​The true test of how good a club is on the field isn't the money in the bank or how many fans have the club crest tattooed on their chest, it's the strength in depth of the playing squad.


Arsenal, with their millions to spend and impressive new stadium, hit that criteria in a number of areas. Although heavily criticised for not spending more money, manager Arsene Wenger is acutely aware of the resources at his disposal - and he trusts them.


Many may have predicted a turbulent spell for the Gunners following the injury to their talisman Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean has been in the middle of much of the good work Arsenal have done this season, but was sidelined in early November after picking up a hamstring complaint during their game against Norwich City.

Speaking ahead of the Newcastle United game, Wenger confirmed Sanchez would not be available to face the Magpies. While many in the Toon Army may be tempted to breath a sign of relief, they should remember the squad depth that has put the London side top of the table going into 2016.


With Olivier Giroud in superb form, the Gunners have enjoyed the luxury of being able to play Theo Walcott in a wide position alongside Joel Campbell. While Walcott does not see this has his favourite place to play, it brings the pace and incisive running to the side that Sanchez left behind - meaning Arsenal have hardly missed him at all.


Campbell has stepped into the breach well, and alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, he has allowed the team to be rotated to avoid any soft-tissue injures that tend to be picked up during a busy time like this.

The Costa Rican international looked to have run his race at the Emirates, but he has been handed a chance by Wenger and has played well - although whether his first team chances remain when the Chilean is back from injury is yet to be seen.


The Magpies' full backs on Saturday are likely to be Paul Dummett and Daryl Janmaat, who have a history of being caused problems by quick, tricky wingers like the Gunners posses. 


Sanchez has left a gap in the team, but Arsenal have a squad depth that Newcastle could only dream about. They will not be any less dangerous because of it, and Dummett and Janmaat need to be at their vigilant best.