After recently analysing when Tottenham scored and conceded their goals last season, it is now time to take a look at when Mauricio Pochettino made his subs in the 2017/18 Premier League campaign. If there was or perhpas still is one criticism of the Argentine, it is that he supposedly makes his subs too late.

Is this an unfair stick to beat him with and do the numbers perhaps tell a different story, thanks to I have collated all the subs that were made over the course of the season and like the goal data have broken it down into 15 minute segments.

There were 109 subs made out of a possible 114, here is how they were split out:

1–15 16–30 31–45 Half Time 46–60 61–75 76–90 90+ Total
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Club Subs 0 0 1 1 5 40 56 6 109
Split % 0.00% 0.00% 0.92% 0.92% 4.59% 36.70% 51.38% 5.50%

Bar a half time substitution made by Mauricio Pochettino in the home win over Crystal Palace last November which saw Harry Winks replace Moussa Dembele and an enforced early change away at Bournemouth which led to the injury of Harry Kane all of Pochettino’s subs came in the second half.

Admittedly that is not to be unexpected as a multitude of early substitutions would signify that tactically you havegot things wrong, but it is the splits after the restart that create the most interest. If we go back to the hypotheseis that Pochettino makes his substitutions too late, then here we can see that just over half of these were made in the final 15 minute segment of the game.

56 of the 109 subs that Pochettino made during the 2017/18 campaign were made between the minutes 76 to 90 and that figure goes up to 62 if we include second half injury time. The next highest figure is 40 subs made just after the hour but before the start of the 75th minute.

But ultimately these are just numbers that have been bunched together, so perhaps we need to add a bit more context to those figures and perhaps drill a bit deeper. Let’s now take a look at whether these subs were made during a game that has been won, drawn or lost.

Firstly lets take a look at the split of subs made depending on the match outcome:

Outcome Count %
W 67 61.47%
D 22 20.18%
L 20 18.35%

As you can see just over two fifths of all the subs that were made by Mauricio Pochettino last season where made during games that Tottenham won, of course this figure is going to be inflated due to the fact that Tottenham won more games than the lost or drew

But out of those 67 subs, how where they split when spread out across 15 minute segments

Tottenham Win
1–15 16–30 31–45 Half Time 46–60 61–75 76–90 90+ Total
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Club Subs 0 0 0 1 4 18 41 3 67
Split % 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1.49% 5.97% 26.87% 61.19% 4.48%

Here it is now over 61% of subs that are made in the minutes between 76 to 90, this would indicate that subs have been made to see a game out or to give players off the bench some game time with the result almost a mere formality

How does this compare to when Tottenham drew last season:

Tottenham Draw
1–15 16–30 31–45 Half Time 46–60 61–75 76–90 90+ Total
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Club Subs 0 0 0 0 1 12 7 2 22
Split % 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 4.55% 54.55% 31.82% 9.09%

Here the bulk of the subs are made slightly earlier, this indicates that a change has been made to try and turn the tide of the game and nick a winner, unfortunately though as we are looking at data from drawn matches this has proven not to be the case

We’ve looked at wins and draws but what about losses:

Tottenham Lost
1–15 16–30 31–45 Half Time 46–60 61–75 76–90 90+ Total
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Club Subs 0 0 0 0 1 10 8 1 20
Split % 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 5.00% 50.00% 40.00% 5.00%

Here we can see that in the game’s Tottenham lost, Mauricio Pochettino made 10 of the 20 subs in the segement between minute 61 and 75. So perhaps here you could argue that the subs are not all that late, plus another fact or to keep in mind is just when Tottenham would have entered a losing position.

In the defeat to Chelsea, all three subs were made while Tottenham were in a losing position – remember this happened twice. Two subs were made while 1-0 down the other after Marcos Alonso scored his second

In the defeat to Manchester United. a double sub was made on 62 minutes with the game at 0-0 and with nine minutes of the game remaining Anthony Martial scored the game’s only goal

In the defeat to Arsenal, Tottenham were already 2-0 down by the time the first substitution was made. Two more were made but did little to turn the tide of the game

In the defeat to Leicester, Tottenham were already 2-0 down by the time the first substitution was made. Two more were made but Harry Kane could only score a scant consolation

In the defeat to Manchester City at The Etihad, the first substitution was made with Tottenham again 2-0 down, you could argue those subs were made worse as they went on to lose 4-1

In the defeat to Manchester City at Wembley, the first substitution was made at 2-1 down and City would go on to score one more as they edged ever closer to the Premier League title.

While the defeat to West Brom saw all three subs made before Jake Livermore scored in the final seconds of the game

So in six of the seven defeats last season, Tottenham were chasing the game and the subs that came on did very little to change the game, therefore perhaps it is not when the subs are made but the personnel which entered the field of play as a replacement.

Some other points of note to mention, the most popular minute that Pochettino made a sub last season was 74 this happened on no fewer than 10 occasions, with the 77th minute being the number of choice seven times and also six second half injury time subs.

When Tottenham won last season the most popular substitution was on the 74th, 78th and 82nd minutes this happened on five occasions each

When Tottenham drew last season the most popular substitution was again the 74th minute which five subs made on this particular minute

When Tottenham lost last season the most most popular substitution was the 62nd minute, this includes a double substitution that was made at Old Trafford.

So there you have it, plenty of numbers for you to digest and for you to also no doubt draw your own conclusions from, feel free to leave some feedback on the article below and also feel free to comment on Tottenham’s season, do the numbers tell the full story. I will leave that up to you to decide.


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