Squad usage: League 2, 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.
Champions Accrington named a whopping 17 unchanged line-ups and started the joint-fewest different players with 23, with their most-used combination of 11 players featuring for longer than any other in the top four divisions. Morecambe are an interesting case – they only used 24 players this season but rotated their team heavily to keep them fresh: their average of 2.5 changes per match was the highest in the division. The sheer number of players used by Chesterfield and Barnet as they scrabbled to avoid the drop is telling.
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.