Tag: datajournalism

23Feb

Is there life after relegation? (Part 2) How long does it take to return to Italian Serie A?

No football fan likes to see their own team being relegated from the top category. I remember when my beloved Deportivo was relegated to 2nd Division back in 2011 (and again in 2013) and it was hard.

This GIF of a Brazilian kid crying during the World Cup describes how I felt.

brazil-boy

Quite sad, isn’t it? But hey, as I wrote a few weeks ago, sometimes there’s light at the end of the tunnel and teams recover and have impressive comebacks (a little bit like Deportivo this season)

However, there are teams that never come back, and fans need to find comfort remembering better times (hello, Nottingham Forest). In this series of blog posts I’m analysing how long it takes to return to the top category and if there are any differences between the 5 major European competitions.

So far I have analysed Spanish La Liga and also quoted the Daily Mirror’s article about relegation from the Premier League that inspired me to write this series.

Today, my analytical loupe is over Italy. What happens when an Italian team is relegated? Most of them get back to Serie A pretty quickly. 56% find their way back in just 3 seasons, but after that initial period, only 13% get back. The remaining 31% of teams will never return to Serie A.

What happens to a spanish team after being relegated from Serie A BLOG

The chart below shows that most teams only need one season to return to Serie A and, if they take longer than 3 seasons to come back, they might stay in Serie B forever.

When do relegated teams return to serie a. BLOG

But there’s always another side of the coin. There are teams (not many) that can spend a very long time in hell (aka Serie B) and then have a great season that catapults them back to Serie A. That’s the case of Pescara Calcio. They have traditionally played in Serie B but back in 1991 they got promoted to the top category. The following years were not good, they got relegated several times and they even played a few seasons in Serie C. But, hey, bad luck doesn’t last forever. In 2011-2012 they won Serie B and got promoted 19 years after their last appearance in Serie A.

Relegation la serie a  BLOG

24Aug
Egypt fans light flares
as they celebrate a goal against Algeria during a World Cup 2010
qualifying soccer match in Cairo November 14, 2009.   REUTERS/Goran
Tomasevic   (EGYPT SPORT SOCCER)

Football hooligans are not dead. Which supporters are arrested more often?

In this second post about football-related arrests I’m going to add some context. Yes, it’s interesting to know that in the last decade almost 2,000 Man United fans were arrested, but this also has to do with the size of their support base. Old Trafford is the biggest ground in the Premier League and, when the Red Devils play at home, there are 75.335 people on average in the stadium.

Getting the approximate number of the fan base it isn’t a particularly easy task, so I used the attendance to home matches to weight the different crowd sizes. Please, be aware that this data also includes supporters arrested in other stadiums, but the attendance stats are only referred to the home grounds. Despite of this limitation, I still think that considering the home attendance is a good measurement and that it fits the purpose of this post. I must also warn you that I only have data about Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two. I have discarded those teams that have played some of the last 10 seasons in the National League as I wouldn’t be comparing the same time period.

Top 10. All competitions ratio

Manchester United is no longer on top, in fact, it is not even in the top 10! The team with the most fans arrested compared to their support base is actually Millwall. Surprised? Well, maybe not considering that Lions’ fans have been involved in some serious rioting in the last few years.  An interesting fact is that there is not a single Premier League team on this list, as most of them currently play in Championship and League One.

Top 10 Premier League

But what about the Premier League? There must be teams with a more problematic support base than others. Well there are, but the teams in the top 3 are actually very close to each other. Stoke City, Sunderland and Chelsea have around 1.3 supporters arrested for every 10.000 home attendees. This ratio also includes the seasons that Stoke and Sunderland played in lower divisions.

In a previous post I showed that the number of Manchester United fans arrested was twice as big as Manchester City’s. But, compared the home attendance, the difference is smaller.

 

Top 10 Championship

 

There is a very clear leader in Championship. Leeds United has a whopping ratio of 2 arrests for every 10.000 supporters. It’s not surprising considering that they have been involved in very serious clashes against other crowds, the last one just one month ago. In further posts we will take a close look to some of the most problematic teams. The chart above shows an interesting trend, the gap between the first positions of the top 10 and the last is quite wide. This means that there are just a few teams in Championship with a high ratio of arrests but that’s not the general behavior, as we will see in a little bit.

