Euro comparison

By Chris Maxsted   Last updated: 7th January 2010  

Euro comparison

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With Europe's top five leagues all roughly at the halfway stage as we enter into the New Year, Opta investigate the similarities and differences between the football played across Europe's top five competitions, starting with shooting.

This season it is the Premier League that has provided the most entertainment up front in Europe, producing an average of 2.93 goals per game, perhaps as a result of the fact that players in this competition are more likely to shoot on goal than in the other five.

One of the main contrasts in this table is perhaps the different approach to set plays in Spain and England: almost 39% of goals in the Premier League this season have come from set pieces, compared to 31% in La Liga, reinforcing some long-held football stereotypes.

Shooting

LeagueGoals/GameShots/GameShooting AccuracyChance Conversion Rate% Goals from set play
England2.9321.844.0%13.4%38.8%
France2.4820.343.1%12.2%35.2%
Germany2.7420.346.1%13.5%33.2%
Italy2.5820.644.6%12.5%31.6%
Spain2.6920.344.3%13.3%31.3%
Average2.6820.744.4%13.0%34.0%
Next up, passing:

Despite their claims to being the two "best" leagues in the world, the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga have actually had the lowest passing success rates in Europe this season, just 74.1% and 74.7% respectively.

In England this can probably be explained by the fact that teams play a higher proportion of long balls than anywhere else, though in Spain the low completion rate is slightly more puzzling.

Sides playing in Serie A are the most accurate passers, perhaps down to a high level of discipline when on the ball, something that is perhaps not so true when they are off it.

Passing

LeaguePassing Accuracy% Passes LongCrosses/GameCross Completion
England74.1%15.5%36.220.9%
France76.0%13.8%36.320.4%
Germany77.7%14.8%33.722.4%
Italy78.1%14.3%40.020.0%
Spain74.7%14.6%36.821.0%
Average76.1%14.6%36.620.9%
Italian top-flight games see more fouls than any of the other top five leagues in Europe, though such fouls are more likely to go unpunished than in Spain.

Referees in La Liga show, on average, a card for every sixth foul, much more often than in the other leagues, a fact that explains the high number of cards in each game in the competition.

The Premier League upholds the tradition for English fair play, seeing significantly fewer fouls per game than in the other competitions, and as a result seeing fewer cards.

Cards

LeagueCards/GameRed Cards/GameFouls/GameFouls/Card
England3.460.1826.87.76
France3.790.2332.78.63
Germany3.760.1434.69.20
Italy5.090.3236.07.08
Spain5.460.3332.75.99
Average4.310.2432.67.73

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