The 5 Sub Rule: To 'keep or not to 'keep?
This week we learned that the upcoming season will see something a ruling change that will come as nothing new to us Pompey fans; that the substitutes bench this season in the Championship will only contain 5 players, reduced from the allotted 7 from last season (the FA and Carling Cup will remain at 7). Of course, due to our small squad, this will probably affect other clubs a lot more than us.
But with this in mind, I brought up the thought of how this might take effect on new tactics in terms of what positions a manager could/should name for maximum potential, and an interesting concept is making what is essentially an 'extra space' by forfeiting the obligatory space allotted for a sub keeper. Is this a risk that would pay off? Well I tried to answer my own question by fishing out my research hat and found the following statistics...
Over the last decade we have 13 goalkeepers, namely:
During that time they have played 396 games between them but only twice was there a need for a substitution to take place, with those occasions being.
(1). Shaka Hislop being replaced by Yoshi Kawaguchi vs Bradford on 04-05-2003: This substitution was pre-planned before the game, as Yoshi was appearing in what would be his last act for the club. There was no injury, it was done on merit alone. It was the last game of the season when we had already won the league. Wasn't a necessity and could have been arranged to have him on the bench before hand seen as it was planned.
(2). David James being replaced by Asmir Begovic vs Arsenal on 22-08-2009: David James had a slight injury to his left knee and was taken off with 15 minutes remaining when with the scoreline at 4-1 to Arsenal with upcoming domestic and International fixtures in mind. It was more precautionary that necessary, and if push came to shove he'd probably have been able to see out the last quarter of an hour.
That's it! A decade of games checked and they were the only two instances of this, and these both seemed totally avoidable.
So is it plausible that we should consider this tactic. Having 2 strikers, 2 midfielders (1 attacking and 1 defensive) and a defender on the bench seems a lot more resourceful than having to miss out on one of these players. In my own opinion the rewards greatly outweigh the risks here.
Another scenario is that our keeper receives a red card. It hasn't happened in my last decade of research, and to be honest, if it did happen, who's to say we hadn't used all 3 subs or been too far behind to make a difference anyway. As an emergency plan, I bet Halford is actually a decent 'keeper!
Of course, another rather large elephant in the room that I'm overlooking is our squad size might not cater for 5 subs in the first place, in which case this whole article is irrelevant, but for arguments sake let's pretend for now that we do have these resources.
Just something to ponder over, you may agree or disagree, but do share your opinion.Written by PompeyFrippy
.The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.