The League of Nations – Premier League Player Stats 2012/13

The Premier League 2012/13 season played host to a range of world class talent from across the globe. We take a look at the best of this talent through the medium of statistical visualisation

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The 244 players to take part in the Premier League last season consisted of 51 different nationalities. Whilst Greg Dyke’s ‘grand statement’ seems to have opened up old wounds about the number of foreign players in the league, the pretty pictures above show that we English are being regularly treated to a cavalcade of extraordinary talent on our front doorstep.

But who was the most talented group of the lot?

Well, using this data, it was those pesky English themselves. By combining the collective ratings and calculating the average, the Home Team scored a rating of 7.26, just pipping the Spanish (7.22) and the South Americans (7.21). Unfortunately, for several reasons, this is not a feature we can laud over other nations or the foreign player neigh-sayers.

Firstly, whilst the overall average for England is impressive, that is accounted for by a group of eleven statistically good players and not one or two great players. Spain, South America, The Home Countries, Belgium and the Rest of the World had a player that achieved a higher average rating than Andy Carroll and, with the exception of Belgium, these ratings were significantly higher. This could be considered as worrying for the national game. Big countries tend to have a stand out player – Spain has Iniesta, Portugal has Ronaldo, Brazil – Neymar, Argentina – Messi. England used to have Rooney but last season appears to have evidenced a decline in the talisman.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, we have to take into account the phrase that has been doing the rounds this week – ‘talent pool’. With the highest percentage of players in the Premier League, it seems only reasonable that the English boys should have the best average rating. Its simply a matter of probability – the more raffle tickets you buy, the more chance you have of winning a prize.

So England has the pool, but it may not have the talent. Performing a similar average rating calculation across the other big European Leagues makes for bad news. The eleven highest rated Spanish players in La Liga last year got an average rating of 7.33. The eleven Italians in Serie A got 7.47 and the eleven Germans in the Bundesliga achieved a whopping 7.62.

Is it possible to blame foreign players for the mediocre average ratings of the English players in the Premier League last season? Or can we finally move past this and start looking for a real cause of a nations woes?

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