Squad usage: League 1, 2017/18
I realised that I’d missed one graphical template from the traditional post-season burst. 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 unchanged line-ups they’ve named. This all applies to league matches only.
Three of the four relegated teams – Bury, Northampton and Oldham – used more players than anyone else, presumably searching in vain for a winning combination. The Shakers used a whopping 41 different players, starting 38 of them, and named the fewest unchanged line-ups. The fourth relegated team, MK Dons, also rotated their side heavily in an attempt to escape the drop. Scunthorpe named 13 unchanged starting line-ups, with erstwhile promotion rivals Wigan and Plymouth each naming 12. The Pilgrims also rotated their team the least overall, with just 1.2 changes per game on average.
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.