Ranking Premier League sides on FA Cup changes: Spurs learn lesson as Chelsea make ‘strong’ call

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Joined: Nov 2016

Spurs and Ange Postecoglou learned from their Carabao mistakes in the FA Cup. Fulham and Bournemouth made wholesale changes and still won in the third round.

1) Fulham – eight changes

Faced: Rotherham (1-0 win)

Previous game: Arsenal (2-1 win)

Break: Five days

Out: Leno, Bassey, Robinson, Palhinha, Cairney, Iwobi, Willian and Jimenez

In: Rodak, Diop, Tete, Reed, Lukic, Wilson, Pereira and Muniz

“It’s not the best performance when you have so many changes in the XI,” Marco Silva said of Fulham’s one-goal vanquishing of Rotherham. “They have the quality to start a Premier League game but, when you change seven or eight from one game to another, it will always have an impact.”

Bobby De Cordova-Reid was one of three players – Tosin Adarabioyo and Timothy Castagne the others – to retain their Premier League starting place as Fulham dominated Championship opposition without ever putting them out of sight. Marek Rodak has not lost a single game for the Cottagers since August 2022.

2) Bournemouth – seven changes

Faced: QPR (3-2 win)

Previous game: Spurs (3-1 defeat)

Break: Six days

Out: Neto, Smith, Zabarnyi, Ouattara, Christie, Kluivert and Solanke

In: Travers, Aarons, Mepham, Brooks, Scott, Billing and Moore

Two-nil down to Championship opposition at half-time, Andoni Iraola told his players “to attack faster, be more vertical, use the space and make them run backwards”.

The Bournemouth manager also made clear the peripheral place Chris Mepham and David Brooks have in this squad, taking both off at the break to aid what was ultimately a comfortable turnaround; Philip Billing impressed on what has become a rare start, with Kieffer Moore scoring a trademark goal to equalise in the eventual win.

Justin Kluivert celebrates scoring for AFC Bournemouth.

=3) Burnley – five changes

Faced: Spurs (1-0 defeat)

Previous game: Aston Villa (3-2 defeat)

Break: Six days

Out: Trafford, Beyer, Gudmundsson, Berge and Brownhill

In: Muric, Delcroix, Zaroury, Ramsey and Cullen

There was no shame in defeat to Spurs for Vincent Kompany, who might take solace in the clarification provided in this most difficult of seasons: the solitary focus over the final months is survival.

Aro Muric probably won’t be too involved in that battle, with his opportunities to rotate with Trafford now eradicated. Only centre-half Delcroix of the five players coming into the side made a truly compelling case to stay there.

=3) Sheffield United – five changes

Faced: Gillingham (4-0 win)

Previous game: Manchester City (2-0 defeat)

Break: Six days

Out: Baldock, Trusty, Bogle, Souza and Ben Slimane

In: Seriki, Norrington-Davies, McAtee, Hamer and Archer

The turnaround was a little too soon for Ben Brereton Diaz, who debuted from the bench at Priestfield with the tie relatively safe. But Sheffield United altered half their outfield side and delivered only a third win of the entire season – and first by more than a single goal.

James McAtee made the most of his chance with two goal and an assist.

=5) Aston Villa – four changes

Faced: Middlesbrough (1-0)

Previous game: Burnley (3-2 win)

Break: Seven days

Out: Carlos, Luiz, Diaby and Watkins

In: Cash, Kamara, Dendoncker and Duran

Unai Emery could hardly draft Boubacar Kamara back into the side fast enough once the midfielder had served his suspension, with agent of chaos Jhon Duran finally smashing the 45-minute barrier for a domestic Aston Villa appearance by lasting 70.

Matty Cash was the unlikely saviour preventing the addition of another game to a packed schedule with his late deflected winner.

=5) Brentford – four changes

Faced: Wolves (1-1 draw)

Previous game: Crystal Palace (3-1 defeat)

Break: Six days

Out: Flekken, Ghoddos, Janelt and Wissa

In: Strakosha, Damsgaard, Dasilva and Maupay

Thomas Frank stopped the run of five consecutive defeats and vaguely righted the heaviest of those losses by forcing a third-round replay with Wolves, making four alterations to his depleted side in their final match without Ivan Toney.

Neal Maupay scored the equaliser but Mikkel Damsgaard was the most impressive of those drafted in. In his only Premier League start this season, the Dane came off after 68 minutes with the Bees 1-0 up against Aston Villa; they would go on to lose 2-1. Brentford have conceded a single goal in Damsgaard’s 233 minutes on a Premier League pitch this season and really do need any even vaguely positive momentum at the minute, with Dasilva’s first appearance since August a similar boost.

