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Premier League 2013/2014 – a graphical review


The BBC website produces match reports for all of the games every single Premier League side plays during the season. From Premier League and FA Cup, to Champions League to League Cup ties the BBC reports on them all. I thought it would be interesting to compile all of these reports for each of the twenty Premier League sides, and to produce word-clouds for each side. If a particular word is used more often, then it is shown on screen as larger than the other less used words.

I created one for Square One Football Radio, and felt I should create word clouds for all twenty clubs. I used the excellent online tool wordle.net to create the word clouds. Please feel free to use these on your blog or website, but I’d appreciate a link back.

To see a higher resolution image of the word cloud, click on it.

Arsenal

Arsenal

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Aston Villa

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Cardiff City

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Chelsea

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Crystal Palace

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Everton

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Fulham

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Hull City

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Liverpool

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Manchester City

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Manchester United

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Newcastle United

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Norwich City

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Southampton

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Stoke City

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Sunderland

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Swansea City

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Tottenham Hotspur

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West Bromwich Albion

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West Ham United

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Club

 

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Late 1970s proposal for a British Super League


In the late 1970s a company called Marshall Cavendish released a series of football magazines which the avid reader would slip into binders to create their very own football encyclopaedia. One of the articles contained within is a lament about the struggles of the British game and part of the argument for improvements made by the author suggests the introduction of a British Super-League.

The author has chosen an interesting selection of sides, many of which would be unlikely to feature should the list be drawn up today. He uses criteria such as recent attendances as well as success to decide whether clubs should be admitted to such a league.

 

Would these be the super-clubs?

Would these be the super-clubs?

The proposed British super-league contains a few oddities. The first being that the two Edinburgh and Sheffield clubs are expected to merge (and are even wearing half-and-half kits to denote that). Other interesting aspects of the proposal are that teams like Coventry City and Derby County are included amongst the elite.

Clubs proposed: Celtic, Rangers, Edinburgh, Newcastle United, Liverpool, Manchester United, Leeds United, Sheffield, Everton, Manchester City, Wolves, West Brom, Coventry City, Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Southampton.

Interesting omissions: Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Sunderland and the exclusion of all Welsh/Irish clubs (though perhaps understandable).

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2013 in Club

 

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Premier League: Doing the double over other clubs


If a club wins both the home fixture and the away fixture during a league season then they are said to have “done the double” over that side. In the Premier League during the 2012/2013 season 16 of the 20 sides did the double over a rival.

The following lists show the teams that each club in the Premier League managed to do the double against.

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10

  • Manchester United: Southampton, Sunderland, Stoke City, QPR, Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Fulham, Wigan Athletic, Reading and Liverpool.

7

  • Chelsea: Sunderland, Stoke City, Aston Villa, Norwich City, Everton, Wigan Athletic and Arsenal.

6

  • Arsenal: QPR, Newcastle United, West Brom, West Ham, Wigan Athletic and Reading.
  • Manchester City: Newcastle United, Aston Villa, West Brom, Fulham, Wigan Athletic and Reading.
  • Tottenham Hotspur: Southampton, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Swansea City, West Ham and Reading.

4

  • Liverpool: QPR, Norwich City, Fulham and Wigan Athletic.
  • West Brom: Southampton, Sunderland, QPR and Liverpool.

3

  • Swansea City: QPR, Newcastle United and Wigan Athletic.

2

  • Aston Villa: Sunderland and Reading.
  • Southampton: Aston Villa and Reading.

1

  • Everton: West Ham.
  • Fulham: West Brom.
  • Sunderland: Wigan Athletic,
  • Stoke City: QPR.
  • Newcastle United: QPR.
  • Wigan Athletic: Reading

0

  • Norwich City: None.
  • QPR: None.
  • Reading: None.
  • West Ham: None.

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Of the three relegated sides Wigan Athletic were the only team who managed to win home and away against another club (Wigan did the double over fellow relegated side Reading).

