If it were up to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola, his Manchester City counterpart, the Premier League would have embraced the use of five substitutes long ago.

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In June 2020, as football resumed after a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, football lawmakers gave leagues temporary permission to move to five substitutions. From that point on, teams in La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 (as well as all UEFA competitions) continued to have five substitutions, but the Premier League returned to three as soon as the 2019-20 season was completed.

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English clubs have repeatedly voted against having five substitutes, with 14 out of 20 having to support the rule change. The main argument against five substitutions is that it gives clubs with more resources an unfair advantage. After all, if a team has the best line-up of players, does that mean replacing better substitutes, of course?

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“It is absolutely not true that this gives us an edge,” Klopp said in February. “I can’t believe it’s still discussed like this. It doesn’t mean that Bayern are 20 points ahead of other teams, or that in Italy the top teams suddenly run away with it.”

Guardiola, despite using fewer substitutions than any other Premier League manager, has always been Klopp’s full support. “It’s ridiculous,” he said at the start of last season. “That’s why there are injuries. Every three days a game, no preparation, no pre-season. Maybe one day the big bosses will explain why?”

But from this season, five substitutions will be used in English football in all competitions. So what has changed this summer? The IFAB has made a permanent revision of the laws, which means that English football is out of sync with any other major league.

So is there an advantage? Sportzshala tested this theory using data from other European leagues from 2021-22 – the first post-COVID season with regular playing conditions – to analyze how bigger clubs used five substitutions if they won more than other clubs. , and how the leagues compare.

For the purposes of the analysis, we selected 10 focus clubs. Top three in La Liga: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid. From Italy, the four clubs that have qualified for the Champions League with spare rounds are Milan, Internazionale, Napoli and Juventus. Created Bundesliga superclubs: Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. And finally, Paris Saint-Germain from Ligue 1.

JUMP ON: How will this affect the scores? | When are subs made? | Net Points for Focus Clubs | Late goals for focus clubs | Collective performance of focus clubs | How did the fifth change directly affect the game? | Chances for young players | What does this mean for the Premier League

Do focus clubs use the five substitutes most often?

Our statistics show that focus clubs use all five subwoofers less frequently than most other clubs. Of course, it’s not just about how many times a team uses five subs, but if our focus clubs use all their subs less often, does that alleviate a lot of concerns?

In La Liga, Real Madrid, Barça and Atlético are at the bottom of the list of average substitutions per game. Of the seven Spanish clubs with the most substitutions, only two have finished in the top half of the table (Villarreal and Athletic). So using five subs on a regular basis may not be the main reason for the club’s success.

In Germany, only a few teams used substitutions less often than Bayern and Borussia Dortmund, who finished in the top two places, although the rest of the top-placed clubs were more prolific.

Remarkably, for a team that regularly won games in comfort and had the opportunity to rest their players, PSG used five substitutions in just eight times in 38 matches (only Lyon, Borussia Mönchengladbach and La Spezia used substitutions less frequently in all leagues). Marseille and Lyon, the other two major Ligue 1 clubs, are also at the bottom of this list, while relegated sides Bordeaux and Saint-Étienne have made more substitutions than any other team.

A very different story in Serie A: Inter Milan stands out among our focus clubs and is the complete opposite of PSG, and manager Simone Inzaghi clearly takes it and makes all the changes in 35 of his club’s 38 Serie A matches – a little more substitutions than a relegation Spice.

This tells us that the number of substitutions made is not consistently correlated with league position, and in fact, in the vast majority of cases, the biggest clubs make fewer changes.

How will this affect the scores?

“In this country, we hide behind the fact that: “It helps them, I don’t understand how it helps us,” Klopp said.

It has been a recurring theme to consider only how changing the rules can benefit those with the resources, not how it can be beneficial to all teams both tactically and in terms of player welfare.

The figures for European leagues in 2021-22 paint a picture where, overall, teams with the most resources won no more than others.

We looked at how the score changed after each club made its fifth substitution by calculating the total number of points scored from that point. Atlético Madrid lead the way in Spain (more on that later), but that’s not a consistent pattern among focus clubs.

Ligue 1 team Nice won the most last season with 12 points, followed by French teams Reims and Atlético Madrid with 11 points.

In fact, of the 16 teams in the top four positions in this league table, three have qualified for the Champions League, eight have finished in the top half, three in the bottom half and two have been relegated. Atlético was the only team in our focus group to make it into the top 16.

For most clubs, especially in Germany, the use of five substitutions had little to no effect on their points total.

When do focus clubs make their fifth substitution?

The biggest clubs don’t make early tactical changes to try and change the game when they’re not winning.

For example, PSG never made five substitutions in four lost games last season; out of eight games they used all five, they won seven of them. Bayern used all substitutions only once in five defeats, while Borussia Dortmund four times in nine defeats.

This is usually done when the focus club wins a match (and in the case of multiple teams with a high score). Take PSG, for example, where Mauricio Pochettino used five substitutions in eight games, where the overall score was 27-1. This is even more impressive for Bayern, who are 73-17 on 20 occasions and only had one goal in three of the 17 games won.

The fifth change also tends to happen late in the game, usually in the last 10 minutes, leaving much less time for the subs to take effect. This suggests that the five substitutions are being used more as a player welfare tool to allow players to rest who may be suffering from fatigue rather than as a tactical game change.

Does five extra players earn more net points for focus clubs?

We take the points the focus club has gained after five substitutions and then subtract the points lost after five substitutions.

Something very different happens in La Liga, where all three of the strongest teams win, and in total they score 16 points.

Atlético have been by far the most successful as manager Diego Simeone has tended to make further changes a little earlier than other focus clubs (a trend that applies to all three La Liga focus clubs) and much more often when he is not in a winning position. positions. In fact, of the 24 times Atlético made five substitutions, 14 of them were tied or lost (of the 10 focus clubs, only Juventus made more total substitutions losing points than winning). out of eight points.

At Juventus, this did not happen: coach Massimiliano Allegri scored only one extra point, despite the fact that in 10 cases when he did not win, he used five substitutions. To make matters worse for Allegri, he lost five points from winning positions after five substitutions. Atlético (three points) and Napoli (four points) were the only other focus clubs to lose points in the win.

With Atlético, Barça and Real Madrid all accumulating more points than any other of the major clubs, does that tell us more about the competitive balance in La Liga? Will it be repeated in the Premier League? In the case of Liverpool and Manchester City, they could follow Bayern and PSG by using more substitutions when they are in a strong winning position. At the same time, Guardiola used fewer substitutions last season than any other manager (averaging just 2.1 per game). Most other Premier League clubs were close to the maximum average of three per game, with Klopp using 2.9.

How about late goals for focus clubs?

Given that the fifth substitution usually comes late in the game, has this resulted in more goals for the focus clubs towards the end of the match?

Once again, Atlético were top scorers with 10 points after 85 minutes on their fifth substitution. They won another 6 points with fewer than five substitutions, indicating that the tally may be related to fitness and tactics rather than the number of changes made, especially since any other club has scored the most points with five substitutions. over the last two seasons. was the 4th player selected by Barcelona in each of the last two campaigns.

On top of that, last season PSG scored 12 points thanks to late goals but only two came from five substitutions, while Barcelona scored 17 points in 2018/19 when only three substitutions were possible.

In terms of goals and points, Atlético, Real Madrid, Juventus, Milan and PSG have scored more than both in both competitions.