The transfer market in British football is polarised. £420 million was spent by the collective…
Your team is struggling to get a foothold in the game and trail their opponents; you’re screaming out for something to change. Every single club would love to have a super sub to turn to when this troublesome situation arises.
With the split fast approaching, this type of player is worth their weight in gold. Simply put, they could be the difference between survival and relegation from the Premiership or even finishing second instead of fourth.
We looked at the data to see which players made the biggest impact when coming off the bench for their respective clubs.
Having a player that can come onto the pitch and make a lasting impact really is a great weapon to have at any team’s disposal. Whether that’s scoring goals or helping to create them, a player who can hit the ground running and the influence the game from the bench is a priceless asset.
The graph above highlights the best-performing substitutes from Premiership clubs this season in terms of goalscoring. Out of them, Leigh Griffiths has played the most minutes from the bench but he doesn’t have the best scoring record. That accolade belongs to Ross County’s Alex Schalk who has scored a remarkable five goals after coming on as a substitute this season. This is impressive given that’s almost half of his overall goal tally this season. Following his hat-trick against Partick Thistle, it would be surprising to see the Dutch striker not starting for County as they battle relegation.
The rest of our super subs have all scored two goals but that stat doesn’t tell the full story. When we look at goals per 90 minutes the outlook completely changes. Hamilton captain Dougie Imrie tops the charts in this metric (1.00) as he scored on both of his substitute appearances this season. This is perhaps skewed in his favour given that he’s only played 67 minutes from the bench this campaign. That said, it’s a good return nonetheless.
After Imrie, James Forrest is the best player in terms of his goals per game ratio. The Celtic winger has a return of 0.50 goals per 90 minutes. However, it can be argued that Schalk again is the best here. The Ross County hitman has played significantly more game time from the bench than either Imrie or Forrest but still has a goal per game average of 0.45. Maybe on second thoughts, Ross County should continue to play him from the bench!
Elsewhere, both David Milinkovic and Thomas Mikkelson have scored two goals. However, it’s the Ross County man who has a better goal per 90 minutes average with 0.29 compared to Milinkovic’s 0.22.
It’s not just scoring goals but also creating them which make a sub effective. The players in the graph below are the best in the league when it comes to chipping in with assists from the bench.
No player in the Premiership has provided more than two assists after coming on as a sub. As the table highlights as well as scoring goals, Schalk and Milinkovic also turn provider after coming off the bench. Both have chipped in with two assists and this is matched by Motherwell’s Craig Tanner and Partick Thistle’s Kris Doolan.
All five players have played over 200 minutes so their assists per 90 give us a very good indication of just how super they are as subs. It’s in this metric that Milinkovic excels. He’s got the best assists per game at 0.22 and is closely followed by Motherwell’s Craig Tanner with 0.20. Schalk (0.18) isn’t too far behind and has an impressive assists rate from the bench given how much he also scores.
Perhaps the most noticeable take away from this is how vital Schalk could be post-split. As County battle relegation they have a player who looks to be bang in form providing both goals and assists. The question is, will he be doing this from the bench or is he now a guaranteed starter?