Four sides in the Premier League did not lose home and away to another club. Those sides were Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Manchester United. Nine clubs did the double over eventual FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Club, Statistics

 

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Premier League table for the 2012 calendar year


Manchester United were the club who picked up the most Premier League points during 2012. They are followed by their city rivals Manchester City who despite losing the same number of games as United, couldn’t convert many of their draws to wins.

prem2012final

Interestingly Everton picked up more points than both Chelsea and Arsenal during 2012 though this may have something to do with the fact that Everton played more games than both Chelsea and Arsenal during the year. Additionally the contrast between Everton and their neighbours across Stanley Park is stark. Liverpool only won 11 out of their 38 games in 2012. The only two sides who weren’t relegated or promoted during 2012 with a lower points tally than Liverpool were Aston Villa and QPR.

For more statistics related to the 2012 calendar year including stats from the Football League, take a look at the ever excellent Sporting Intelligence.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Club, Statistics

 

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Premier League 2011/2012 to 2012/2013 player changes

Premier League 2011/2012 to 2012/2013 player changes

The close season is traditionally a time where clubs jettison their weak players, replacing them with footballers with the skill to take the club one step further, whether that be to qualify or European competition or avoid another year’s relegation struggle. With that in mind I thought it would be interesting to see which clubs decided a wholesale change would be preferable to keeping faith with the players who toiled their way through the 2011/2012 season.

I took the line-ups from the last day’s action of  the twenty Premier League sides of the 2011/2012 season (this includes West Ham, Southampton and Reading’s last Championship game of the season) and compared these line-ups with the opening day of this year’s Premier League season (2012/2013). The headline figure from this process is that 40% of all players who started the first game of the 2012/2013 season did not start in the last game of the 2011/2012 season (or if they did, it was for a different football club). Obviously this 40% is not entirely made up of new signings as it also includes players who were on the squads of their current teams last season but for whatever reason (be that injury or not being selected) did not start the game.

TEN

Of the twenty current Premier League clubs no club fielded an identical line-up between the end of last season and the start of this season. However, two clubs made only one change. These two clubs were Everton and Manchester City who fielded ten players on the last day of the 2011/2012 season that also started in the club’s opening fixture this season. The only difference between the Everton XI against Newcastle United in 2011/2012 and their opening day side that started (and defeated) Manchester United is that Sylvian Distin started against Manchester United. Interestingly Distin did play against Newcastle in 2011/2012 when he came on as a substitute for Hetinga. We weren’t to know it at the time but between the minutes of ’70 and ’74 the team Everton had on the field against Newcastle United would be the identical eleven that would start the season against Manchester United over three months later. It’s perhaps ironic (if you enjoy using the term loosely, or incorrectly) that the only change in Manchester City‘s starting line-up for their opening day 3-2 victory over Southampton to their last day win against QPR was the inclusion of Everton’s (another club who enjoy making few changes) Jack Rodwell (a replacement for Gareth Barry).

NINE

Two clubs who enjoyed successful seasons in 2011/2012 also made very few changes. Wigan Athletic and Newcastle United only made two changes between the end of last season and the beginning of this. Wigan Athletic brought in new signing Ivan Ramis and burly centre-half Alvaro Alcaraz whilst Alan Pardew also made defensive changes with Danny Simpson and Steve Taylor joining the starting XI. Of all the Premier League clubs it’s only Everton and Newcastle United that fielded starting elevens on the opening day of the 2012/2013 season who were also contracted to the club in the previous season.

EIGHT

Tottenham HotspurReading and Stoke City all started eight players who started last season’s finale. The three clubs had differing reasons for their trio of changes. Spurs were under a new manager in Andre Villas-Boas who was trying to put his own stamp on the side with new signing Gylfi Sigurdsson starting alongside Jermaine Defoe in attack. The Biscuitmen, promoted under Brian McDermott last season, fielded three new signings in Chris Gunter, Danny Guthrie and Pavel Pogrebnyak who they hope will help keep them in the division. Finally Stoke City in an attempt to consolidate their presence in the Premier League started with Marc Wilson, Asmir Begovic and Michael Kightly, none started The Potters’ final game of the 2011/2012 season.

SEVEN

Sunderland, Southampton, Swansea City and West Ham United began the season with seven of the eleven who began the last game of the previous season. Notable signings for these sides included Swansea’s Michu and Chico who have made impacts for differing reasons in the opening weeks of the season for their goalscoring and red card exploits. Similarly to Reading, Saints have signed players they feel are good enough to keep them in the division, both Jay Rodriguez and Nathaniel Clyne started in their opening 2012/2013 fixture. Martin O’Neil has started his first full season as Sunderland boss and fielded new signing Carlos Cuellar in the Rokerites’ (no I didn’t get the memo) first match of the season.

