HomeOTHERArsenal (NN)Squad Usage | Liverpool, Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea? Who's used the most?

Squad Usage | Liverpool, Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea? Who’s used the most?

This article was written before this weekend’s games were played (Round 17 of the Premier League).

With teams having up to 4 games over the next 10 days, this is a time when squad depth can make a major difference to where teams lie before the 3rd round of the FA Cup comes round to provide some sort of a break for managers looking to rest players.  It’s sad that the cup will no doubt be seen as an opportunity for a break for some but that’s how things are for most teams now.

Here we’ll have a look at how teams have been using their squads so far to see which teams are focusing on a tight core of players and those, through a mix of injuries, suspensions and rotation have used a greater spread.

There’s no perfect answer for when to keep a consistent team and when to rotate which will be affected by involvement in Europe and also strength in depth in the squad.

Looking at the number of different players used, Everton have used the fewest with just 17 different players starting (with 26 having played any minutes) and Sunderland the most with 26, (in part be down to having had 4 red cards  as well as managerial changes – even if 1 red card was subsequently rescinded).

Games Started

Fulham,  Southampton, Sunderland and Swansea are the 4 teams that have not had any player start all 16 league games

Crystal Palace are a strange combination in that they have one of the most widely utilised squads in terms of number of different players (poor Stephen Dobbie only got 66 minutes before he was shipped out), but also have a core of 8 players who have started 14 or more of the 16 games to date.

Grouping the figures above into bands of 4 games helps to give a slightly clearer picture of how teams have been using players:

Games Started Banded

9 of Southampton’s team have started 13-16 Premier League games compared to just 2 for Southampton

In terms of minutes played by those starting most often for each side, Palace players have played most on average with Fulham at the bottom.  Each squad will have different requirements, expectations and abilities so the ‘perfect’ mix between consistency and freshness will differ between clubs but a smaller club relying on a core of players will undoubtedly be stretched over the Christmas period.

Minutes Played Top 11

It can be tempting to try and attach a narrative to the figures to try and prove a point (e.g., Man City or Spurs’ rotation) but it’ll be interesting to see how these figures change over the course of a season and whether the likes of Everton can continue to manage using a comparatively small pool of players.  Also the league doesn’t exist in a vacuum, Swansea players for example could have played in up to a further 11 competitive games outside of the Premier League season which when you consider that Swansea’s league player profile is fairly average means that in terms of overall football they are probably towards the top.

This combination of high overall game time combined with lack of consistency in selection between games is why European competition can be a huge drain, especially on a smaller squad.

Run Swans stats site www.wearepremierleague.com www.twitter.com/we_r_pl Data Analyst - Analysis Marketing www.twitter.com/analysismktg Like most of the writers on here, spending far too much time looking at football data when they should be working.
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