Having used the MCFC Analytics / Opta data for my previous post on team formations, I am continuing to collate and group it into team data sets to try and see if I can find any interesting trends or analyses that may help to highlight manager/team strengths and weaknesses.
This post reviews substitutions: the frequency they are used, average playing time and goals scored.
|Team||# substitutions||Subs per game||Sub mins||Ave mins per sub||Sub goals||Goals per sub||Winning goals by sub||0 subs?|
|Blackburn Rovers||87||2.29||2151||24.72||3||0.03||0||1||vs MU (H)|
|Fulham||85||2.24||1521||17.89||1||0.01||0||2||vs WBA, Bolton (H)|
|Manchester United||100||2.63||2194||21.94||7||0.07||0||1||vs Liverpool (H)|
|Queens Park Rangers||92||2.42||1867||20.29||7||0.08||2||1||vs Swans (A)|
|West Bromwich Albion||101||2.66||1733||17.16||6||0.06||0||–|
Of course, in a premier league game a manager can make 3 substitutions. Last season, the average subs used per game by each team was 2.64 i.e. on most occasions a manager uses his full allocation of substitiutes. The managers most likely to use all 3 subs were Alan Pardew (Newcastle, 2.95 subs per game), Paul Lambert and David Moyes (Norwich and Everton, both 2.92). Substitutions are clearly of partcular importance to these managers, whether for tactical reasons, to help combat fatigue, squad rotate or simply run down the clock towards the end of a game. In Alan Pardew’s case I suspect the latter tactic was possibly used more than most, since the average number of minutes a Newcastle substitute played was 19.3mins, below the league average of 19.9mins.
The managers least likely to use all 3 subs in a game were Martin Jol, Steve Kean and Kenny Dalglish (2.24 subs per game, 2.29 and 2.39 respectively). Martin Jol used his bench warmers less than average, and unfortunately for them they were given a paltry 17.9mins playing time per game. Although Steve Kean didn’t use his subs as often as most managers, when he did he made sure they got a decent runaround: his substitutes had easily the longest average playing time in the league of 24.7mins.
Only on 5 occasions last season did a team not make any substitutions (Fulham: 2, Blackburn, Man Utd, QPR: 1).
Those statistics on substitutes will probably only interest the most serious football nerds (like me), so how about some information on managers who brought on super-subs? Well, this paragraph belongs to Roberto Mancini. An amazing 15 substitutes for Man City scored after being brought on, well above the average of 5.45 substitute goals. Dzeko’s contribution to the mayhem on the last day of the season was probably his most important goal from a total of 4 he scored coming off the bench. Perhaps you would think that since Man City won the league the statistic of 15 goals from substitutes isn’t that impressive, however for Ferguson and Wenger who both made an almost identical number of substitutions, their subs only scored 7 and 6 goals respectively. Certainly the attacking firepower Man City had on the bench last season was a significant weapon, perhaps if Jol had Aguero/Balotelli/Dzeko/Tevez on his bench throughout the season he would have used his substitutes more! Nevertheless the 8 goal differential between City and Utd from substitutes also tallies with City’s superior end of season goal difference of +8 that handed the title to the sky blues.
When it comes to goals per substitution, Mancini is easily top with 0.14 goals per sub, whilst David Moyes follows with 0.09. Martin Jol comes out worst with 0.01 goals per sub (no wonder he didn’t want to use his subs too often).
Winning goals scored by substitutes are harder to come by (and therefore more difficult to apportion any meaningful insight). However, Mancini doesn’t fare quite so well here, with only 2 out of the 15 subs goals scored classified by Opta as a winning goal (Balotelli’s efforts at home against Everton and Spurs). Wenger and Moyes topped the charts with 3 winning goals per sub apiece – very memorably for Arsenal fans this included Thierry Henry’s late winner at Sunderland in February. Four managers failed to bring on a sub who scored the winner: Ferguson, Hodgson, Jol (surprise, surprise) and Kean.