An early look at squad usage
After spotting over the weekend that West Ham and Watford had both started the same 11 players in every Premier League match so far, I thought it was worth throwing together an early look at how every Premier League and EFL club has been using their squad so far. These follow the same format as I’ve used previously and I’ll probably update these again a bit later in the season along with detailed club-by-club templates showing exactly which players were used and when.
Three clubs – Man Utd, Huddersfield and Tottenham – have already used two teams’ worth of players this season, with Jose Mourinho having named 21 different starters in five Premier League games so far. At the other end of the spectrum, both Watford and West Ham have named the same starting 11 in every game so far, while Liverpool have only handed starts to 12 different players. Interestingly there are seven Chelsea players who have featured for every minute of the Blues’ season so far (basically their defensive unit: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso, Kante and Jorginho), while six have done so at Cardiff.
The EFL divisions are a bit further along than the top flight, with the Championship set to play its eighth round of matches in midweek and the other two divisions having already reached this point. Still, the 25 players used by Ipswich is pretty intense, while Frank Lampard has been rotating a similar number pretty heavily at Derby. Rotherham and West Brom have each fielded five players for the entirety of their league campaign so far, while high-flying Brentford have deployed the fewest overall.
Rochdale have done the most shuffling so far, with 25 different players used and an average of 3.6 changes to the starting line-up in each match, plus they’re one of only two clubs in the top four divisions (the other being Bristol Rovers) who no longer have a single ever-present player in their squad. Oxford deserve an honourable mention for starting every one of the 22 different players they’ve used so far. Peterborough and Walsall meanwhile have each kept six players on the pitch for the entirety of their season so far, with the Posh only naming 12 different starters so far and keeping the same 11 players on the pitch for the longest stretch at 464 minutes (they have named the same line-up in all but one of their games, in which Joe Ward dropped to the bench).
Cheltenham can go one better than Oxford in the division above, having fielded 23 different players and given them all at least one start. Notts County are the only League 2 side to have used more individual players but fewer have been named in a starting line-up, while Yeovil’s own high number of players used seems to be mainly via substitutions given that only 16 have started a game. Forest Green lead a clutch of more stable squads with just 15 different starters from a pool of 17 players used so far, while their most recent opponents MK Dons have the most ever-presents with six.