International Centre for
Sports Studies

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Thu. 05 October 2017

Monthly Report: performance and playing styles in 35 European leagues

The analysis of pitch performances at both individual and collective level is one of the three principle fields of research of the CIES Football Observatory. The 28th edition of our Monthly Report compares 35 national competitions across Europe using the database made available by the InStat company. The sample comprises 19,544 matches played between the 1st September 2015 and the 31st August 2017.

The analysis focuses on three aspects: the teams’ ball management, the degree of openness of games, as well as the level of power balance between opponents. The principle conclusion drawn is that the top leagues differentiate themselves above all by the fluidity of games, as illustrated by the highest level of successful passes and the quickest ball circulation.

The five best values in terms of passes per minutes of possession were recorded for the five major European championships, with a maximum of 18.2 for the German Bundesliga. The big-5 leagues also top the table for the percentage of successful passes, with a maximum of 82.4% for the Italian Serie A. More surprisingly, the Swedish and Israeli top divisions figure high in this ranking.

This study is but an initial foray in exploiting the numerous possibilities available thanks to the new collaboration between the CIES Football Observatory and InStat. The depth and breadth of data produced by this company constitutes a solid basis for many future research projects.