‘Five substitutes’ rule: How will FPL be affected?

From the start of 2022/23, Premier League clubs will be allowed to make five substitutions per match.

We previously saw this rule temporarily brought into play at the back-end of 2019/20, when a Covid-interrupted campaign had to be played to a conclusion over the summer months.

Here we take a general look at what the overall impact could be on Fantasy Premier League (FPL) next season.

We’ll follow this up with a more focused club-by-club piece on the players who look the likeliest to avoid a withdrawal – and those who are most prone to being substituted.

READ MORE: Which FPL assets played the most minutes in 2021/22?

FIVE SUBSTITUTES: WHAT’S ALLOWED

→ Who was substituted off on more occasions (23) than any other player?

“Clubs will be permitted to use five substitutions, to be made on three occasions during a match, with an additional opportunity at half-time. A total of nine substitutes can be named on the teamsheet.” – Premier League statement

In short, managers can’t make substitutions on five different occasions in order to waste time.

The game can be stopped for substitutions on a maximum of six occasions (three per side), as was previously the case in 2021/22, with half-time offering an additional window for changes.

WHAT HAPPENED IN 2019/20

The five-substitutes rule ran for nine Gameweeks at the conclusion of the 2019/20 campaign.

Four teams – Manchester City, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Sheffield United – each had an extra fixture during the run-in, so contested 10 games in total.

Below, we look at what each Premier League manager did with their permitted allocation.

Managers highlighted in bold are still at the helm of a top-flight club in 2022/23.

Team Manager Substitutions made Games played Average subs per game Number of times all five subs were used
Brighton Graham Potter 43 9 4.8 8
Liverpool Jurgen Klopp 42 9 4.7 7
Norwich Daniel Farke 42 9 4.7 6
Arsenal Mikel Arteta 45 10 4.5 5
Bournemouth Eddie Howe 38 9 4.2 6
Newcastle Steve Bruce 38 9 4.2 4
Manchester United Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 37 9 4.1 5
Man City Pep Guardiola 41 10 4.1 4
Everton Carlo Ancelotti 36 9 4.0 4
Chelsea Frank Lampard 36 9 4.0 2
Aston Villa Dean Smith 38 10 3.8 1
Leicester Brendan Rodgers 34 9 3.8 3
Watford Nigel Pearson/Hayden Mullins 32 9 3.6 1
Spurs Jose Mourinho 30 9 3.3 0
Sheffield United Chris Wilder 32 10 3.2 0
Southampton Ralph Hasenhuttl 28 9 3.1 1
Wolves Nuno Espirito Santo 28 9 3.1 1
Crystal Palace Roy Hodgson 28 9 3.1 0
West Ham David Moyes 27 9 3.0 1
Burnley Sean Dyche 16 9 1.8 0

A total of nine Premier League managers from 2019/20 will still be in charge come Gameweek 1 of the upcoming season, with seven of them at the same clubs.

Four of the six most active head coaches are still in the managerial hotseat, with Graham Potter the most prolific tinkerer: the Brighton and Hove Albion boss averaged 4.8 changes per match from Gameweeks 30+ to 38+ of 2019/20.

Jurgen Klopp wasn’t far behind the Albion manager (4.7), with David Moyes relatively hands-off with an average of three alterations per game.


A CLOSER LOOK AT LIVERPOOL AND MAN CITY

There’ll be plenty of FPL investment in the top two in 2022/23, so it’s worth a quick look at these clubs in more focus.

Given that Liverpool had the league sewn up by Gameweek 31+ and City’s focus was on the latter stages of the Champions League, the above tables perhaps aren’t the best sample if we’re looking for clues for next season.

Despite having his focus on Europe, Guardiola was far from the most prolific tinkerer during this period (more of which below).

What he did do, however, was use the half-time window: a total of seven substitutes were made across three matches when City were coasting at 2-0 at the interval. A further 17 of his 41 changes were made in that uncomfortable 55th-to-65th-minute zone where we Fantasy managers are fretting over appearance points.

As for Jurgen Klopp, he was more prolific with his changes (averaging 4.7 per match) but only three of his 42 alterations came before the 60th-minute mark. One of those was enforced because of injury, while the other two were half-time substitutions after poor performances from Joe Gomez and Takumi Minamino.

NUMBER OF SUBSTITUTIONS MADE IN 2021/22

Team Manager Substitutions Games played under current manager Average subs per game
Brentford Thomas Frank 114 38 3.0
Leeds Jesse Marsch 36 12 3.0
Aston Villa Steven Gerrard 80 27 3.0
Fulham Marco Silva 135 46 2.9
Spurs Antonio Conte 82 28 2.9
Liverpool Jurgen Klopp 111 38 2.9
Chelsea Thomas Tuchel 111 38 2.9
Brighton Graham Potter 111 38 2.9
Southampton Ralph Hasenhuttl 110 38 2.9
Arsenal Mikel Arteta 110 38 2.9
Newcastle Eddie Howe 78 27 2.9
Leicester Brendan Rodgers 109 38 2.9
Crystal Palace Patrick Vieira 108 38 2.8
Bournemouth Scott Parker 130 46 2.8
Wolves Bruno Lage 107 38 2.8
Nottingham Forest Steve Cooper 106 38 2.8
Everton Frank Lampard 46 18 2.6
West Ham David Moyes 95 38 2.5
Man City Pep Guardiola 79 38 2.1

There aren’t too many takeaways from the above table, with 16 of the 19 managers featured averaging 2.8 substitutions per match or more in 2021/22.

Erik ten Hag is the only Premier League 2022/23 head coach who hasn’t yet taken control of his club, so doesn’t feature here.

The big headline is the relative inactivity of Guardiola. He was by some distance the most laissez-faire head coach, averaging just 2.1 changes per match. It’s a curious trait of the City manager’s, whereby he occasionally opts to let his starting XI last the course when things are going awry; the Gameweek 37 match against West Ham United, when the eventual title winners fell 2-0 behind, was a prime example.

Guardiola’s changes instead tended to be exercises in energy preservation when his side were comfortably in front. The influential Kevin De Bruyne, for example, was the joint-most-substituted City player of last season, being withdrawn in nine of his 25 starts.

POSITION-BY-POSITION BREAKDOWN OF CHANGES

2019/20 (GAMEWEEK 30+ to 38+)
Starts Subbed on Subbed off Avg starts per team per game Avg subbed on per team per game Avg subbed off per team per game
Defenders 763 133 121 4.15 0.72 0.66
Midfielders 825 403 417 4.48 2.19 2.27
Forwards 252 154 152 1.37 0.84 0.83

2021/22
Starts Subbed on Subbed off Avg starts per team per game Avg subbed on per team per game Avg subbed off per team per game
Defenders 3190 382 391 4.20 0.50 0.51
Midfielders 3453 1294 1338 4.54 1.70 1.76
Forwards 956 446 393 1.26 0.59 0.52

  • 15.9% of the starts that defenders made in the the final nine Gameweeks of 2019/20 ended in a substitution, compared to 12.1% in the whole of 2021/22.
  • 50.7% of the starts that midfielders made in the the final nine Gameweeks of 2019/20 ended in a substitution, compared to 38.8% in the whole of 2021/22.
  • 60.5% of the starts that forwards made in the the final nine Gameweeks of 2019/20 ended in a substitution, compared to 41.2% in the whole of 2021/22.

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