Date: 10th August 2018 at 9:32am
Written by:

Written by kirsikka

Arter leaving today gave me pause for thought on the gradual first-team choice changes we’ve witnessed since Eddie Howe rejoined. There hasn’t really been a ‘big bang’ overhaul that you see at some clubs. Not really surprising but I thought I’d look into it a little further.

I used stats from transfermarkt on appearances and minutes played allied to my possibly dodgy memory to allow, for example, a January signing like Yann Kermorgant to be in the team of that year as opposed to another player who may have been there the whole season. I’ve tried to identify who would be the starting XI for that season on the last day of the year based on their overall contribution. This isn’t about the squad, this is about the much talked about first choice XI.

There are some tough calls in there, for example, Francis ahead of A Smith last year where you could easily argue that Adam Smith could also be put in as a winger. I think this is the season where one or the other of those two, or possibly even Steve Cook, will miss out properly. There’s always a subjective element to these things.

For anyone wondering where Wilshere is, he played a lot of minutes and looked a class above at times but was on the bench before his injury at the end of the season. It was another one that could have gone either way.

The main thing I took from this is that it’s generally 2-3 changes per season. In the 15/16 season I think it would have been 3 rather than 4 but for injury to Callum Wilson.

Last season was actually the biggest movement we’ve seen. Again you could argue the Dan Gosling/Drew Surman choice which would make it one less if you went with Drew but basing it on who you’re picking at the end of the season I think it has to be Dan. Unfortunately for him, I think his position will very quickly be under threat again, not only from Surman again but also from Jefferson Lerma.

Given that, 3 summer incoming players, of which David Brooks is likely one to be challenging for consistent starts next season, seems about par for the course. Should Diego Rico displace Charlie Daniels (we’ll see on that) and Smith come back into the side (as you would expect) that would leave only Francis or S Cook as a first choice survivor from the League One days.

Meanwhile, in the background and as part of the larger squad there are still a number of players that have been part of the whole journey. You would think that would be good for squad harmony and team spirit to keep some of the togetherness ongoing. In that context, keeping hold of, for example, Marc Pugh makes much more sense.

It really is a first XI that has evolved over time.

Here are those teams…

— Season 2012/13 (League 1) —
Allsop
Daniels
S Cook
Elphick
Francis
Pugh
O’Kane
Arter
Ritchie
Grabban
Pitman

— Season 2013/14 (Championship) (3 changes) —
Camp
Daniels
S Cook
Elphick
Francis
Pugh
Surman
Arter
Ritchie
Grabban
Kermorgant

— Season 2014/15 (Championship) (2 changes) —
Boruc
Daniels
S Cook
Elphick
Francis
Pugh
Surman
Arter
Ritchie
Wilson
Kermorgant

— Season 2015/16 (PL) (4 changes) —
Boruc
Daniels
S Cook
Francis
Smith
Stanislas
Surman
Arter
Ritchie
Afobe
King

— Season 2016/17 (PL) (2 changes) —
Boruc
Daniels
S Cook
Francis
Smith
Stanislas
Surman
Arter
Fraser
King
Wilson

— Season 2017/18 (PL) (5 changes) —
Begovic
Daniels
Ake
S Cook
Francis
Ibe
Gosling
L Cook
Fraser
King
Wilson

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