SIX

2011/2012 Premier League runners-up Manchester United fielded five players on the opening day who didn’t start the last game of the previous seaosn. These included the injured Tom Cleverley and Nemanja Vidic as well as new signing Shinji Kigawa. Other clubs who featured five different players were Fulham, Norwich City and West Brom.

FIVE

QPR and Liverpool were the two sides that fielded five players for the last game of the 2011/2012 season who also started the 2012/2013 season. QPR’s slapdash signings have led to the likes of Fabio,  Ji-Sung Park, Robert Green and confused Julian Hoilett playing for the London club whilst Liverpool’s new boss Brendan Rodgers has brought the likes of Joe Allen and Fabio Borini to Anfield.

FOUR

The four Arsenal players to survive from the last game of last season were Gervinho, Wojciech Szczesny, Thomas Vermaelen and Carl Jenkinson. The seven players who started this season were Santiago Cazorla, Abou Diaby, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Kieran Gibbs. Podolski and Carzola were the two new signings for the north-London club. The other five players were already on the books at Arsenal.

THREE

Only three of Chelsea‘s line-up for the final game of the 2011/2012 season started this season’s opener. This can largely be explained by the fact that Roberto di Matteo was resting a lot of his star men in preparation for the Champions League Final against Bayern Munich. I think it’s fair to say that this tactic worked as his Chelsea side were victorious in a penalty shoout-out after a gruelling period of extra-time. For the record, the three Chelsea players who played in last season’s last game and this season’s opener were Ryan Bertrand, captain-fantastic John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic.

The other side who only had three players to achieve the feat were Aston Villa. I think this case is a little less surprising than most. Villa sacked their manager Alex McLeish in the summer, replacing him with Norwich boss Paul Lambert. Despite replacing a Scotsman with a Scotsman it appears Lambert has his own ideas on how he wants Aston Villa to play. The only three players who started in McLeish’s last game and Lambert’s first were Stephen Ireland. Ciaran Clark and Shay Given.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Club, Featured

 

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MANCHESTER CITY SEASON REVIEW 2011/2012


They left it late (as I did this season review), but Manchester City won the Premier League title usurping their city rivals with their last-gasp-exploits over QPR on the final day.

The below word cloud was generated using all of Manchester City’s match reports from the BBC website from the 2011/2012 season. The more frequently a word is used, the larger it appears on screen. The image was generated using the wonderful wordle.net.

Click to make bigger

Click to make bigger

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2012 in Club

 

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Foreign players in the Premier League 2011/2012


Following on from the post I made earlier in the week regarding foreign players in the Championship here we have the same information but for the top flight – The Premier League. As you would expect this division features a higher proportion of foreign players than the Championship. However, it’s interesting to note that 68 different nationalities were used in the Premier League during the 2011/2012 season, one fewer – 67 – were used in the Championship.

Of the 522 players that played in the Premier League 212 of them were Englishmen. In my opinion that should be a decent enough pool of players for an England manager to pick from. Talk of sanctions to free up more spaces for average English players over foreign counterparts seems a pointless exercise when that many players are playing top flight football.

The table below shows data on each of the twenty-four clubs in the Premier League and the nationalities who played during the 2011/2012 season. The columns are as follows, Nats: number of nationalities used, Plyrs: total number of players used, Eng: Englishmen used (Sco, Wal, NI, Ire self-explanatory). %Eng is the percentage of the total number of players used who are English whilst %B&I is the percentage of players used who are from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. Whilst I understand that Ireland is a foreign country I feel that this metric is useful as players from the Republic of Ireland have been integral parts of squads in the football pyramid for many years.

Premier League nationality breakdown 2011/2012

Premier League nationality breakdown 2011/2012

No team fielded more Englishmen than QPR during the season (19) though it should be remembered that QPR fielded the most players (35) in the same period. Stoke City operated with the smallest (but almost certainly tallest) squad of 23 and it was Wigan Athletic who featured the fewest Englishmen during the season (3).

Wolves’ doomed campaign featured the most Irish players (6), they also fielded 3 Welshmen during the season though Swansea City fielded the most Welsh players (4). Wigan Athletic’s survival was helped along by their 3 Scotsmen whilst both West Brom and Fulham featured 2 Northern Irishmen in their Premier League campaigns for 2011/2012.

