Squad rotation in the EFL, 18 Sep 2016

I noticed that Swindon made 8 changes to their starting line-up yesterday (although having two players sent off in their last match may have forced their manager’s hand somewhat) and thought it’d be interesting to take a quick look at how much EFL managers are rotating their squads this season.

I’ve compared the differences between each starting 11 and the one before it for every EFL club and ranked them by the average number of changes made per game:


Nottingham Forest are rotating their squad far more heavily than everyone else, with an average of almost five changes to the starting line-up per match. They’ve never made fewer than four alterations to the previous team sheet and have used 29 different players: the most in the EFL and four more than anyone else. All but three of those players have started a match for them this season.

Swindon‘s eight changes have bumped their average up to the EFL’s second highest, although at 3.8 changes per match it’s over a man less that Forest’s. While nobody else has made as many changes from a previous line-up so far, two other EFL clubs – Wolves in the Championship and Southend in League 1, both towards the top end of their division’s graphs – have made seven.

At the other end of the spectrum, Crewe have barely changed their starting 11 at all this season. They’ve yet to make more than one change to a previous line-up and have named an unchanged team on four occasions (the joint-most along with Barnsley and Charlton). Only 15 different players have featured for them this season, with just 13 starting a match – both are EFL lows so far. Apart from these three, the only other EFL club averaging less than one change per match to their starting eleven is Brentford.