Bench mark: Every Premier League club’s most used substitute

Dave Tickner

Which player has made the most appearances for each Premier League club this season as a sub? Simple as that. The Leeds one is mental.


Arsenal – Ainsley Maitland-Niles (6)
Goes to show, doesn’t it? If Maitland-Niles had got the move he wanted in the summer, he wouldn’t have made it onto this list or got to play the last 35 minutes of Arsenal’s annual Anfield humiliation. Be careful what you wish for.


Aston Villa – Leon Bailey (5)
This probably isn’t a list Villa would have envisaged Bailey topping when they dropped the thick end of £30m to Bayer Leverkusen in the summer. Was one of few Villa players to underwhelm in a fine victory over Palace at the weekend, and may well be back on the bench for the Manchester City game this week.


Brentford – Yoane Wissa (5)
Brentford have nine points from the five games in which Wissa has featured, all of them from the bench. It’s not an entirely reductive stat either, given his mere 60 minutes of Premier League football have produced an 82nd-minute equaliser against Liverpool and a 94th-minute winner against West Ham. Given the calibre of opposition and total absence of starts, that is top-quality super-subbing, you have to say.


Brighton – Alexis Mac Allister (8)
Loses points for not only starting a couple of games but also completing the full 90 in one of them. Gets those points straight back for being both subbed on and off at half-time during this campaign. Gets yet more points for scoring two goals and assisting another in his frequently brief spells on the pitch. That’s a grand total of several points for the Scottish-named Argentinean schemer.


Burnley – Jay Rodriguez (8)
Matej Vydra has also made eight appearances off the bench for the Clarets, but we think you’ll agree that Rodriguez only making one start to Vydra’s two makes him the superior sub. That has to be the tie-breaker. In a fun twist, one of Vydra’s starts saw him replaced by Rodriguez. Okay, not fun. But true.


Chelsea – Ruben Loftus-Cheek (5)
Has slowly but surely worked his way back into favour, and in a team that has been performing pretty bloody well. No mean feat, that. Having not featured in the first five games of the season – during which Chelsea picked up 13 of 15 points available – RLC has been involved in all eight since and started three.


Crystal Palace – Michael Olise (8)
Jeffrey Schlupp had been level with Olise before Tuesday evening’s defeat to Leeds: both had started two games and been a substitute in seven. But Schlupp made it into Patrick Vieira’s XI before being replaced after 80 minutes by Will Hughes, while Olise rose from the bench in the 90th for Jordan Ayew. Leeds scored three minutes later. Those two things probably aren’t related.


Everton – Anthony Gordon (5)
Five starts and five appearances from the bench for the young winger. He’s played the full 90 in each of Everton’s last three games, but given those have been a drab 0-0 against Spurs, a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City and a 1-0 loss at Brentford he might want to keep that information to himself.


Leeds – Tyler Roberts (12)
That… is a lot of substitute appearances, isn’t it? There have only been 14 games. This is almost the least ever-present an ever-present player can be. It’s only one fewer substitute appearance than Roberts made in the whole of last season. We’re actually just angry that he has started two games, although he was at least subbed off in both, including in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage-time against Crystal Palace. Roberts has played in every game, but for an average of only 31.3 minutes. That has brought no goals and no assists, but three yellow cards. Currently on course to make 33 substitute appearances this season, which, again, is a lot. A record, probably. Must be.


Leicester – Kelechi Iheanacho (7)
It’s been a tough old season for a player who finished the last campaign so well, scoring 11 goals in the last 12 games of 2020/21. Significantly, he started all but one of those. This campaign he has started just four Premier League games and is languishing on the same number of goals as Harry Kane.


Liverpool – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (5)
Three starts, five appearances from the bench, seven of his eight total appearances clocking in somewhere between 26 and 76 minutes. He has become the archetypal Big Six squad player in between his various and assorted injury woes.


Manchester City – Riyad Mahrez (7)
Poor old Raheem Sterling can’t even take this prize at City right now, trailing behind in second with just six. Mahrez being your most-used substitute also suggests you have quite a good squad. Huge if true.


Manchester United – Jesse Lingard (7)
Better than playing all those games and scoring all those goals for West Ham, isn’t it? Scoring that late winner at the London Stadium in one of his brief appearances off the bench was a bit on the nose, mind.

Manchester United players celebrate after Jesse Lingard's late winner against West Ham.


Newcastle – Ryan Fraser (6)
Has disappointingly started four of Newcastle’s last six games, which suggests Eddie Howe might just ruin things for a player who has screamed (theoretical) impact sub throughout his uninspired spell on Tyneside. The sacrificial lamb after 11 minutes against Norwich because Ciaran Clark did a silly thing.


Norwich – Adam Idah (9)
In many ways the best on this list. Despite appearing in almost two-thirds of Norwich’s Premier League games to date, his total minutes don’t yet stretch to a full game of football. His longest cameo was 23 minutes against Newcastle, with his combined appearances reaching 75 minutes. He’s been an unused substitute in the other five games, which by our fag-packet maths equates to 94.1% of Norwich’s season spent on the bench and 5.9% on the pitch.


Southampton – Ibrahima Diallo (7)
Three full 90s plus a couple of lengthy stints from the bench – the second half at Chelsea, 37 minutes against West Ham – mean it’s only middling super-sub status for Diallo despite a decent raw number.


Tottenham – Bryan Gil (5)
Replacing the sh*ithouser’s sh*thouser Erik Lamela in a slapdash Spurs squad was never going to be an easy task for the youngster, but it’s undeniably been an underwhelming start to life in north London for Spain’s premier early Beatles lookalike. A few very brief cameos are joined by slightly longer stints in derby whompings against Chelsea and Arsenal. It’s not a great start, is it? Even the Europa Conference hasn’t gone his way, having been significantly involved in Spurs’ away-day triptych of defeats at Pacos, Vitesse and Mura.


Watford – Joao Pedro (7)
Good stats, these. Only one start, but hooked at half-time so it barely counts. Also came on at the break in one of his great many substitute appearances. Also scored one of those injury-time goals at the end of Watford’s 4-1 win over Manchester United, objectively one of the funniest games of the season.


West Ham – Andriy Yarmolenko (8)
Even with West Ham being good these days, it still feels like a bit of a waste to have Andriy Yarmolenko scratching around the place just for lists like these. Only just beats Norwich’s Idah for thinly-spread minutes, having eked out 52 from his eight appearances, numbers skewed by (relatively) lengthy stints of 22 and 19 minutes respectively in defeats to Manchester United and Wolves.


Wolves – Fabio Silva (7)
Beats Daniel ‘Dear’ Podence hands down, despite both having seven appearances from the bench. Silva hasn’t started once, and his forays from the bench average out at under five minutes each. High impact, too: 16 of his Premier League 34 minutes came at Villa Park, during which time a 2-0 deficit became a 3-2 win.