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Squad Depth: How the Media Have Created a Farce About Manchester City

What’s real and what is not....

Manchester City v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Manchester City have become a victim of their own success. It is ridiculous to get to know how false and misleading some of the widely held beliefs about Manchester City actually are. From being synonymous with throwing outlandish amounts of money on players as a way of persuading them to sign for the club, to using their deep and bulging pockets to buy favour from the governing bodies in order to evade punishment for wrongs, and having the largest squad in the division that gives them an unfair advantage in the title race.

It’s all a farce.

The Media even claims that the squad is so large that Pep Guardiola has three players for each position and can afford to chop and change at will, thereby giving him an unfair advantage over other teams. That’s on top of the fact that each of these three players reserved for each position is a world-class player.

So when all these factors are considered, it becomes a no-brainer to see why the team is winning so much and others can’t compete.

Rival fans mostly believe this and so it becomes easy to see the club as the enemy. Every good story needs an antagonist and Manchester City is seen as that in the beautiful round leather game. The players are seen as the bad guys that need to be stopped at all costs.

So when the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea Liverpool and Manchester United splash the cash and build huge squads, they are just trying to catch up with the leaders Man City. Somebody has to stop them!

City have enemies all over the place. From England to Germany, Spain and wherever rival fans are. Sometimes they seem to unite for a common cause - stopping City; the enemy trying to ruin their beloved game.

But this is all a result of the media bias and inaccurate reporting that consistently misrepresents the facts.

One of such ideas that has been continuously fed to the public is that Manchester City have the largest squad in the Premier League. So that gives them the advantage as others cannot compete with their financial might.

A close observation shows that’s completely false.

But the fans believe it anyway, because that’s what they are continuously fed.

With the belief also comes animosity and even hatred for all that the club stands for.

Taking squad depth as an example the fact is Man City have the smallest squad of the top six teams in the Premier League. Realizing that will be shocking for most fans, because it is the opposite idea that has been sold to them.

Here is a list of squads for regular first-team players registered by the clubs for the 2021/2022 Premier League season. They are listed from the smallest squad to the biggest squad.

Manchester City

  1. Nathan Ake
  2. Joao Cancelo
  3. Aymeric Laporte
  4. Ruben Dias
  5. John Stones
  6. Kyle Walker
  7. Oleksandr Zinchenko
  8. Bernardo Silva
  9. Kevin De Bruyne
  10. Fernandinho
  11. Phil Foden
  12. Ilkay Gundogan
  13. Rodri
  14. Gabriel Jesus
  15. Jack Grealish
  16. Riyad Mahrez
  17. Raheem Sterling


  1. Cedric Soares
  2. Gabriel
  3. Rob Holding
  4. Nuno Tavares
  5. Takehiro Tomiyasu
  6. Kieran Tierney
  7. Ben White
  8. Mohamed Elneny
  9. Albert Sambi Lokonga
  10. Martin Odegaard
  11. Thomas partey
  12. Bukayo Saka
  13. Emile Smith Rowe
  14. Granit Xhaka
  15. Gabriel martinelli
  16. Alexandre Lacazette
  17. Eddie Nketiah
  18. Nicolas Pepe


  1. Matt Doherty
  2. Sergio Reguilon
  3. Cristian Romero
  4. Davinso Sanchez
  5. Emerson Royal
  6. Joe Rondon
  7. Eric Dier
  8. Japhet Tanganga
  9. Ben Davies
  10. Harry Kane
  11. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
  12. Harry Winks
  13. Ryan Sessegnon
  14. Dejan Kulusevski
  15. Oliver Skipp
  16. Rodrigo Bentancur
  17. Steven Bergwijn
  18. Lucas Moura
  19. Heung-min Son

Manchester United

  1. Alex Yelled
  2. Eric Bailly
  3. Diogo Dalot
  4. Phil Jones
  5. Victor Lindelof
  6. Harry Maguire
  7. Luke Shaw
  8. Raphael Varane
  9. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
  10. Bruno Fernandes
  11. Fred
  12. Jesse lingard
  13. Mata
  14. Nemanja Matic
  15. Paul Pogba
  16. Edinson Cavani
  17. Anthony Elanga
  18. Marcus Rashford
  19. Jadon Sancho
  20. Cristiano Ronaldo
  21. Scott McTominay


  1. Virgil van Dijk
  2. Trent Alexander-Arnold
  3. Joe Gomez
  4. Ibrahima Konate
  5. Joel Matip
  6. Andrew Robertson
  7. Kostas Tsimikas
  8. Fabinho
  9. James Milner
  10. Takumi Minamino
  11. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
  12. Tiago
  13. Luis Diaz
  14. Diogo Jota
  15. Harvey Elliott
  16. Sadio Mane
  17. Divock Origi
  18. Roberto Firmino
  19. Mo Salah
  20. Curtis Jones
  21. Naby Keita
  22. Jordan Henderson


  1. Cesar Azpilicueta
  2. Ben Chilwell
  3. Andreas Christensen
  4. Reece James
  5. Marcos Alonso
  6. Antonio rudiger
  7. Malang Sarr
  8. Thiago Silva
  9. Abdul Rahman Baba
  10. Ross Barkley
  11. Trevor Chalobah
  12. Kai havertz
  13. Jorginho
  14. N’golo kante
  15. Kenedy
  16. Mateo Bassett
  17. Ruben loftus-cheek
  18. Mason mount
  19. Callum hudson-odoi
  20. Romelu Lukaku
  21. Christian Pulisic
  22. Timo Werner
  23. Hakim Ziyech

From the lists above, it is clear who had the biggest squad last season. It’s certainly not Manchester City. In fact City’s direct rivals Liverpool and Chelsea were far in front of the others.

But the media will never tell you that. They will never mention it because it changes the narrative from the one they are actually selling.

To think that Chelsea are still buying players this season as if they have the smallest squad in the division. Of course, they need to buy more to catch up with City. And why not try to buy City’s own players? That could be the best way to weaken them. How the Media will love to see the mighty fallen at the end of the campaign!