Given the domestic and international demands on modern players, there may be no more valuable trait at the club level than depth. Successful clubs need more than top talent to compete, as the year-round demands on players makes it a necessity to have a deep roster of world-class players who are ready to perform at a moment's notice.
In the Premier League, studies show that no two teams are more familiar with the importance of depth than Arsenal and Manchester United. Both teams are being tested this season with numerous injuries to some of their most influential players, with Arsenal facing long-term injuries to key players from last season's campaign while new United manager Louis Van Gaal is struggling to formulate an optimal lineup due to a number of short-term player absences.
Arsenal, which sits in sixth place, is just one point ahead of United heading into the teams' clash this weekend. With both clubs gunning for a top-four finish, a key determinant will be how they cope with their respective rash of injuries. Here is a look at how each team has dealt with injuries thus far and which club is better equipped to successfully survive the rest of the campaign....
LIVERPOOL -- Daniel Sturridge is "devastated" by his latest injury setback and at a "low point," his Liverpool teammate Jordan Henderson has revealed to ESPN FC.
The England striker, who has not played since August, was due to make his comeback at Crystal Palace on Sunday until he hurt a thigh in training, ruling him out until 2015.
Sturridge has been sidelined by first a thigh injury and then a calf problem, and vice-captain Henderson admits it is a major blow to Liverpool to lose him again.
West Bromwich Albion's visit to Chelsea this weekend brings back memories of last season, as Stamford Bridge was where it all started to unravel for The Baggies.
Going into stoppage time, Albion were 2-1 up and on the verge of being the first Premier League side to defeat a Jose Mourinho Chelsea team at Stamford Bridge. But the hosts were awarded a highly controversial penalty that Eden Hazard converted. Less than a month later, former Albion manager Steve Clarke found himself out of a job.