How the new ‘five substitutes’ rule may affect Spurs wing-backs

Antonio Conte is well known for his tendency to utilise attacking wing-backs.

Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers will fondly remember Marcos Alonso excelling under him at Chelsea, managing 13 goals and seven assists across two seasons.

More recently as manager of Inter Milan in 2020/21, his wing-backs scored 15 goals and chipped in with 23 assists. These advanced defenders are players he continued to utilise last season on taking over as head coach at Spurs: his wing-backs managed 13 goals and assists between them in the 28 games he managed.

Whilst Conte gives his wing-backs the attacking freedom that FPL managers look for he is also careful to manage their minutes closely, which can be detrimental to FPL points. During his 28 league games as the Spurs boss, he has substituted one of his wing-backs off in 18 matches and withdrew both in five fixtures. In just five games did both of his wing-backs play a full 90 minutes.

In order to see what the increase to five substitutions could mean for the Spurs wing-backs, we can look back to his 2020/21 season at Inter Milan, where the same number of changes were allowed. 

Much like at Spurs, he had at least two wing-backs for both the left and right flanks.

Perisic (LWB) 

  • 32 apps (20 starts at LWB)
  • 17 games he played over 60 mins
  • 4 goals and 5 assists
  • 1800 mins

Young (LWB)

  • 26 apps (14 starts at LWB and 1 at RWB) 
  • 15 games he played over 60 mins (one at RWB)
  • 1 goal and 4 assists
  • 1423 mins

Darmian (LWB/ RWB)

  • 26 apps (3 starts at LWB and 8 starts at RWB)
  • 10 games he played over 60 mins, 1 of which was played at CB 
  • 3 goals and 4 assists
  • 1367 mins

Hakimi (RWB)

  • 37 apps (29 starts) 
  • 28 games he played over 60 mins 
  • 7 goals and 10 assists
  • 2668 mins

Alongside the impressive attacking returns, we can also see that all four players featured in over half of the games, with Darmian playing the least. Over the season, Conte substituted one of his wing-backs off in 19 games and both in 16 matches. In just three fixtures did both of his wing-backs play a full 90 minutes.

With Ivan Perisic joining him at Spurs for next season, managers may be tempted to load up on Spurs wing-backs. However, a decision will need to be made if the potential for attacking returns is worth the carefully managed minutes which will cost FPL managers both appearance points and also possibly clean sheet points.

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