Reiss Nelson’s dramatic winner against Bournemouth was his third goal as a sub in the Premier League this season which got us thinking about which manager has the best record for sending on goalscorers this season. The number one isn’t a shock, while the presence in the top four of a man who believes Davinson Sanchez for Dejan Kulusevski represents a suitable change in the last 10 minutes of a knockout game when you are 1-0 down on aggregate is a bit more surprising, until you dig a little deeper into those numbers…
10. Jesse Marsch (Leeds) – 3 goals
Erstwhile Leeds boss Marsch is one of an eclectic mix of the departed, the newcomers and the Steve Coopers to have produced three goalscoring substitutes this season. But we’re giving Marsh 10th place here because his subs chipped in a vaguely ludicrous seven assists on top of those three goals. On goal involvement, Marsch’s subs would put him fourth. Not enough to save his job, but still. Well done.
9. Brendan Rodgers (Leicester) – 4 goals
Four goals from four different scorers – hats off to anyone who got Marc Albrighton as well as Jamie Vardy, Patson Daka and Dennis Praet. Daka is the only one of those four for whom the sub goal doesn’t represent their entire Premier League scoring output for the season.
8. Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) – 4 goals
Even for an occasionally and bafflingly substitute-averse manager, that feels a low number for the league’s top goalscorers. And one of those four came from Erling Haaland in his only substitute appearance of the season, so that doesn’t really count anyway does it? Pep really does make fewer changes than others, though. Just 84 substitutions in 26 games, lower than almost every other manager who’s been around the whole season. The one exception? Mr David Moyes, who has also made 84 substitutions. There beginneth and endeth the list of stats where Guardiola and Moyes cannot be separated.
7. Roberto De Zerbi (Brighton) – 5 goals
A very strong number from just 63 substitutions. Should probably put him above the other fives, but we’ve already set our stall out to use assists as a tiebreaker and there’s only a couple here for a manager about to be linked with every single high-profile job going. And probably the Spurs post too.
6. Thomas Frank (Brentford) – 5 goals
Vitaly Janelt and Yoane Wissa are among the group of 14 players in the Premier League this season with a pair of goals to their name after stepping off the bench.
5. Marco Silva (Fulham) – 5 goals
Manor Solomon has propelled his manager up this list in recent weeks, scoring in each of his last four league games despite playing a combined total of just 146 minutes in those games and crucially starting only the once.
4. Antonio Conte (Tottenham) – 5 goals
Fair to say the substitution that Conte’s Spurs reign is remembered for won’t be any of these successful goalscoring ones. Who would have thought that bringing Davinson Sanchez on for Dejan Kulusevski when chasing a goal in the last 10 minutes of a match would backfire? Easy for us to sit here and judge in hindsight, isn’t it? Anyway, in the Premier League, Conte’s done okay. Or has he? Hmm? Has he? Because four of those five goals have come in the 67 minutes Son Heung-min has spent on the pitch as a substitute this season. In contrast, the 1800-odd minutes he’s spent on the pitch as a starter have produced just one goal. Whether the four and the one would be any different who knows, but as an example of Conte’s stubborn refusal to deviate from a set plan (as well as, in fairness, Son’s regression and Richarlison’s disappointing ropeyness) it’s pretty hard to top.
3. Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) – 6 goals
Decent number of goals, but they’ve also come from 108 substitutions, which is the most for any manager as long as we fudge things a little bit and don’t add Graham Potter’s Brighton and Chelsea numbers together. Because that comes to 112 and spoils things. So balls to that. Klopp has made the most substitutions is the fact.
2. Mikel Arteta (Arsenal) – 6 goals
Only half of those goals are from Reiss Nelson, but it seems unlikely any will come along to top his Federico Macheda moment against Bournemouth. Great goal, great celebrations. Might even be a title winner. Nelson’s 87 minutes as a Premier League substitute this season have also produced a couple of assists to go with those three goals, which is the same number of substitute goal contributions as Newcastle have managed all season.
1. Erik ten Hag (Manchester United) – 9 goals
And top of the tree, a full three goals clear of the pack, is the arch mid-game tactician and tinkerman himself. And unlike others there’s a decent spread of players chipping in for Ten Hag. Alejandro Garnacho, Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho all have two goals as subs this season, with Marcus Rashford, Fred and some bloke called Cristiano Ronaldo also on target from the bench.
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