Is the Premier League Europe’s Numero Uno?
bwin provide the ultimate league comparison as the season draws to an end
While the performances of English sides in Europe has fluctuated over the years, the plethora of playing talent, wealth and competitiveness has put the Premier League on a pedestal when compared to other European leagues. Ignoring the marketing spin and focusing on cool hard data, bwin has launched a comprehensive study and brand new website to provide the ultimate comparison of Europe’s top leagues.
Utilising a range of different data points including; competitiveness, financial clout, entertainment and promotion of home grown talent, the study compares the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1, throwing up up some interesting conclusions – with each league topping the table when measured on different factors.
Though the likes of Jose Mourinho can make a 0-0 seem almost epic, there is little argument that seeing the net ripple is what get the fans’ pulses rating. If it’s goals you’re after, it’s Germany’s Bundesliga that rules supreme with an average of 2.77 goals per game and over half (51%) of matches having over three or more goals. France’s Ligue 1 provides the stingiest experience, with a 2.44 goal average and only 43% of games resulting both teams netting at least three times. Perhaps surprisingly, the Premier League is the fourth most goal shy league of the ‘big five’ with an average of 2.55 goals per game, less than that of Serie A on 2.57 or La Liga on 2.61.
However, the Premier League, along with La Liga, can boast the fewest 0-0 bore-fests per season. Only 8% of the Spanish and English league fixtures result in goalless draws – it’s 10% with the Bundesliga and Ligue 1.
When it comes to finding the win, La Liga leads the way with 77% of all fixtures resulting in victory for one side. Those who like boosting accumulators with draws should look no further than Serie A – 33% of all games ended in a draw this season.
The Premier League’s competitiveness is one of its great selling points and the league does possess the lowest average first-to-second point gap. An average of only six points has separated the winners and runners-up in the Premier League. In this respect, the Bundesliga, largely thanks to the recent dominance of Bayern Munich, is the least competitive at the top with a 10-point gap separating first and second.
However, it’s a completely different story when looking beyond the title winners and table toppers. An average of 63 points separates first and last in the Premier League – the highest gap in any of the major divisions, implying a vast gap between the haves and have-nots. In contrast, the Bundesliga has a comparatively small gap of 52 points separating top and bottom. Critics of La Liga often point towards the lack of upsets in the league, but only 61 points – two less than the Premier League – separates the champions and relegation fodder. With 40, La Liga also has the highest average for the number of points required to ensure survival. This contrasts with 33 points for the Bundesliga and 36 in the Premier League.
In another blow for the Premier League’s competitiveness claims, there have only been seven different top-four finishers in the last decade and only three different champions in the same period. With the likes of France’s Ligue 1 providing six different champions and 14 different top-four finishers, it becomes clear that the Premier League’s top third has a familiar look at the end of each season.
When it comes to financial spending, the Premier League’s clout is almost without rival. Looking at the 2014/15 net spend, Premier League clubs outlaid €529,880,000. By comparison, the Bundesliga in second place was almost €300million behind with a net spend of €147,035,000 while Serie A was at €38,823,000.
In news that will make the Financial Fair Play sorts happy, La Liga and Ligue 1 both turned net profits with 60% of Spanish and 65% of French clubs showing a net profit p. In contrast, only four teams (20%) in the Premier League have made net profits on transfer receipts this year.
When it comes to individual signings, Real Madrid’s €100milion capture of Gareth Bale remains the standout record, with Angel Di Maria’s move to United at €80million the highest in the Premier League. The Bundesliga had the lowest blue ribbon signing, Javi Martinez to Bayern Munich, for €40,000,000.
Critics of the Premier League’s impact on the English national side have plenty of ammunition when looking at the starts handed to domestic players. Only 35% of players starting in the Premier League this season were English, a sizeable 10% less than the next ‘worse’, Serie A.
In this respect, La Liga leads the way with 58% of the 2014/15 starters eligible to play for Spain, followed by Ligue 1 with 52% and the Bundesliga with 48%. Given the success of these nations in recent international football, it seems criticism of the Premier League’s lack of regulation on home-grown talent is entirely warranted.
Perhaps more worrying, those clubs that did provide the most amount of domestic talent struggled this season with Burnley, QPR and West Ham providing the most starts to Englishmen. While West Ham had a comparatively successful season, Burnley and QPR were relegated with time to spare.
Jay Dossetter from bwin said;
“This study shows that, despite the comparatively small distances between the countries, European football remains a diverse. Be it the Premier League’s financial power or La Liga’s competitive success, the report paints the picture of a continent rich in football culture. As we enter the off-season, we feel there’s no clear winner provided by stats alone – it’s up to the fans to decide.”