As the dust settles on another Premier League (PL) season it feels as though this was the most exciting season in English football top flight for a long time. Despite this, all season there have been murmurs again that the quality of the league was down, that it was no longer dominant as Europe’s best league and English football was once again falling behind.
Despite the events of the final weeks, and especially the final day of the season, a lot of people are still looking back and wondering if the Premier League is still the top gun. We decided to find out if us Premier League fans should still boast how the Premier League is the best or whether it is time swallow our pride and accept defeat that the Premier League has lost its place at the head of the table.
For the purpose of this discussion I have decided to compare the Premier League against Europe’s other three top league’s, which are: La Liga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany) and Serie A (Italy) according to UEFA Coefficient Ranking System. I have looked at each league’s headline stats as well as dissected statistical data down to get more of an insight to overall league quality and style of play. We will start with the headline stats of the league:
The above table shows each league’s total games played (TGP), total points, total goals, win percentage, amount of draws, the league averages for the point-per-game (PPG) ratio and also the goals-per-game (GPG) ratio, whilst also showing the difference between first and last place in each league, first and second place, first and third place and the points difference between safety and relegation.
We can see that the Premier League is out ahead on goals, even above La Liga, which is a typically high scoring league with Real Madrid and Barcelona involved. The Bundesliga play fewer games as there are fewer teams and therefore fewer goals, but to give the Bundesliga context the goals-per-game league average shows us that overall the league produces a lot less goals in general.
Teams in the Premier League and La Liga seem to go for the win, with a relatively low amount of draws and a high win percentage, suggesting both leagues are more exciting for fans to watch as there are more goals and teams winning. The fact Serie A has the most draws could indicate either the league’s more defensive and tactical nature or that overall the league is more competitive, either way you could conclude that it is less exciting as it seems less attacking.
The competitive nature of the Premier League is always a huge talking point, everyone always says bottom can beat top and any result is possible. To illustrate the competition within each league the points difference between first and last place, first and second place, first and third place and also the difference between the last relegation place and safety have also been taking in to account.
La Liga has the highest points difference between first and second and first and third place, but all the leagues are largely two-horse races. The Premier League, Bundesliga and Serie A also have a relatively high points difference between first and third, but indicate that these leagues are more competitive at the top end than La Liga is.
At the bottom, La Liga and the Premier League went down to the wire for teams to survive with only a single point dividing safety and relegation showing greater competition throughout. However, the gulf in La Liga between the top two shows that there is no chance of their dominance being challenged any time soon.
When you take in to account the fact the total amount of points accumulated in the Premier League is the highest out of all the leagues, then look to the points difference between certain positions, you can conclude that the points the league generates are better distributed throughout the whole league, especially when compared to La Liga.
The quality of the relegated teams in the Bundesliga and Serie A looks low as there was no particular competition when it came to a relegation battle in either league. You could say that the Bundesliga is worse at the lower end because they have fewer teams and you would therefore expect that to increase quality.
Each league has positives and negatives; whilst you are going to get see more wins and goals in the Premier League and La Liga, both are still two-horse races with a gulf between the top two teams and the rest, but this is a common factor in all leagues. La Liga is far and away a league that is really about only two teams, where as the Premier League is similar in areas, but closer in terms of its competiveness throughout.
But maybe competitiveness and quality is being overtaken by the need for football to entertain; from these results you can say that both the Premier League and La Liga are entertaining, but we need to go deeper. Tune in to our next article for a more in-depth look at the each league to see if we can shed anymore light on which league really is the best.
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