Of the players who turned out for Champions League victors Chelsea, only 28% of them were “British & Irish” whilst Norwich City players were 85% “British & Irish”. The team that we can all label “the foreign legion” are Arsenal who featured 22% “British & Irish” players during the 2011/2012 season. Wigan Athletic fielded the lowest percentage of Englishmen with 13% of their players being eligible for England.

 

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Statistics

 

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Premier League Champions 2011: Manchester United


After similar pieces on League Two, League One and the Championship it seemed apt to do one on the Premier League. The following tables show the Premier League table had the season stretched from 1st January 2011 to 31st December 2011. The first table displays the seventeen teams who spent the entirety of 2011 in the Premier League.

Unsurprisingly it’s the 2010/2011 Premier League champions Manchester United who lead the way with 87 points, closely followed by their “noisy neighbours” Manchester City. It’s interesting to see just how well Spurs performed during 2011, losing only one more time (7) than Manchester United and Manchester City (both 6).

Premier League: Calendar Year 2011 (sorted by average points per game)

Premier League: Calendar Year 2011 (sorted by average points per game)

The next table includes the three relegated sides and the three promoted sides of 2011. It gives an indication as to why Blackpool were relegated (an awful second part to the 10/11 season), it’ll be interesting to see whether the three promoted sides (QPR, Swansea and Norwich) experience similar problems heading into the latter stages of the current season.

Premier League: Calendar Year 2011 (sorted by average points per game)

Premier League: Calendar Year 2011 (sorted by average points per game)

2011 – a terrible year for teams whose name begins with the letter ‘B’.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Club, Statistics

 

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Lost nicknames of the Football League


Football has a habit of re-writing history. If it isn’t trotting out statistics with the prefix “since the Premier League began”, then it’s defining a relatively arbitrary cut-off point of “post-war”. Despite these handy devices it has not stopped Manchester United supporters claiming superiority over Liverpool with their 19 titles (first title won in 1908), one ahead of Liverpool’s 18 (first one won in 1921).

When Manchester United won their first league title over 100 years ago the landscape of the English game was very different. United had only been wearing their now famous red kit for six short years (having changed from white in 1902), whilst Liverpool’s regular home strip featured white shorts rather than the now familiar red (the club only changed to all red in the mid 60s). Whilst many of the kits that teams wore in the early part of the 20th Century would be familiar to many football fans today, a lot of the nicknames probably wouldn’t.

One of the most intriguing cases can be seen in Sheffield. Both Wednesday and United were known as “The Blades”, due to the city’s association with steel, United were often called the Cutlers in the early days. It was only when Wednesday made the move across the city to Hillsborough and the Owlerton district that the distinction between the Blades (United) and the Owls (Wednesday) was made.

Throughout the twentieth century clubs have changed, adapted or dumped altogether previous nicknames. The above set of cards was released as part of a set in 1933 by Ogden Cigarettes. It featured fifty different football clubs from the Football League, each card displaying a visual representation of the club’s nickname. This set of Ogden’s Cigarettes Football Nicknames can normally be bought on ebay for about a fiver. It’s likely to be a reproduction set but it’s well worth the outlay as it offers a marvellous insight into 1930s football.

Whilst many know Sunderland as the Black Cats these days it hasn’t always been like that. For much of the 20th Century Sunderland were known as the Rokerites (a reference to their home ground Roker Park) and it was only on moving to the Stadium of Light that they reverted back to their old nickname. Manchester City‘s recent rise to the higher echelons of the Premier League have almost made the requirement for a nickname redundant (in the same way that Alan Green feels everyone should know when he says ‘United’ that he means Manchester United, not Newcastle the same can almost be said for City). Say the word “City” to most football fans and they’ll almost certainly think you mean Manchester (City). However, look in any edition of the Rothmans Football Yearbook and you’ll see that Manchester City’s official nickame is the Citizens. In fact, most clubs with the appellation “City” have been called the Citizens in print at some point or another.

