Adrian Clarke takes a look at the tactical trends of the 2018/19 Premier League.
Premier League managers showed more tactical bravery this season, with strike pairings coming back into fashion.
Deploying a lone centre-forward has long been the most popular strategy.
But of the 760 starting line-ups named in 2018/19, a total of 220, or 29 per cent, featured formations with two up top, the most-used systems being 4-4-2 and 4-2-2-2.
Mauricio Pochettino and Eddie Howe both used twin forwards more often than in the previous campaign, while Premier League newcomer Nuno Espirito Santo and the equally impressive Javi Gracia also consistently took this positive approach.
This trend looks set to continue.
|Nuno Espirito Santo||20|
Twelve months ago I discussed the wider tactical variety shown by PL managers and that theme has developed even further.
In 2017/18 a total of 18 managers used the same system in more than half of their matches.
But that figure dropped to only 13 in 2018/19, with many choosing to flit between shapes on a match-by-match basis.
The experienced Neil Warnock was the most flexible manager, tweaking his system with 11 varieties, with Pochettino just behind on 10.
Meanwhile, half-time substitutions leapt from 120 in 2017/18 to 140 this season, mainly thanks to Emery.
While his predecessor Arsene Wenger only made five changes at the interval in 2017/18, Emery was decisive when he felt the plan needed to change, making an incredible 23 half-time substitutions.
Part 2: Tactical review: Full-backs taking over from wingers
Part 3: Tactical review: Defenders the new pass masters
Part 4: Tactical review: Fouls dropping but penalties rising
Part 5: Tactical review: Goals galore in most prolific campaign