Arsene Wenger expects this Premier League season to be the hardest he has encountered in his time in charge of Arsenal, as he sympathises with Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte over the size of his squad.
Conte & Arsene
Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, sympathises with Chelsea counterpart, Antonio Conte over the size of his squad, but reckons the Blues have made their own problems by loaning out so many players.
Conte who delivered the Premier League title at the first time of asking last season, has spoken out several times during pre-season about what he perceives to be a lack of depth in his squad at Stamford Bridge.
But, despite spending in excess of £130million on fresh talent, his future has reportedly been up in the air as he is unhappy with the number of players at his disposal.
Chelsea skipper, Gary Cahill echoed those sentiments after the reigning champions were beaten on penalties by Wenger's Arsenal in the Community Shield last weekend.
Wenger has the challenge of trying to shift players from Arsenal's bloated ranks, but he suggested Chelsea have made a rod for their own back after typically sending over 20 players on loan within England and across Europe in recent seasons.
Asked if he was surprised that Conte was complaining about his squad size, Wenger said: "Maybe, yes he has the opposite problem (to Arsenal) but if you look at the number of players that are out on loan, they can call a few back.
"I have sympathy for him. But do I feel sorry for Chelsea because they don't have enough players? Then no."
Chelsea have recruited Antonio Rudiger from Roma, Monaco's Ligue 1-winning midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko and also broke their transfer record to sign striker, Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid.
Arsenal also shattered their previous record fee to bring in forward Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon.
Wenger pointed to the goal ratio of his French compatriot Lacazette, who averaged a goal every 86 minutes last season.
"With Lacazette it is simple," Wenger said. "He is an intelligent player who can integrate our game well as we have a game backed on mobility, technique.
"After that we get the efficiency. His record in France is to score one in 80 minutes. If he can maintain that record that would be ideal for us. As a game is in 90 that would guarantee you a goal."
Arsenal start their Premier League campaign at home to Leicester on Friday night as they look to end a run of just one win from their previous seven opening fixtures.