Paul Elliott believes Chelsea's lack of depth will cost the club in the Premier League title race.
Former Chelsea captain Paul Elliott is the latest to have highlighted that a lack of depth in the current squad is likely to be a problem for the reigning Premier League champions this season, as it puts them at a disadvantage compared to Manchester United and Manchester City.
Without injuries or Champions League distractions, Chelsea cruised to domestic glory in record breaking fashion last season. Their run of 13 successive league wins up to December put them ahead with a lead that was virtually unassailable, but things are now quite different.
"It is very interesting for Chelsea because they have a brilliant 13 or 14 but it's about the strength in depth," Elliott, who joined the club for £1.4m in 1991, told Sky Sports.
"You look at Manchester United, you look at Manchester City and what is the common characteristic? They have got the strength in depth. It's the quality of their substitutes that dictates a lot," the retired defender explained.
"Chelsea are going to be competing, they are going to be taking points off all of the teams around them, but I think ultimately the teams with the deepest squads - Man City and Man United will be very close [to winning the Premier League title]."
Even manager Antonio Conte has hinted at concerns over squad size, with rumours having circulated for most of the summer that he wasn't happy with the recruitment program led by his superiors.
Ex-Chelsea boss Ruud Gullit criticised the club hierarchy earlier this week for selling key players like Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic during the summer and failing to buy improvements: "I think they sold some good players - Matic, Costa - and it has been difficult to replace them."