The option to perform five substitutions, which LaLiga approved –as well as other organizations– on the return of football after the start of the pandemic, opened a new dimension. An open door to the approach of the matches, to the strategy of the coaches, who Espanyol is employing thoroughly this season. Its about Second team that makes the most changes. Which is not to say that it has a positive impact on the bottom line.

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* Data updated as of November 23, 2020

Vicente Moreno has exhausted the changes in 12 of the 13 days. 64 out of 65 possible. The podium was completed by Rayo Vallecano, with 62, and Ponferradina, with 61. It was precisely in this past match, against Girona, the first time that the parakeet coach kept one of the five bullets in the bedroom. And also the first comeback against a Espanyol that tries to squeeze the most of its inexhaustible closet fund, with substitutes that in most teams in the category would be from the game. Pol Lozano, for example, is the most recurring entry (in eight games), followed by Óscar Gil (seven). Conversely, Óscar Melendo (nine times) and Fran Mérida (seven) are the most substituted.

But nevertheless, the changes are not paying off. The last games are the most incontestable evidences. Against Lugo, and especially against Fuenlabrada and against Girona, Espanyol's result was better with the initial team than from the moment of the first substitution onwards. The same had happened in the hands of Rayo Vallecano, Mirandés and Ponferradina. That is to say, in six of the last eight days. A worrying fact.

Before and after changes

Match Before changes After changes Final score
Espanyol-Albacete 2-0 (3 points) 1-0 (3 points) 3-0 (3 points)
Espanyol-Mallorca 0-0 (1) 0-0 (1) 0-0 (1)
Oviedo-Espanyol 0-0 (1) 0-2 (3) 0-2 (3)
Sabadell-Espanyol 0-0 (1) 0-1 (3) 0-1 (3)
Espanyol-Alcorcón 0-0 (1) 1-0 (3) 1-0 (3)
Rayo Vallecano-Espanyol 0-0 (1) 1-0 (0) 1-0 (0)
Espanyol-Mirandés 2-0 (3) 0-0 (1) 2-0 (3)
Tenerife-Espanyol 0-0 (1) 0-0 (1) 0-0 (1)
Espanyol-Ponferradina 2-0 (3) 0-0 (1) 2-0 (3)
Malaga-Espanyol 0-1 (3) 0-2 (3) 0-3 (3)
Espanyol-Lugo 2-1 (3) 0-0 (1) 2-1 (3)
Fuenlabrada-Espanyol 0-1 (3) 1-0 (0) 1-1 (1)
Espanyol-Girona 1-0 (3) 0-2 (0) 1-2 (0)
points 27 twenty 27

Far are the three occasions in which the changes did contribute to positively deciding a match. It happened on the third, fourth and fifth day. Against OviedoMoreno turned to Raúl de Tomás, who scored the two winning goals. The same thing happened against Sabadell with Nico Melamed. And Espanyol had four substitutions when in front of the Alcorcón the victory goal arrived.

Between both parties, the conclusion is that, depending on the markers that the parakeet team has obtained as soon as it has moved its bench, currently it would add 20 of the 27 points which actually has. It would be far from the lead. For another analysis, what weighs more will remain: if the footballers who enter compared to those who leave, if the change of the coach's game plan or if the unconscious mentality of some players, who until now have never reached the final stretch of the game from behind on the scoreboard, to back down.