=5) Brighton – four changes

Faced: Stoke (4-2 win)

Previous game: West Ham (0-0 draw)

Break: Four days

Out: Verbruggen, Webster, Milner and Welbeck

In: Steele, Dunk, Moder and Ferguson

Roberto De Zerbi “asked them to play seriously like it’s in the Europa League or the Premier League and they did brilliantly” against Stoke, with Brighton at this stage very much well-versed in the art of swapping and switching around.

Lewis Dunk even helped himself to a goal upon the captain’s return from suspension, with Brighton now only losing one of their last eight games across three different competitions.

=5) Chelsea – four changes

Faced: Preston (4-0)

Previous game: Luton (3-2 win)

Break: Seven days

Out: Silva, Gallagher, Madueke and Jackson

In: Gilchrist, Fernandez, Sterling and Mudryk

“This is a big competition for us and we want to make sure we get through,” said Mauricio Pochettino of the “strong team” he chose to host Championship side Preston. Mission accomplished.

Three of those who came into the starting line-up cost a combined £242m or so; Alfie Gilchrist most certainly did not. The 20-year-old had a fine game, as did most in Chelsea blue.

=9) Everton – three changes

Faced: Crystal Palace (0-0 draw)

Previous game: Wolves (3-0 defeat)

Break: Five days

Out: Pickford, Patterson and Keane

In: Virginia, Coleman and Danjuma

The limp defeat and entirely botched formation deployed last time out against Wolves necessitated some degree of change from Everton, who ditched the five-man defence for some appalling fare at Selhurst Park.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s horrific tackle on Nathaniel Clyne gave the game at least one talking point come full-time, while Joao Virginia’s smart stoppage-time save from Eberechi Eze kept those perennial Everton cup hopes alive. Jordan Pickford probably won’t be panicking for his place just yet, mind.

=9) Wolves – three changes

Faced: Brentford (1-1 draw)

Previous game: Everton (3-0 win)

Break: Six days

Out: Dawson, Ait-Nouri and Hwang

In: Bueno, Doherty and Bellegarde

Gary O’Neil started life without impending Asian Cup star Hwang Hee-chan and AFCON-bound Rayan Ait-Nouri with a contentious draw against Brentford, in which Wolves lost Joao Gomes for three games to a moment of daftness.

Pedro Neto continued his return with a ninth assist in 12 games this season, although Tommy Doyle did most of the legwork for his goal.

=11) Crystal Palace – two changes

Faced: Everton (0-0 draw)

Previous game: Brentford (3-1 win)

Break: Five days

Out: Olise and Ayew

In: Franca and Schlupp

Roy Hodgson secured a replay neither team will cherish, having already displayed a certain aversion to squad rotation. The two changes he made against Everton were enforced, with Jordan Ayew linking up with Ghana and Michael Olise sidelined for the foreseeable with a hamstring injury.

The Frenchman had only just overcome such a problem, of course, missing the start of the season up until November before playing the full 90 minutes in seven of eight straight games. “I’m afraid people are going to pick up muscle injuries,” said Hodgson, his hands tied and his methodology somewhat archaic.

The manager tends to grasp any chance to use Jeffrey Schlupp, while Matheus Franca will surely cherish his first senior start in English football for the remainder of his career.

=11) Newcastle – two changes

Faced: Sunderland (3-0 win)

Previous game: Liverpool (4-2 defeat)

Break: Five days

Out: Livramento and Miley

In: Trippier and Almiron

Knowing full well he could not afford a Wear-Tyne derby defeat in the midst of this quite woeful run of form, Eddie Howe dragged a full-strength side to the Stadium of Light; considering the state of a Sunderland side gripped by stage fright, he needn’t have bothered.

Kieran Trippier made it through a game without falling over his own shoelaces, with Bruno Guimaraes utterly dominant as the Magpies bounced back from that Liverpool humbling.

=11) Spurs – two changes

Faced: Burnley (1-0 win)

Previous game: Bournemouth (3-1 win)

Break: Five days

Out: Sarr and Son

In: Skipp and Kulusevski

Ange Postecoglou chucked the Carabao away back in August and was not about to repeat that mistake, sticking all the stars in his side for the visit of what technically remains Premier League opposition in Burnley.

The Spurs manager was obviously taking things very seriously as Bayern-bound Eric Dier was nowhere to be seen. Postecoglou’s only two changes were of the injured Sarr and South Korea captain Son.


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