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Manchester United fielded the most players at English Premier League level since the start of the season. At the opposite end of the table is Arsenal. Arsène Wenger only used 21 players so far, while Louis van Gaal already fielded 28 footballers. The data for all clubs is available in issue number 135 of the Big-5 Weekly Post.

Previous research from the CIES Football Observatory suggests that sticking on a core group of footballers often allows clubs obtaining top level results. No team who heads the table in its respective league used more than 24 players. This figure is 20 for Napoli, 22 for Leicester and Bayern Munich, 23 for Paris St-Germain and 24 for Barcelona.

Conversely, frequent line-up changes tend to reflect anxiety which is detrimental to the improvement of results. So far, clubs at the bottom of the table in their respective league on average fielded 26.0 players. This figure is 22.2 for clubs heading the table, 23.6 for the top three ranked teams per league and 25.3 at big-5 league level.

Issue number 134 of the Big-5 Weekly Post of the CIES Football Observatory ranks players according to the level to which they outperformed their teammates since the start of the season. This allows us highlighting the outstanding performance levels of footballers who are for the most part not yet part of the most competitive teams, but could reach them in the future.

Many U23 players are in the top 3 rankings of the most over-performing footballers per league and position. In Italy, Adam Masina (Bologna, born in 1994) heads the full back table. In Spain, Marco Asensio (Espanyol, on loan from Real Madrid, 1996) is second among attacking midfielders and Víctor Camarasa (Levante, 1994) is third among central midfielders. In Germany, Leroy Sané (Schalke 04, 1996) ranks third among attacking midfielders. In England, Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa, 1994) is at the top of the full back table.

Finally, the French Ligue 1 gathers the most youngsters deserving a chance in a more challenging environment than their current one: Seko Fofana (Bastia, on loan from Manchester City, 1995), Casimir Ninga (Montpellier, 1993), Youssouf Sabaly (Nantes, on loan from Paris St-Germain, 1993), Sofiane Boufal (Lille, 1993), Samuel Umtiti (1993, Lyon) and Issiaga Sylla (GFC Ajaccio, on loan from Toulouse, 1994).

Well established footballers are also in the top three rankings of the most over-performing players, such as, among others, Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli), Mesut Özil (Arsenal), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Thiago Alcântara (Bayern Munich) and Ángel Di María (Paris St-Germain). The full data is available in issue number 134 of the Big-5 Weekly Post.

For more information on the exclusive approach of the CIES Football Observatory for the technical analysis of performance, and more generally, for sustainable success, please refer to the seventh edition of the Monthly Report.

Issue number 113 of the CIES Football Observatory Big-5 Weekly Post ranks clubs according to their efficiency since the start of the season. The indicator of efficiency refers to the ability of teams to achieve the highest number of points with respect to their levels of grip on the game and dangerousness. Stoke City is the most efficient club both in the English Premier League and at big-5 league level ahead of Spanish side Villarreal.

The indicator of the grip on the game refers to the number and location of passes achieved compared to opponents, while that of dangerousness is the ratio between the number and quality of shots attempted and conceded. More information about the CIES Football Observatory collective key performance indicators is available in issues number five and number seven of the Monthly Report.

The average value between grip on the game and dangerousness results in a composite indicator which allows us measuring the level of dominance of teams and estimating in an objective way the number of points that a club should have obtained accordingly. The comparison between points estimated and achieved permits us highlighting the most and least efficient teams. Future will tell what is the part of luck for the most efficient teams and that of bad luck for the most inefficient ones.

The most efficient big-5 league club so far was Stoke City. With a dominance of 0.53, the Premier League team should have obtained 0.72 points per match, which is 0.78 less than it was actually the case. At second position in the big-5 and at the top of the Liga table is Villarreal. Their dominance was 0.89, which should have allowed them obtaining only 1.24 points per match instead of 2.0 (+0.76).

Issue number 133 of the Big-5 Weekly Post also presents the data for grip on the game, dangerousness and dominance of all teams. The latter indicator suggests that the favourite clubs for the European club competitions are Bayern Munich for the Champions League and Napoli for the Europa League. Manchester City is at the top of the English Premier League table ahead of Leicester and Arsenal.

Dominance ranking

1) Bayern Munich 4.02
2) Naples 3.06
3) Paris St-Germain 2.14
4) Manchester City 2.11
5) Dortmund 2.10
6) Barcelona 2.00
7) Fiorentina 1.89
8) Real Madrid 1.87
9) Juventus 1.68
10) Atlético Madrid 1.66
11) Leicester 1.64
12) Arsenal 1.59

The first CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report of the year compares the profile of 50 national A-team squads at worldwide level from the perspectives of age, height, employer clubs and places of birth. The study notably highlights that, in 2015, England fielded the youngest players among European nations. The full Report is available for free here.

The average age on the pitch recorded for England during matches played in 2015 was 25.6 years. In Europe, only the Netherlands fielded footballers as young as the English ones. The youthfulness of the players available to Roy Hodgson is the sign of a renaissance which prefigures a promising future. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Scotland fielded the most seasoned footballers: 29.0 years on average.

The analysis on height shows that the average full international is 181.9cm. Great discrepancies exist between national teams. The average height on the pitch of the country who fielded the tallest players, Serbia, was 10cm greater than that of the country who played with the shortest footballers, Chile: 185.6 compared to 175.6cm. However, the short stature of the Chileans did not stop them winning the Copa América.

With regard to clubs employing internationals of the most competitive nations, the study shows the great concentration of talent in the wealthiest leagues. Almost one minute out of two was played by big-5 league footballers. In total, 68.9% of minutes were played by footballers under contract with foreign clubs. England is the only squad who did not field footballers playing abroad.

Finally, the Report highlights that 11.3% of national A-team footballers were born outside of the association represented. Two countries heavily relied on players born abroad: Algeria and Albania. Algeria fielded 21 players born in France, while 17 foreign-born footballers played for Albania. In the global era, the disjuncture between the country of birth and that represented will probably strengthen in the years to come.

Find out the other CIES Football Observatory Monthly Reports here.

Issue number 132 of the CIES Football Big-5 Weekly Post presents the data on the percentage of minutes played by footballers who represented a national A-team in 2015. At the top of the club table is Real Madrid, while the competition where active internationals play the greater percentage of minutes is the English Premier League.

During this season, footballers with national A-team caps in 2015 played 90% of domestic league minutes at Real Madrid. This figure is above 80 % for five other big-5 league clubs, four English Premier League teams (Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham), as well as Juventus. The only big-5 league team who did not field players with national A-team caps in 2015 is the Italian side Carpi.

The average percentage of minutes by active internationals per league varies between 58% in the English Premier League and 24% in the Spanish Liga. The figures for the three remaining big-5 leagues are 40% in the German Bundesliga, 31% in the Italian Serie A and 29% in the French Ligue 1. The overall percentage at big-5 league level is 36%.

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