is mirrored at Chelsea Women.
After the Blues came from behind to beat Arsenal Women, Gunners manager Joe Montemurro grumbled: “Chelsea should be up there every year; they have 25 or 26 internationals. We have 18 players.”
Of course it isn’t just a numbers game. Where both men’s and women’s squads really have the edge is in the quality of their fit, eager reserves.
Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes confesses she goes through agonies working out who to include in the starting line-up, and who to relegate to the bench.
Lampard is in a similar position; a richness of resources, but one that has to be managed with tact and diplomacy.
Mercifully there are seven games in the next three weeks, letting him start the likes of Olivier Giroud (who scored a winner for France) and Michy Batshuayi (on target for Belgium).
With Christian Pulisic and Jorginho also scoring in the international break, it underlines Chelsea’s world reach as well as their potent current form.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
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