In the race for the Premier League title, a big factor of whether a team can succeed is not so much the talent on the pitch but rather off it. In a long season of 38 Premier League matches as well as the FA Cup, Carling Cup and, for some teams, the Champions League and UEFA Cup, the quality of players on the bench can make or break a team’s success.
For the 2008/2009 season, clubs will be allowed seven players on the bench. For some teams, the players available on the bench have more talent and experience than all eleven players for other teams.
Here’s a glimpse of the players we predict you’ll often see on the bench for all 20 teams. It should give you an idea of which teams have a massive advantage against the competitors:
Arsenal: Lukasz Fabianski, Nicklas Bendtner, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Johan Djourou, Justin Hoyte and Denilson.
Aston Villa: Brad Guzan, Marlon Harewood, Curtis Davies, Wayne Routledge, Stiliyan Petrov, Shaun Maloney and Isaiah Osbourne.
Blackburn Rovers: Jason Brown, Tugay, Steven Reid, Brett Emerton, Matt Derbyshire, Danny Simpson and Paul Gallagher.
Bolton Wanderers: Ali Ab Habsi, Nicky Hunt, Jlloyd Samuel, Joey O’Brien, Heioar Helguson, Gavin McCann and Ricardo Vaz Te.
Chelsea: Carlo Cudicini, Andriy Shevchenko, Claudio Pizarro, Mikel John Obi, Alex, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Wayne Bridge.
Everton: Iain Turner, Andy van der Meyde, James Vaughan, Nuno Valente, Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and Victor Anichebe.
Fulham: Antti Niemi, Moritz Volz, Alexey Smertin, David Healy, Steven Davis, Zoltan Gera and Eddie Johnson.
Hull City: Tony Warner, Nathan Doyle, Andy Dawson, Nick Barmby, Craig Fagan, Peter Halmosi and Caleb Folan.
Liverpool: Diego Cavalieri, Steve Finnan, Andriy Voronin, Yossi Benayoun, David N’Gog, Xabi Alonso and Lucas.
Manchester City: Kasper Schmeichel, Michael Ball, Nedum Onuoha, Valeri Bojinov, Darius Vassell, Dietmar Hamman, and Tal Ben Haim.
Manchester United: Tomasz Kuszczak, Nani, Anderson, Park Ji Sung, Wes Brown, Mikael Silvestre and John O’Shea.
Middlesbrough: Ross Turnbull, Jeremie Aliadiere, Mido, Robert Huth, Chris Riggott, Adam Johnson and Jonathan Grounds.
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Jose Enrique, Cacapa, Charles N’Zogbia, Jonas Gutierrez, James Milner and Alan Smith.
Portsmouth: Jamie Ashdown, Lauren, Noe Pamarot, Arnold Mvuemba, Ben Sahar, Nwankno Kanu and Pedro Mendes.
Stoke City: Steve Simonsen, Rory Delap, Ricardo Fuller, Ryan Shawcross, Seyi Olofinjana, Jon Parkin and Nathaniel Wedderburn.
Sunderland: Darren Ward, Teemu Tainio, Kieran Richardson, Liam Miller, David Connolly, Dwight Yorke and Michael Chopra.
Tottenham Hotspur: Cesar Sanchez, Chris Gunter, Jermaine Jenas, Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone, Jamie O’Hara and Aaron Lennon.
West Bromwich Albion: Dean Kiely, Carl Hoefkens, Paul Robinson, Luke Moore, Neil Clement, Craig Beattie and Chris Brunt.
West Ham United: Jan Lastuvka, Daniel Gabbidon, Scott Parker, Matthew Etherington, Jonathan Spector, James Collins and Freddie Sears.
Wigan Athletic: Michael Pollitt, Ryan Taylor, Erik Edman, Antoine Sibierski, Jason Koumas, Michael Brown and Marlon King.
Of course, many of these benches may be strengthened between now and the end of the August transfer window, so the subs named above could easily change.
What do you think about the subs above? What teams seem really weak and which ones are strong? Click the comments link below to share your feedback.