Squad usage profiles, League 2, 2016/17

I want to focus more on the impact of individual players next season but I realised that I didn’t even have a good way of visualising who was on the pitch and when, so today I’m road-testing another new graphical template.


What I’ve done for every club is to plot out their league campaign minute-by-minute and then shade in a bar for each player showing when they were on the pitch. The players’ bars are then laid out next to each other, in descending order of how long each spent on the pitch this season (also shown as a percentage of the club’s total playing minutes), to allow for comparisons.

I’ve also factored in a calculation of what each club’s most-used combination of 11 players was and shaded the minutes that they were on the pitch together using a darker colour. At the top I’ve also included the total number of minutes that they featured alongside each other, which is often surprisingly low.

To make reading across the graphics easier, I’ve drawn vertical lines separating each match and each month, plus horizontal ones between each player’s row and beneath the 11 most-used players.


I’ve shoved all 24 clubs’ graphics below in alphabetical order. Just a few quick observations to give you the idea of what to look for:

  • Last month I had a look at players who’d spent a lot of time on the bench and Crawley‘s brilliantly-named Bobson Bawling came top in League 2. In the lower half of their graphic we can see all of his late substitute appearances as a barcode-like pattern.
  • Crewe fielded the same combination of 11 players for a total of 425 minutes: more than any other EFL club managed this season. They also fielded the joint-fewest number of different players overall with 25 (tied with Portsmouth, Huddersfield and Millwall).
  • By comparison, Barnet and Newport used a whopping 40 different players each, which was perhaps a symptom of the multiple managerial changes at both clubs.
  • There were six ever-present players this season, all of whom lined up for different clubs.