logo Football Observatory  
ENG |

Most fielded youngsters: Kulusevski tops the list

Issue number 282 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post presents the list of players born in the 2000s who played the highest percentage of domestic league minutes during current season. Dejan Kulusevski (Parma, on loan from Juventus) tops the table for the big-5 league players ahead of Sandro Tonali (Brescia), Max Aarons (Norwich) and the 17-year-old French talent Eduardo Camavinga (Stade Rennais).

Conor Gallagher (Swansea, on loan from Chelsea) heads the rankings for the second divisions of big-5 league countries. The Spanish prodigy Pedri (Las Palmas) is fourth. Born in 2002, the attacking midfielder has already signed a long-term contract for FC Barcelona. At 19th position is a player born in 2003: Jude Bellingham (Birmingham City). The English midfielder already scored four goals in the Championship.

The Dutchman Sven Botman is at the top of the rankings for players from the other top divisions taken into account. The centre back loaned by Ajax to Heerenveen outranks the Brazilian midfielder Gustavo Assunção (Famalicão) and three very young talents: the Czech forward Adam Hložek (2002, Sparta Prague), the Australian midfielder Louis D’Arrigo (2001, Adelaide) and the Swiss defender Leonidas Stergiou (2002, St-Gall).

Efficiency rankings in 31 European leagues

Issue number 281 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post compares points achieved by teams from 31 European leagues with points expected according to a statistical model taking into account ball possession, as well as the number and distance of both shots taken and conceded as per InStat data. The analysis highlights the great efficiency of clubs such as Benfica (+0.71 points per match), Liverpool (+0.66), Juventus (+0.64), Schalke 04 (+0.57) and Valencia (+0.55).

The pitch production of Benfica should have allowed them to achieve 2.11 points per match compared to 2.82 in reality. The greatest positive gap out of the 496 clubs from the 31 leagues surveyed was recorded for Astra Giurgiu (+0.85). The Romanian side obtained almost two points per match despite having conceded more shots than those taken and having had only about 45% of ball possession. The same holds true for Turkish league leader Sivaspor (+0.73).

The greatest negative gap overall was registered for Heart of Midlothian: 0.62 points achieved compared to 1.39 expected (-0.77). Champions League round of 16 participants Atalanta (-0.71) and Napoli (-0.61) were also particularly inefficient with respect to their pitch production. Manchester City (-0.36) and Chelsea (-0.33) are at the bottom of the Premier League efficiency rankings. More exclusive InStat data is accessible in the CIES Football Observatory Performance Atlas.

Liverpool FC also are European fair play champions

Issue number 280 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post ranks teams from 35 European domestic leagues according to their number of fouls per game as per InStat data. Champions League titleholders Liverpool FC committed the least fouls per match so far this season (8.1). This is partially related to the less strict refereeing style in the English Premier League: 20.4 fouls whistled per game compared to an average of 27.2 in the 35 competitions surveyed.

Eight Premier League teams are in the top 18 positions of the rankings: Liverpool, Newcastle, Bournemouth, Leicester, Chelsea, Norwich, Tottenham and Manchester City. If we relate fouls committed to the average measured at league level, Hamburger SV heads the table (-32% of fouls with respect to rivals), ahead of Slovan Bratislava (-29%) and Shakhtar Donetsk (-27%). Vojvodina made the most fouls per match overall (22.9), while Zlaté Moravce committed the most compared to league rivals (+38%).

Per league, the lowest average number of fouls per game whistled by referees was recorded in the English Premier League (20.4), the Danish Superliga (21.0) and the Dutch Eredivisie (21.6). At the opposite end of the table are the top divisions of six Eastern European countries: Serbia (34.9), Bulgaria (31.6), Czech Republic (31.4), Romania (31.0), Poland (30.9) and Ukraine (30.5). For more exclusive analysis, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Exclusive CIES Football Observatory analysis of four Latin American leagues

For the first time, a CIES Football Observatory report turns its eye exclusively to Latin America. It analyses the squads of four leagues: the Brazilian Serie A, the Argentinean Superliga, the Chilean Primera División and the Mexican Liga MX. Il notably reveals the specificity of the Mexican league with respect to the presence of footballers imported from abroad. Expatriates account for the majority of players in line-ups, while they only play about a tenth of minutes in Brazil and Argentina. Access the study.