I thought it important to include New Brighton in this list, a club that sadly folded not many years after these cards were produced. They were a club from Merseyside and played their games at Sandheys Park in Rake Lane (which explains their nickname The Rakers). One of their neighbouring clubs Liverpool are also displayed above. They were once known as the Mariners due to the city’s maritime past, but that moniker has long been forgotten and the club are more likely to be referred to as “The Reds” these days. As for Birmingham City‘s nickname, well, the club were once called “Small Heath” and their nickname was the Heathens – and the less said about the depiction the better, I think…

What’s particularly interesting about this set of cigarette cards is that the narrative of each card often mentions that clubs are “depicted as” something rather than nicknames; clubs were often featured in newspapers as cartoons. Blackburn Rovers, according to the narrative on the back of the card, were depicted as a highwayman – indicating how they would often “hold up” their opponents. The Crystal Palace card shows a Glazier. Before the club took on the moniker of The Eagles they were known as the Glaziers, an obvious nod to “the big glass house”, Crystal Palace. Luton Town are known to many today as the Hatters, but in the 1930s they were widely referred to as the Straw Hatters in honour of one of the town’s major industries. They even featured a Straw Plaiter on their badge during this period. The Bristol City card depicts the club as a baby as the club were known as the “Bristol Babes” at the time, unfortunately as the years wore on they took on Robins as their name and in recent years have even toyed with the boorish Cydermen as a nickname.

Whilst many fans are currently bemoaning the money involved in the modern game, The Premier League, Carlos Tevez, EPPP and a variety of football ills there is one that remains in my mind as the greatest injustice and tragedy of them all. It is that in the 1970s Reading Football Club changed their nickname from the Biscuitmen (or Biscuiteers) to the Royals. This affront to decency took place when Huntley & Palmers closed their biscuit factory in Reading. The football club wasting no time in forgetting their history changed their nickname to the Royals due to some dubious link between Berkshire and the Royal family. This insult to football has led to an entire generation of headline writers to miss out on such beauties as “Reading crumble as opposition take the biscuit”. It is a loss that the football family has had to bare for over 40 years.

 

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2011 in Club

 

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Analysis of player nationalities at Premier League clubs 2010/2011


As a follow up to my previous blogpost related to the different nationalities represented in the Premier League I thought it might be interesting to slice the data slightly differently. This time I’m going to look at player nationality by club. The data in this article relates to the nationality of players who started matches in the Premier League last season (2010/2011). For example, every club has 418 starting berths each season, that’s 11 players multiplied by 38 games. Of those 418 potential starting berths, Birmingham City used 242 Englishmen. That’s a percentage of around 57%.

Only six teams in the Premier League last season fielded teams that featured more than 50% Englishmen. These were  Birmingham City, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United and West Ham United. The following table displays the most English clubs in the Premier League last season.

Clubs with most English starting players in the Premier League 2010/2011 season

Clubs with most English starting players in the Premier League 2010/2011 season

A few things of note:

  • The three relegated sides Birmingham City, Blackpool and West Ham are in the top seven most English sides.
  • It is Wigan Athletic and Arsenal who have the least English sides by far. They are also the only two clubs in the Premier League whose most used nationality was not English. Arsenal’s was (unsurprisingly) French, whilst Wigan Athletic had more Honduran starters than any other nationality last season.
  • Of England’s Champions League representatives for the 2011/2012 season it is Manchester City who are the most English having started Englishmen 43 more times than their city rivals Manchester United.
Clubs featuring most of one particular nationaliy

Clubs featuring most of one particular nationaliy

A few things to note on the above data:

  • Wolves feature a large number of Irishmen, this is probably unsurprising due to their manager being ex-Ireland international Mick McCarthy.
  • Blackpool were the “most Welsh” Premier League side during 2010/2011. Both David Vaughan and Neal Eardley featured regularly for the Tangerines.
  • Fulham featured a number of Northern Irish players, a hang-over from Lawrie Sanchez’ era at Craven Cottage perhaps?
  • Liverpool featured more Spanish starters than any other side, their previous manager to Kenny Dalglishg was (of course) Spaniard Rafa Benitez,
Different nationalities starting games by club Premier League 2010/2011

Different nationalities starting games by club Premier League 2010/2011

A couple of things to note related to the above data:
  • The most English side Birmingham City also started the least number of nationalities (only 9) during the Premier League campaign.
  • West Brom used more than double the number of nationalities than Birmingham City.
If you have any ideas on ways this data can be further analysed I’d be happy to hear from you.
 
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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Club

 

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