Top-flight clubs will be allowed to make five substitutions per match for the remainder of 2019/20, the Premier League announced today.
Sides will also be able to name nine players on their bench instead of seven.
Identifying ‘nailed’ starters, and assets who stand the best chance of lasting the full length of a game, may become a trickier task for Fantasy managers, then.
Recently we have started a four-part series looking at the players who perhaps stand the best chance of avoiding rotation, whether it be during games or between them.
But what about the managers: how have they approached substitutions so far this season?
We thought it was briefly worth touching on which head coaches have been most active on the sidelines, looking at how many changes they have made so far in 2019/20.
Above: Premier League clubs sorted by substitutions made this season
Liverpool and Brighton have made the most in-game changes in 2019/20, using 85 out of a possible 87 substitutions.
Manchester City, Arsenal, Sheffield United and Aston Villa have all played one game fewer, of course, and the first three of those teams look likely to pass the 80 mark after their outstanding fixtures are fulfilled on June 17.
Sean Dyche is by some distance the least meddlesome manager this season, using on average only two of his three substitutions per match.
He has made just 11 changes this calendar year – that’s almost half as many as anyone else.
Nuno Espirito Santo, who generally loves a settled side himself (ignoring that uncharacteristic early-season rotation around the UEFA Europa League games), is the next least-active boss.
Unsurprisingly, it’s the clubs with the smallest squads that have eschewed the option to make lots of changes, possibly because they simply don’t have the options at their disposal: Wolves have used fewer players (20) than any other side this season, with Burnley (21) just behind them.
Palace and Bournemouth have been ravaged by injury, meanwhile, although should have a near-full complement when we resume.
Above: Premier League clubs sorted by substitutions made in Gameweeks 14-21
With Premier League sides set to juggle nine or ten league games in little over a month, it’s perhaps worth looking what these clubs did over the Christmas period.
The above table shows Gameweeks 14-21, when top-flight clubs encountered a similar period of congestion.
The only club to max out on their substitution allocation was, in fact, Liverpool.
The Reds and West Ham United played one game fewer than the other 18 Premier League sides, with their Gameweek 18 clash postponed due to Jurgen Klopp’s side’s involvement in the FIFA World Club Cup.
Santo was the least active manager over the festive period, despite Wolves being in Europa League action in December, too.
Above: Premier League clubs sorted by substitutions made in Gameweeks 1–8
Santo was certainly more active at the beginning of 2019/20, wasting only one substitution in the first eight Gameweeks of the season (which took us up to the second international break).
It’s perhaps worth noting that Jurgen Klopp, Frank Lampard and Pep Guardiola used every substitution available to them in the first eight matches of the campaign, perhaps managing fitness levels after the summer break – something that may be pertinent given that we’ve effectively just had a pre-season ahead of the June resumption.
Finally, a quick look at the five clubs with new managers.
David Moyes has been less prone to tinkering that his predecessor, making only 23 changes out of a possible 30.
Manuel Pellegrini, by contrast, didn’t waste a single one.
Nigel Pearson has made 36 changes out of a possible 39, while Jose Mourinho has used 48 substitutes out of a maximum of 51.
Mikel Arteta and Carlo Ancelotti both took the hot seat at their respective clubs ahead of Gameweek 19: the Everton boss has only failed to use one of his 33 allocated substitutions, while Arteta has made 28 changes out of a possible 30.
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