Top 10 League One

League One is a rough place, with teams like Millwall or Port Vale showing a worryingly high ratio of arrests. In this case, most teams show a higher ratio than in the two previous competitions. But, League Two is even worse. I haven’t created a top 10 for League Two because there are many teams that have recently played in the National League and I don’t have this data, but you can check the chart below to see what’s the ratio of arrests in each competition.

Arrests per competition

 

 

1Jul

The number of Spanish players in major European competitions increased threefold in the last decade

Cesc Fábregas, Ander Herrera, César Azpilicueta, Santi Cazorla…English squads are full of Spanish names!

This trend increased significantly during the last 10 years, probably the best decade for Spanish football in history. In this period, the national team won two European Championships (2008 and 2012) and one World Cup (2010).

Until 2008, most Spanish footballers playing abroad were in the Premier League, but after the international successes, other leagues joined this trend, particularly Italian Serie A. Still, Premier League kept its position as main destination.

Spanish players in major leagues

As you can see in the chart above, back in season 2005/2006 there were 20 Spaniards playing in other major European leagues and last season, the figure reached 65. That’s a 225% increase!

But what are the reasons behind this increase? Is it just a general improvement in the quality of footballers or is there something else? Spanish sports journalist, Jorge Lema, suggested me that in the Spanish league there are just a few teams investing a high amount of money in transfers, and in other European competitions it’s a little bit more balanced.

I checked the data for both La Liga and the Premier League and he is quite right. If we analyse the 10% teams (that’s 2 teams) that spent the most in each season, we see that in Spain they represent a higher proportion of the total expenditure than in the Premier League.

In practical terms, this means that in Spain there are less teams willing to invest big amounts of money in top players (basically Real Madrid and Barcelona and sometimes Atlético or Valencia). In comparison, there are more squads with expensive players in England (Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City…). This might be a reason why so many Spaniards are looking for alternatives in other competitions. What do you think?

Percentage of the total expenditure in transfers made by the top 2 teams

27May
is ospina that short.jpg

Is David Ospina’s height enough for Arsenal?

Arsenal’s goalkeeper, David Ospina, is 1.83m (about 6 feet) tall, but is this enough for the Premier League? Well, according to the media it’s not.

Last week, The Guardian published an article summarising some mentions of Ospina’s height in British media. It’s called ‘In praise of short(er) goalkeepers”, and it is worth a read.

But is he that short?

Well…yes, a little bit.

The average height for a Premier League goalie is 1.91m (6.3 feet), and Ospina is 8 cm shorter than that.

percentage shorter ospina
To be fair, the Premier League and the Bundesliga have the tallest keepers among the 5 major European competitions. Compared to other leagues he performs a little bit better. For example, in Spain there is a tradition of short goalkeepers. The average is just 1.86m (still, 3cm more than Ospina) and the keepers of the 4 main teams are not particularly tall.  In fact, Claudio Bravo, from Barcelona, and Iker Casillas, from Real Madrid, are both below the average height! And, as you can see in the chart below, keepers of Atlético and Valencia are not much taller.

The shortest first-choice goalie in La Liga and in all 5 major leagues*  is Sergio Álvarez, from Celta de Vigo (La Liga) and he is only 1.77. I’m taller than that!

 

goalkeepers in la liga are all quite short

Does it really matter?

Well, height might be considered a good quality for a goalie, but it’s not essential. In the chart below I have put together the top 10 goalkeepers in the 5 major leagues with the lowest number of goals conceded per game and their height. As you can see, David Ospina is between them and he is not the only short one. Yann Sommer, who plays for Borussia Mönchengladbach, is the exactly same height. Claudio Bravo, the keeper with the lowest number of goals conceded per match, is just 1 cm taller.

do tall goalies condede fewer goals per game

Most keepers are tall, but you don’t need to be a giant to be among the best.

*5 major leagues are Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1

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