The report also brings to light the greater emphasis on the promotion of talents from youth academies by Argentinian teams. Boca Juniors is the most important training club, followed by three other clubs from Argentina: Vélez Sarsfield, River Plate and Newell’s Old Boys. The most important training clubs for the other three countries studied are São Paulo FC in Brazil, Atlas Guadalajara in Mexico and Universidad de Chile in Chili.

The study also shows the central role of Argentina as a provider of players for the leagues analysed. Indeed, Argentinians constitute the most numerous contingents of expatriates in Mexico, as well as in Chili and Brazil. On the contrary, only eight Brazilians are expatriated in the leagues studied (all in Mexico). The other countries with many expatriates in the championships taken into account are Colombia, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Finally, the report illustrates the specificity of the Brazilian Serie A regarding the plethora of players used by teams. This situation reflects the status of Brazil as a global source of labour par excellence. From this point of view, just playing a few matches can open the doors towards a transfer abroad, even though not in the most prestigious football countries.

Mbappé valued at €265 million by CIES Football Observatory algorithm

The CIES Football Observatory opens a new exciting decade of football analytics with the exclusive publication of its traditional list of the big-5 league players with the greatest estimated transfer values. At the top three positions of the table are Kylian Mbappé (France and Paris St-Germain), Raheem Sterling (England and Manchester City), as well Mohammed Salah (Egypt and Liverpool). Issue number 279 of the Weekly Post presents the 166 footballers in the big-5 valued at more than €50 million.

Per position, the most expensive players from a transfer value perspective are Alisson Becker for goalkeepers (€77 M), Virgil van Dijk for centre backs (€93 M), Trent Alexander-Arnold for full backs (€110 M), James Maddison for midfielders (€112 M) and Kylian Mbappé for forwards (€265 M). Eleven out of the 20 big-5 league footballers with an estimated value of at least €100 million play for English Premier League clubs.

There are at least two players worth more than €100 M are in each of the remaining big-5 leagues: three in the Liga (Messi, Griezmann and João Felix), two in the Ligue 1 (Mbappé and Neymar), two in the Serie A (Martínez and Lukaku), as well as two in the Bundesliga (Sancho and Werner). More information about the exclusive approach developed by the CIES Football Observatory research team to estimate transfer values on a scientific basis is available in this methodological note.

MVPs of the semester: big-5 league teams

The CIES Football Observatory has developed a property algorithm to assess the performance of footballers from the exclusive data produced by the leading sports company OptaPro. Issue number 278 of the Weekly Post presents the MVP per big-5 league club, as well as the top values for each of the six areas of the game analysed. Only players fielded for at least nine (MVPs) and respectively six (per domain) full domestic league matches are included.

The MVPs are footballers whose performance had the biggest influence in their teams’ results. We notably find Marco Verratti at Paris St-Germain, Lionel Messi at Barcelona, Toni Kroos at Real Madrid, Kevin de Bruyne at Manchester City, Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool, Ciro Immobile at Lazio, Jamie Vardy at Leicester City, Dimitri Payet at Olympique Marseille, Miralem Pjanić at Juventus, Sven Bender at Bayer Leverkusen and Milan Škriniar at Inter.

At Real Madrid, five different footballers head the tables per area of the game: Raphaël Varane for rigour (duels), Carlos Casemiro for recovery (interceptions), Toni Kroos for distribution (passes), Eden Hazard for take on (dribbles) and Karim Benzema for both chance creation (assists) and shooting (attempts). At Barcelona, three players only top the rankings: Lionel Messi for all of the attacking indicators, Clément Lenglet for rigour and Sergio Busquets for both recovery and distribution.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | ... | 59

Plus