Goals Goals Goals

Every season fans, players and managers of the Premier League take great pride and joy in telling anyone who’ll listen how good the league is. ‘The Best League in the World’ has become the unofficial tag-line of the Premier League. Even abroad, few disagree that the Premier League (EPL) is an exciting league to watch, with end-to-end, fast-flowing, attacking football. The main criticism of Premier League football is that it is less about the tactics and science of the beautiful game and more about a ‘cock and balls’ mentality, based on pace and power, trademarks that the English game has long been associated with.

English football seems to be gaining ground on the technical ability of Spain following changes in club mentality, as English teams have adopted a more continental approach to the game from youth team levels to first team. It is not all positive as questions are becoming more frequent about whether Premier League sides are tactically aware enough. We have already seen Manchester United and Manchester City exit the Champions League, two teams that contain some of the world’s best players who currently lie first and second in the Premier League, but when it came to the more tactical Champions League games, it just all seemed to go wrong.

This season I have noticed the Premier League seeming to outscore its foreign counterparts. I decided to investigate how the Premier League compares against Europe’s top 4 leagues when it comes to goals-per-game averages to see if the Premier League was actually banging more goals than other leagues or if it was just a figment of my imagination:

League – 2011/12 Season

Total Games Played

Total Goals Scored

Goals-per-game Average

Premier League (England)

139

411

2.95

Bundesliga (Germany)

134

392

2.92

Ligue 1 (France)

160

419

2.61

Premira Liga (Spain)

141

368

2.60

Serie A (Italy)

129

304

2.35

The results are interesting. I was partially right in my thinking; the Premier League is racking up a hell of a lot of goals this season compared to other leagues. The Premier League has nearly out-scored France’s Ligue 1 even though French teams have played 21 games more. Spain’s Premira Liga sides have played two more games than sides in the EPL, but are 43 goals behind. Bundesliga sides continue to score at a rate just below that of the Premier League, supporting the notion that the Bundesliga is now one of the top 3 leagues in the world.

This left me thinking is it normal for the Premier League and Bundesliga to be so high in the scoring charts and also Ligue 1 – Where is the Premira Liga with the free-scoring Real Madrid and Barcelona? To get a better understanding I also looked at the final league tables over the past two seasons:

League – 2010/11 Season

Total Games Played

Total Goals Scored

Goals-per-game Average

Bundesliga (Germany)

306

894

2.92

Premier League (England)

380

1063

2.79

Premira Liga (Spain)

380

1042

2.74

Serie A (Italy)

380

955

2.51

Ligue 1 (France)

380

890

2.34

 

League – 2009/10 Season

Total Games Played

Total Goals Scored

Goals-per-game Average

Bundesliga (Germany)

306

866

2.83

Premier League (England)

380

1053

2.77

Premira Liga (Spain)

380

1031

2.71

Serie A (Italy)

380

992

2.61

Ligue 1 (France)

380

916

2.41

After looking at the stats for the 2010/11 and 2009/10 seasons you can clearly see there is a significant improvement in the goals-per-games average for Premier League sides this season with the league clearly scoring more goals on average. The Bundesliga has stayed pretty constant, steadily improving each year. So far this season, Spain’s Premira Liga has under-performed compared to previous seasons as their goal-to-game average is down, possibly suggesting either the overall league quality is down or that the Spanish game is becoming less attacking and more defensive. Ligue 1 is showing signs of significant improvement when it comes to goal-scoring, but obviously with more goals comes worse defensive records. We do need to remember that this season is not even half way through and the averages are likely to change.

Whether more goals correlate to the quality of a league is an ambiguous topic which would surely split opinion. More goals obviously equates to worse defensive records, which would be a point that many would argue. It could also point to an overall lack of quality in a league; however Spain’s Premira Liga has been previously criticized for having only two teams that dominate proceedings season after season.

There is no ranking system to tell us what the top 10 leagues are, we do know that the Bundesliga has become more highly regarded than Serie A as they have been awarded another space in the Champions League at the expense of Serie A, joining La Liga and the Premier League in having the biggest representation in the competition.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of scoring a lot of goals and the debate on who has the best league, I can safely say goals equal entertainment and with so many goals being scored in the Premier League, complimented by the style of football in the league, I find the Premier League the most exciting league in the world.

This entry was posted in Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1, Premier League, Serie A, World Football. Bookmark the permalink.
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