The Premier League’s Biggest Changes In Styles

The Premier League’s Biggest Changes In Styles

From Newcastle United under Eddie Howe to David Moyes at West Ham, we take a look at which teams in the Premier League have undergone style transplants since last year.

Nobody likes being taken off in the middle of a game. We take a look at the highest-scoring players who constantly see their number on the fourth official’s electric board.

Changing Styles

Muhammad Ali once said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. In Premier League parlance, that saying might go something like this: ‘everyone has a plan until they find themselves sandwiched between Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth at the bottom of the table.’

Some teams with idealistic managers find themselves having to adapt to more pragmatic tactics to match the realities of the quality of their squad. Others, like David Moyes at West Ham, find themselves fighting against their natural aversion to risk.

Brighton’s ascension under Roberto De Zerbi continues unbated. The Seagulls are playing some beautiful football, and have moved even deeper into the bottom-right quadrant in the viz above. When you’re moving closer to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, you know you’re doing something right. Brighton were always progressive under Graham Potter but they’ve taken that to a whole new level this year.

Only two teams (City and Chelsea) average more passes per sequence than Brighton’s 4.1 and similarly only City (14.9s) and Arsenal (11.4s) hold onto possession for longer on average than Brighton’s 11 seconds. In 2021-22 Brighton ranked eight and seventh in those metrics respectively. They’re also averaging over four more 10+ pass open-play sequences this season compared to last.

Both Manchester United and Tottenham are going slightly more direct this season versus last. Both squads play in systems that look to maximise the benefit of transitions, and boast players in the forward line who love breaking on the counter. 

Changes Without The Ball

West Ham and Crystal Palace are the two teams allowing more sequences with 10 or more passes against them this season compared to last. 3.3 and 3.4 more per game respectively.

On the other end of the change spectrum, Newcastle United have been completely transformed under Eddie Howe. They are allowing 7.7 fewer sequences with 10 or more passes against them per game. The Magpies were allowing 13.18 of such sequences and that has dropped to just 5.80. They want the ball and they want it now.

They allow 4.1 fewer passes per defensive action since last season. The average sequence time against them has seen the biggest drop in the league too – down 2.22 seconds on last year.

They have 1.89 more high turnovers per game this season compared to last and only Arsenal (1.37) are anywhere near them in how much they have changed in that metric. 

The teams going in the opposition direction? It’s not West Ham but Liverpool. They have 2.22 fewer high turnovers per game than they did last season.

Robert De Zerbi and Eddie Howe have Brighton and Newcastle United fighting in a completely different way than last season. They find themselves at the top of the table. David Moyes has changed West Ham’s style too and they can’t land a punch.

The Most Subbed Off Players In Europe

We’ve all been there. The game is in full flow and things are starting to happen. Your manager signals to the referee that he wants to make a change. You wait for what seems like an eternity before realising it’s you.

Yep, you’re being hauled off.

Some players hide their disappointment better than others. Some hang their head and sulk to the bench. Others mutter expletives under their breath. Which players have the most reason to be upset for being subbed off constantly this year?

Brahim Diaz has started 25 games and been subbed off in 25 games this season. Brecht Dejaegere is exactly the same (25 in 25).

Raphinha recently had a go at Xavi on the Barcelona sideline after being substituted against Manchester United. He might have had a point too. He has scored nine goals but is being subbed off in 60.5% of games this season.

For players with more than 10 goals this season, Michael Gregoritsch has been subbed off in the highest percentage of his games (82.3%). Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, the breakout star in Europe this year has 14 goals but has been hauled off in 80% of his appearances (30 appearances, 24 curly fingers). 

Substitutions are not always made because of poor performance but it must get tiring as the team’s talisman to rarely finish a game.

The Analyst

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