Strength in depth is crucial to every Premier League side, whether their priority is to contest the title or merely avoid relegation.
The 25-man squad afforded to each club is supposed to be enough to deal with the fatigue, injuries and suspensions that inevitably occur throughout the season.
In addition to the 38 match days comprising a Premier League campaign, teams have to accommodate the same effects from participating in other competitions, too.
Every top-flight club starts the season with two other domestic tournaments to consider - three for those also involved in the Champions League or Europa League.
To quantify the strain on clubs, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have all played upwards of 50 matches to date this term.
- Salah floored Loftus-Cheek and Emerson v Chelsea
- Van Dijk: Nobody can claim to be the best defender
- Atalanta had 47 shots without scoring v Empoli
That’s a lot of football to spread across a comparatively small batch of players.
Such an intense schedule seems conducive to a situation where every player gets a decent number of minutes on the pitch every season.
However, reality tells us a very different story.
Thanks to Bwin, we can take a look at the Premier League stars who’ve spent the most minutes on the bench this season, including the time before and after a substitution is made.
Here’s the top ten…
Daniel Sturridge | 1 day, 15 hours and 13 minutes
Matej Vydra | 1 day, 14 hours and 50 minutes
Christian Fuchs | 1 day, 14 hours and 33 minutes
Lys Mousset | 1 day, 14 hours and 13 minutes
Adam Masina | 1 day, 12 hours and 5 minutes
Joel Ward | 1 day, 11 hours and 48 minutes
Morgan Gibbs-White | 1 day, 11 hours and 41 minutes
Shinji Okazaki | 1 day, 10 hours and 37 minutes
Leighton Baines | 1 day, 10 hours and 15 minutes
Phil Foden | 1 day, 10 hours and 14 minutes
That’s some decent quality going to waste, but for some, their season of thumb-twiddling was almost inevitable.
Take Daniel Sturridge for example. He can’t have returned from last season’s loan at West Brom and expected to break up Liverpool’s enviable frontline.
Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have contributed 49 goals to the Reds’ title charge, while Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi have ably stepped in when required.
As a result, Sturridge has come off the bench to make 14 of his 16 appearances this term.
Furthermore, 157 of his 337 total minutes have been as a substitute, which means when he doesn’t start, his contribution lasts just 11 minutes on average.
So, perhaps it’s no great surprise that Sturridge is the king of the bench.