Chelsea’s £206m strength to help them close the gap to Manchester City and Liverpool

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Kepa Arrizabalaga, Andreas Christensen, N’Golo Kante, Marcus Bettinelli, Trevoh Chalobah, Saul Niguez, Ross Barkley, Malang Sarr.

A group of players you could select quite the seven-a-side team from but also Chelsea’s bench from the draw against Everton.

While many may be less than impressed with Saul, Barkley and Sarr there remains an argument that Thomas Tuchel has the most accomplished depth in the Premier League. Even accounting for injury or rotation, the Blues have been able to call upon the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Jorginho from the bench.

The players named on Chelsea’s substitute bench for league games this season have had an average value of £205.6million in transfer fees paid by the club.

That’s more than any side in the division other than Manchester United and almost 16 times more expensive than Brentford’s bench, which cost £13.2million on average.

It’s perhaps surprising to see the Blues above Manchester City in this department but with Kepa strictly behind Edouard Mendy in the pecking order, a record fee is permanently among the ranks.

Nevertheless, it’s certainly an asset to have the Spaniard ready to deputise with AFCON now so close.

The quality Cobham has produced also plays a role as big-money signings have to be pushed to the bench when you can call on the likes of Reece James, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi. It’s a sign of the strength of the squad.

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Not many teams would see someone players like Ziyech and Christian Pulisic so regularly on the bench.

Injuries of course also play the role with Kante’s fitness needing to be managed regularly this term, while Lukaku was carefully coaxed back into starting games before his Covid-19 diagnosis.

The Blues may have stuttered in recent weeks but overall have managed the absences of their top players throughout the season due to the quality they have at their disposal.

To sit third, four points of first place is frustrating but still a commanding position to be in as the season picks up pace and competitions start to reach the business end.

Liverpool’s bench has less monetary value, and it’s not too unfair to consider their drop in quality may come more swiftly with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane both needing to be replaced because of the AFCON campaign in January.

Though, the price of players doesn’t always mean you are able to extract value as can be seen with Manchester United’s drop from what is considered a three horse race for the Premier League.

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The Red Devils have the most expensively assembled bench, with their subs costing the club an average of £216.5million on any given game this season.

Manchester City have the third highest average at £179.3million, followed by Arsenal at £127.9million, Tottenham at £121million, and Liverpool at £107.6million.

At the other end of the scale though are clubs like Brentford, Watford, and Leeds.

Brentford’s subs benches cost them an average of £13.2million per game, the lowest of any Premier League club.

The average for Watford has been £16million per game, followed by injury ravaged Leeds at £22.3million, Norwich at £22.5million, and Burnley at £28.2million.

The average is based on the total value in transfer fees of each player on the bench for each league game played, so some players could be counted more than once.

Club: Average cost of players on bench

Manchester Utd: £216,487,500

Chelsea: £205,625,000

Manchester City: £179,277,059

Arsenal: £127,900,000

Tottenham: £120,997,143

Liverpool: £107,578,125

Leicester City: £91,112,500

Wolves: £86,772,941

West Ham: £67,258,824

Southampton: £58,391,176

Newcastle Utd: £56,612,500

Everton: £54,146,875

Aston Villa: £49,911,765

Crystal Palace: £48,772,941

Brighton: £41,353,125

Burnley: £28,166,667

Norwich City: £22,473,176

Leeds United: £22,276,471

Watford: £16,036,250

Brentford: £13,179,375

Source by Football London

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