Europe’s Top 5 Football Leagues: What the Data Tells Us about Goals | MicroStrategy
Data Visualization

Europe’s Top 5 Football Leagues: What the Data Tells Us about Goals

Here at MicroStrategy, we continue our look at Opta data examining Europe’s top five football leagues with an analysis of how goals are being scored across the continent.

We're at the halfway stage of the season in Europe's top football leagues. While the Premier League looks like it's done and dusted already, Liverpool are runaway leaders with games in hand—and another coronation appears to be in the cards for Ligue 1's Paris Saint Germain.

So far there have been 2,434 goals across Europe’s top five leagues from 20,053 attempts at goal, which means that just one in eight (12%) shots result in a goal.

Fig 1: Europe's shot summary

The Premier League features the most accurate shooters, with 42% of the 4,431 shots (1,851) so far this season being on target. The Bundesliga is close behind with 41%, while Ligue 1 trails on 38%. There is only a 4% difference between the most and least accurate leagues, but it's the small margins in football that make the difference.

How do Europe's Leagues Differ?

The way the goals go in across Europe tell us a lot about the style of play in those countries. For example, a third of the goals (32.4%) in Spain's La Liga come from set pieces (free kicks, penalties and corners), and 67.6% come from open play. The most similar league to Spain is Italy's Serie A, where 69% of goals come from open play and 31% from set pieces.

Germany's Bundesliga is the freest flowing, with 352 of its 479 goals (73.5%) coming from open play. England's Premier League sees the next-highest amount of goals from open play (73%). This might explain why English and German teams make up six of the top-ten scoring teams across the top five leagues.

Fig 2: Europe's top scoring sides

What the Data Tells Us: Other Interesting Facts

  • Teams have hit the crossbar 184 times this season in Europe’s top five leagues, with Spanish clubs hitting it most (44) and Bundesliga sides least (26)
  • The Premier League has contributed almost a quarter (23.25%) of all goals in Europe's top divisions (567) and France's Ligue 1 the fewest (18.5% - 454 goals)
  •  Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski heads the European scoring charts with 19 goals
  • Mubarak Wakaso of Deportivo Alavés in the Basque Country tops the naughty chart with nine yellow cards and a red from just 1,202 minutes of play—that’s a booking every 120 minutes or 1.3 matches
  • Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk has hit the most passes (1,615) this season in any of the top five European leagues
  • Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne tops the assists chart with 12

Would you like to explore the data yourself? Take a look at the dossier on MicroStrategy and let us know what you find interesting.

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