Squad usage: Championship, 5 Oct 2017

Today I’m switching another graphic from last season back on. This one looks at how each club has used their squad, and in addition to individual graphics for every team I’ve also created a summary of the division as a whole.

It’s sorted by how many different players each club has used (with the number who started a match used as a tie-breaker), but also shows the average number of changes to their starting XI, the number of minutes played by their most-used combination of players so far and how many players have been ever-present. This all applies to league matches only.

We can see Harry Redknapp’s chaotic fingerprints at Birmingham, who have already used 29 players this season – four more than any other side – and starting 25 of them. At the opposite end of the spectrum we have Millwall, with only 17 different players used and fewer than one line-up change per match on average. At Norwich we have what looks like a clear case of deliberate squad rotation, with an average of over three changes per match but only 21 different players deployed. That’s clearly not what’s going on at Derby where five players have featured in every minute of the Rams’ campaign so far.

Explanation

What I’ve done for every club below 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.

Club-by-club graphics

Here are a few quick observations to give you the idea. It looks like Steve Bruce has settled on a starting line-up he likes at Aston Villa, with Jonathan Kodjia having broken into the team in the last four games. The size of the Birmingham graphic illustrates their ongoing search for the perfect formula, with three of their 11 most-used players so far not having played for the club before September.