Lucky or good management? Man City rely on fewest players in Prem to mount title charge

Manchester City have used three fewer players than anyone else in the Premier League this season and enter the run-in with no injuries, while nothing Forest or Chelsea try seems to work…

Here, from fewest to most, are the Premier League teams ranked on how many players they have used this season.


1) Manchester City – 22 players used
While their neighbours are dropping like flies, City have zero injuries ahead of their Champions League trip to Bayern Munich. Good fortune or good planning? Pep’s medics would doubtless argue the latter.


2) West Ham – 25
When David Moyes tried to make changes, six of them, last week in the Europa Conference clash with Genk it almost cost them. Moyes is nothing if not a creature of habit.


3) Brentford – 25
Look at Brentford, with their smart recruitment, intelligent use of data and low rate of absences. Smug b*stards.


4) Arsenal – 26
Part of the secret of Arsenal’s consistency through the first half of the season lay in Mikel Arteta’s preference for unchanged XIs, and the fact the Gunners’ rate of injury allowed him to maintain momentum through his selections. Gabriel Jesus is the only first-teamer to have missed a significant chunk of the season, though William Saliba’s injury is now a concern.


5) Newcastle – 26
Eddie Howe will need a bigger squad next season when European football becomes a concern. So it’s a good job his scouts are looking at 16 more players. Big names too.


6) Manchester United – 26
Erik ten Hag has had a hard time whittling down which players he can trust but since United have played more games than anyone else this season, it’s still a surprise to see them having used the joint-fourth fewest players in the Premier League. If he trusted more, perhaps he might have given Bruno a breather…

Read more: Bruno Fernandes way out in front as Europe’s most overworked player


7) Crystal Palace – 26
Twenty-six players but two completely different teams under Patrick Vieira then Roy Hodgson. Two ever-presents for Palace: Jordan Ayew and Eberechi Eze.


8) Brighton – 26
Lewis Dunk is yet to miss a minute in the Premier League this season, with Solly March and Pascal Gross joining the defender in featuring in every game this season. Six fewer players than Chelsea and half the number of managers.


9) Aston Villa – 26
Only five clubs have used more new recruits than Villa this term, though every player looks like a new signing under Unai Emery compared to the zombies turning out for Steven Gerrard.


10) Tottenham – 27
Twenty-seven players used but how many would Spurs fans choose to keep? Enough for a five-a-side team?


11) Liverpool – 27
Liverpool are firmly mid-table – literally, and in this ranking. But they have used fewer new signings than anyone else this term. The two things are probably linked.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates winning the FA Cup final in 2022.

12) Everton – 28
Frank Lampard could use injuries as an excuse for last season – which he did – and they have played a part again this term, especially for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.


13) Leeds – 28
Leeds would doubtless use more – 11 more, probably – if they could given where the current 28 have left them. They have the third-youngest squad in the league, which is no excuse for conceding 11 goals in their last two home games.


14) Leicester – 28
Injuries haven’t helped, especially in defence, but very few of the 28 players used by Brendan Rodgers and now Dean Smith appear to realise they are sleepwalking to the Championship. Not that it will be a problem for many of them, with seven senior players out of contract in the summer.


15) Fulham – 29
Fulham have the oldest average age in the Premier League this season, so it no wonder Marco Silva has rotated with all these creaking limbs.


16) Wolves – 31
Being bottom of the Fair Play table won’t help if all their players are getting themselves suspended.


17) Southampton – 31
Saints there, taking the ‘if you throw enough sh*t’ approach to squad management this term. Despite using so many players, Saints still have the lowest average age in the Premier League. Which will comfort them all the way to the Championship.

Read more: Ranking every 2022-23 Premier League club by average age of their starting XIs


18) AFC Bournemouth – 31
Scott Parker wouldn’t be surprised by Bournemouth’s high turnover since he was sacked for suggesting the Cherries were ‘underequipped’ at the highest kevel. Which seemed to be the case for much of the season but Gary O’Neil seems to be getting a tune out them just in time.


19) Chelsea – 32
All those signings, and all that money spent, and Todd Boehly is still embarrassed by what his many, many players are serving up.


20) Nottingham Forest – 33
We’re only surprised they’ve only used 33 players since they have a 427-man squad. Not that it seems to be doing them much good. Twenty-five of the 33 are new signings this season.

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