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Production champions: Napoli, Olympiacos, Leeds, and who else?

Issue number 262 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the three best and worst teams per league in terms of points that they should have achieved according to their pitch production. Virtual points were projected according to a statistical model including shots taken and conceded (both on target and from the box), as well as the percentage of ball possession.

With respect to the indicators selected, Napoli and Atalanta should have achieved more points than the Italian Serie A champions Juventus. However, Massimiliano Allegri’s players were much more efficient. In the Greek top division, both Olympiacos and AEK Athens had a greater pitch production than champions PAOK. Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United tops the production rankings in the English Championship.

According to pitch production, Lucien Favre’s Borussia Dortmund should only have ranked fourth in the German Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen. The Ruhr team was thus particularly efficient. In Turkey, İstanbul Başakşehir virtually outranks Beşiktaş and Galatasaray. More data is available in the CIES Football Observatory Performance Atlas powered by InStat data.

Top transfer values for U20 big-5 league players

Issue number 261 of the Weekly Post presents the top 50 list of the U20 players from the big-5 with the highest transfer value according to the CIES Football Observatory algorithm. The English full international Jadon Sancho heads the table with an estimated value of €150M. Borussia Dortmund’s winger outranks Arsenal’s Mattéo Guendouzi (€70M) and AS Roma’s Nicolò Zaniolo (€67M).

Four other big-5 league players born on or after January 1st 1999 have an estimated value greater than €50M: Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen), Declan Rice (West Ham), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan AC) and Vinícius Júnior (Real Madrid). Footballers from 18 national associations feature in the top 50 list. The most represented country is France (13 players), followed by England (9).

The updated transfer valuations for all players from the five major European competitions are available here. In order to keep some more exclusive information, we have henceforth decided to display only price ranges. The latter still refer to the most probable fee for the most likely buyer. Additional services can be provided on a mandate basis.

RB Leipzig signed its footballers at the youngest age

The 260th edition of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post analyses the age at which players fielded during this season in 24 European top divisions were signed by their clubs of employment. Academy graduates are not included in the sample. RB Leipzig recruited its footballers at the youngest age (21.43 years on average), while MKE Ankaragücü signed them at the oldest one (29.28 years).

The second and third lowest values for age at recruitment at big-5 league level were registered for two other teams with a transfer strategy clearly focused on the signing of young talents: Real Madrid (21.95 years on average) and Olympique Lyonnais (22.64 years). Many other very competitive teams are in the top 20 positions of the rankings. At the opposite end of the table is Parma (27.35 years).

CSKA Moskva is the club from the 19 further European top divisions surveyed that signed its squad members at the youngest age: 21.9 years on average. The Russian side outranks the club having fielded so far the youngest footballers in domestic league games during current season: FC Nordsjælland (see Demographic Atlas). At third position is RB Salzburg, ahead of five Dutch and two Belgian teams.

Defensive air challenges: Marcelo ahead of Maguire and van Dijk

Marcelo Guedes (Olympique Lyonnais) heads the big-5 league rankings of players having won the highest percentage of defensive air challenges in domestic league matches this season: 136 out of 159 (85.5%). The Brazilian outranks three English Premier League players: Harry Maguire, Virgil van Dijk and Shane Duffy. The top 50s for the big-5 and 26 other European competitions are available in issue number 259 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post.

The top ranked players for the remaining big-5 European leagues are Dimitrios Siovas (CD Leganés), 37-year-old Bruno Alves (Parma) and Mats Hummels (Bayern). Three other world champions are in the top 50 table: the Spaniards Gerard Piqué and Sergio Ramos, as well as the French Raphaël Varane. Only footballers with at least 80 challenges according to the statistics provided by our partners InStat were included in the analysis.

Heart of Midlothian’s centre back Christophe Berra heads the table for players in the other 26 competitions surveyed. The Scottish won 233 of his 268 defensive aerial challenges: 86.9%. He outranks three other central defenders: Felipe Augusto (FC Porto), Jake Cooper (Millwall) and the captain of the French Ligue 2 club of Clermont Foot Julien Laporte. The top ranked full back is the Dutch full international Denzel Dumfries (PSV Eindhoven).

New Report on attendances in football stadia

The 44th Monthly Report of the CIES Football Observatory analyses match attendances in 51 national football leagues from 42 countries. Germany appears as the footballing country par excellence. Although also very popular, English and Spanish clubs have considerably less spectators than German teams. Outside of Europe, Mexican clubs attract the biggest crowds.

The study of the changes since 2003 reveals the growing enthusiasm for football in the United States and Canada. Despite the increase in the number of teams participating in the MLS, average attendances have consistently increased to break the 20,000-spectator threshold over the past five years. This limit has also been broken in China, where football’s popularity is henceforth also well established.

With over 80,000 spectators per match, Borussia Dortmund is top of the rankings for attendance by club. The Ruhr team is ahead of four football giants: Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Five German clubs are in the top ten rankings (the two already cited, Schalke 04, Hamburg and Stuttgart). Atlanta United is the most popular non-European club (10th in total).

Foreign goals: from Cyprus to Ukraine

Issue number 258 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post ranks 27 top division leagues of UEFA member countries according to the percentage of goals scored during the current season by expatriate footballers. At the top of the table is Cyprus (86.7% of foreign goals), ahead of Turkey (80.7%) and England (68.8%).

In nine other leagues, foreign goals accounted for more than half of total goals. At the opposite end of the table, expatriate players scored less than one third of goals in four countries only: Ukraine (25.5%), Serbia (27.6%), Israel (27.9%) and the Czech Republic (30.4%). The lowest percentage at big-5 league level was measured in the French Ligue 1 (35.6%).

Big discrepancies also exist at club level. The figures vary from 0% (Paksi FC, EA Guingamp, Athletic Club Bilbao, etc.) to 100% (AEK Larnaca, Rizespor, FK Senica). In the English Premier League, they go from 97.4% at Wolverhampton to 20.5% at Leicester City. More data on the composition of squads is available in the exclusive CIES Football Observatory Demographic Atlas.

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