03 June 2010

European League Comparisons

Is there room for culture in football? Maybe, but less so at the top, if you believe Kuper and Syzmanski. Here is some data on various statistics from the top European leagues, suggesting that there are at least a few differences:
CategoryEnglandFranceGermanyItalySpainC League
Shots per game21.120.020.420.620.721.7
Goals per game2.772.412.832.612.712.56
Shooting accuracy43.7%42.6%46.0%43.9%45.3%42.9%
Chance conversion13.1%12.1%13.8%12.7%13.1%11.8%
% shots from inside the box59.3%56.1%59.3%53.9%59.3%52.8%
% goals from inside the box86.6%84.4%83.0%86.2%85.0%78.9%
Saves to shots %69.5%71.4%69.5%71.0%70.7%72.3%

* CL data is up to date as of 17/05/2010

Perhaps surprisingly, Italy does not have the fewest goals per game. Here is a bit more data:

CategoryEnglandFranceGermanyItalySpainC League
% goals from set pieces36.7%34.8%33.5%32.0%31.3%30.5%
% headed goals18.3%18.8%18.5%18.6%18.6%17.0%
% goals in last 15 minutes23.5%24.9%22.1%20.0%22.9%25.2%
% goals scored by native players36.3%46.8%35.7%53.8%52.9%N/A

CategoryEnglandFranceGermanyItalySpainC League
Passes per game772751816780760838
Passing Accuracy73.8%75.1%77.1%78.1%75.4%79.4%
Crossing Accuracy20.8%19.9%22.3%20.2%21.0%20.4%
Dribbles per game28.429.234.628.730.734.5
Dribble success73.8%75.1%77.1%78.1%75.4%79.4%

As I mentioned in the comments recently, French natives appear to be scoring less than would be expected by the simple statistics, suggesting that France's best strikers play abroad. Italy and Spain have the most home-grown scoring capability. Will that translate into more offense in South Africa?

What happens when Europe confronts the world? Any guesses as to whether World Cup goals-per-game will be higher or lower than the Champions League? Put me down for the over.

Next up: World Cup predictions.