Bench-pressed: Big Six’s most subbed players and subs

Date published: Monday 21st January 2019 1:45 - Ian Watson

MANCHESTER UNITED – 69 substitutions

Most subbed players:
1. Marcus Rashford – subbed 11 times in 15 starts
2. Jesse Lingard – subbed 10 times in 14 starts
3. Anthony Martial – subbed 9 times in 14 starts
4. Juan Mata – subbed 7 times in 9 starts
5. Fred – subbed 5 times in 7 starts

Most used substitutes
1. Romelu Lukaku – 8 substitute appearances
2. Marouane Fellaini – 8 substitute appearances
3. Juan Mata – 6 substitute appearances
4. Alexis Sanchez – 6 substitute appearances
5. Ander Herrera – 5 substitute appearances

Romelu Lukaku might not like it but he had better get used to that substitute’s role. The United striker has come off the bench twice as often this term than in any of his last five seasons. Marcus Rashford is very much the man in possession of the starting centre-forward job at Old Trafford but a couple of goalscoring appearances as a replacement won’t hurt Lukaku’s cause.

Marouane Fellaini would probably be satisfied just to get on the bench at the moment. A calf injury is keeping him out of contention at the moment but Jose Mourinho’s go-to guy was told to go to the stands by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before he was crocked.


ARSENAL – 69  substitutions

Most subbed players:
1. Alex Iwobi – subbed 9 times in 13 starts
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – subbed 9 times in 21 starts
3. Aaron Ramsey – subbed 6 times in 9 starts
4. Mesut Ozil – subbed 6 times in 12 starts
5. Alexandre Lacazette – subbed 6 times in 15 starts

Most used substitutes
1. Aaron Ramsey – 11 substitute appearances
2. Lucas Torreira – 8 substitute appearances
3. Alex Iwobi – 7 substitute appearances
4. Alexandre Lacazette – 7 substitute appearances
5. Danny Welbeck – 7 substitute appearances

That’s quite a midfield pair Unai Emery keeps bringing off the bench. It’s just a shame it is rarely together with Granit Xhaka so often one half of Arsenal’s engine room. Only four players have featured in as many games as Alex Iwobi, but the winger has only completed 90 minutes on four occasions in 20 appearances.

Emery tried to bench Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in the autumn but four goals at a rate of one every 14 minutes in two substitute appearances made the Arsenal boss realise the error of his ways.


CHELSEA – 68 substitutions

Most subbed players:
1. Mateo Kovacic – subbed 15 times in 15 starts
2. Willian – subbed 15 times in 20 starts
3. Pedro – subbed 8 times in 13 starts
4. Alvaro Morata – subbed 7 times in 11 starts
5. Ross Barkley – subbed 6 times in 7 starts

Most used substitutes
1. Ross Barkley – 12 substitute appearances
2. Olivier Giroud – 12 substitute appearances
3. Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 8 substitute appearances
4. Pedro – 6 substitute appearances
5. Mateo Kovacic – 5 substitute appearances

Mateo Kovacic is yet to finish 90 minutes in the Premier League. The midfielder has started 15 games since joining from Real Madrid in the summer but Maurizio Sarri has seen fit to substitute him every time. Other Premier League players with five or more starts to have been hooked every time: Charlie Austin (8), Adama Traore (6), Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Grady Diangana, Ivan Cavaliero (all 5). Still, it could be worse: Watford’s Ken Sema has started six games but been substituted seven times.

Ross Barkley has fared little better than Kovacic during his limited opportunities in Chelsea’s XI and the pair have been swapped 17 times in all competitions this season. Only one player in the Premier League has been substituted more often than Kovacic and Willian: Bournemouth’s David Brooks has been withdrawn 16 times by Eddie Howe.


MANCHESTER CITY – 66 substitutions
Most subbed players:
1. David Silva – subbed 11 times in 16 starts
2. Sergio Aguero – subbed 11 times in 17 starts
3. Riyad Mahrez – subbed 7 times in 10 starts
4. Raheem Sterling – subbed 6 times in 19 starts
5. Ilkay Gundogan – subbed 5 times in 10 starts

Most used substitutes
1. Gabriel Jesus – 10 substitute appearances
2. Riyad Mahrez – 9 substitute appearances
3. Phil Foden – 8 substitute appearances
4. Ilkay Gundogan – 7 substitute appearances
5. Leroy Sane – 6 substitute appearances

Prior to December, Pep Guardiola generally only brought off David Silva to preserve his magic for City’s next victims. But his involvement and contribution has waned slightly since City’s first defeat at Chelsea, during which the playmaker picked up a hamstring injury.

Pep prefers Sergio Aguero or Gabriel Jesus, rarely both together. The strikers have started only two games together, with Aguero claining back his status as City’s first-choice forward. It doesn’t bode well for Jesus that he is yet to score this season off the bench.


LIVERPOOL – 65 substitutions

Most subbed players:
1. Roberto Firmino – subbed 11 times in 21 starts
2. Mo Salah – subbed 8 times in 22 starts
3. Naby Keita – subbed 7 times in 9 starts
4. Sadio Mane – subbed 7 times in 20 starts
5. Xherdan Shaqiri – subbed 6 times in 8 starts

Most used substitutes
1. Daniel Sturridge – 9 substitute appearances
2. Xherdan Shaqiri – 8 substitute appearances
3. Jordan Henderson – 8 substitute appearances
4. Naby Keita – 7 substitute appearances
5. James Milner – 5 substitute appearances

Jurgen Klopp admits Naby Keita is struggling for confidence though being hooked in all but two of his nine Premier League starts perhaps doesn’t help. The £52million recruit has managed 90 minutes only once since the opening weekend. At least the midfielder is guaranteed a cuddle before taking his seat.

Daniel Sturridge has come off the bench more often than any team-mate, but he’s also been left on it more times than anyone other than Simon Mignolet. Sturridge’s average appearance off the bench lasts only nine minutes, but he needed only three minutes to score against West Ham and four to net a stunning leveller at Chelsea.


TOTTENHAM – 62 substitutions
Most subbed players:
1. Son Heung-Min – subbed 10 times in 12 starts
2. Lucas Moura – subbed 8 times in 16 starts
3. Dele Alli – subbed 7 times in 14 starts
4. Erik Lamela – subbed 4 times in 6 starts
5. Eric Dier – subbed 4 times in 13 starts

Most used substitutes
1. Harry Winks – 8 substitute appearances
2. Erik Lamela – 7 substitute appearances
3. Fernando Llorente – 6 substitute appearances
4. Son Heung-Min – 5 substitute appearances
5. Christian Eriksen – 5 substitute appearances

A year to the day since Matt Stead pinpointed Pochettino’s substitutions as a problem after Son Heung-Min was replaced at Southampton, it seems little has changed for the South Korean, who has been hooked in all but two of his starts so far this season. Pochettino certainly isn’t as prolific with his changes as his top-six counterparts – only Newcastle, Burnley and Crystal Palace have made fewer substitutions than Spurs.

It is quite likely that we will start to see more academy graduates among Pochettino’s replacements. But Andy Carroll is well accustomed to coming off the bench


Ian Watson

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