Here’s an idea that I don’t think we’ve tried before.
For the opening game, perm any 11 names from however many we have in the squad. Leave your most effective player on the bench. Include 3 right backs but don’t play any of them in that position (1 should be at LB even though you have at least 2 fit LBs - including one who is your most in-form player). If at home, start with 5 at the back, and go one up top but have them play out wide rather than central. If that isn’t working after 10 minutes, change to 4 at the back but replace a defender (the one who has been playing best up to now) with another defender (perhaps another right back?) that you play further forward as an attacking midfielder. Leave your most effective player on the bench. Give that formation another hour before chancing your arm with your remaining 4 sub’s in one go (and at least 2 more formation changes). Move your sole forward to the wing and put 2 non-forwards in his place. Leave your most effective player on the bench.
If that doesn’t work - mix it completely the next game with wholesale changes.
But if it does work - mix it up completely the next game with wholesale changes.
Anyone who hasn’t made the match squad for 10 games on the trot (20 if they look at you the wrong way during training) is automatically brought into the next starting XI and plays the full 90 minutes, but the following game is only on the bench (unused), and the one after that is back out in the cold again. NB Scoring a goal does not change this. Be sure not to let on whether this is due to form or injury and instead claim tactical genius and an almost zen-like approach to man management.
Also, only select half of any loan players that you have - the rest remain merely as names on the back of the programme never to be seen by fans before their loan is over. Those that do get picked get priority over permanent players no matter how good they are - but should be played out of position like everyone else.
It’s a formula that might just work …