European league table “footprints”, 2016/17

As I’ve already done for the English divisions, I’ve put together graphics showing how long each club spent in each league position this season.

These works as follows:

  • The clubs are listed down the side, in the order they finished in the final league table
  • Each row shows how many days that club spent in each league position
  • The season is considered to run from the date of the first match to the date of the last and excludes the play-offs
  • I’ve added dividing lines in both directions to indicate the automatic promotion places, the play-off zone, the division between top and bottom half and the relegation zone
  • There are also fainter outlines around each club’s final league position

The idea of this is that you can see the “footprint” that each club left in the table this season. Some stayed up one end, others bounced around a lot more etc. This isn’t supposed to be anything particularly profound, but when I ran it I was surprised to see how much time certain clubs spent quite a long way from their final position and how far most travelled over the course of the season.

For La Liga there was the added complication of the rule that head-to-head records trump goal difference (as long as all the clubs level on points had played all of their matches against each other). This required a bit of added coding but I got there in the end.

Barcelona were the only club not to spend a single day in the bottom half of the table, although in Real Madrid‘s defence they were only down there on the first two days of the season before their opening match (the first games were played on a Friday but theirs wasn’t until the Sunday). The champions spent the rest of the season in the top three.

The only team not to spend a single day in the top half were Valencia, who only sat above their final finishing position for two days of their campaign.

Espanyol look to have finished strongly as they never sat higher than their final league position, while neither Las Palmas or Leganes ever sat lower than where they finished in the table.

Bayern only spent 24 days below top spot, with Leipzig occupying it for 22 of those, plus Dortmund and Köln taking it for a day each. The champions never sat outside the top two, with Dortmund the only other club not to set foot in the bottom half all season.

Interestingly every club spent at least one day in the top half, although the combined stay of Augsburg, Hamburg, Ingolstadt and Darmstadt was just five days. Likewise LeipzigKöln and Hertha spent just four days in the bottom half between them.

It was a disappointing end to the campaign for Frankfurt, who never sat lower than their final position and spent more time in the top four than the bottom half (where they ended up).

Just like Bayern in the Bundesliga, Juventus only spent 24 days below top spot all season. Strangely it was Genoa who spent the next longest there – more than Roma and Napoli combined – after winning their first two matches.

Juventus and Roma were the only two teams not to spend a single day in the bottom half of the table, while relegated Palermo were alone in not venturing into the top half.

The extent of Crotone‘s escape is visible here: they spent just nine days outside of the relegation zone all season before leapfrogging Empoli, who had spent over 200 days hovering just above it.

Three of the final top four – PSG, Monaco and Lyon – went the whole season without setting foot in the bottom half of the table, while the only club not to spend a single day in the top half were relegated Nancy.

PSG may have finished comfortably above Nice in the end, but they spent just four days on top of the table and marginally more time in third (126 days to 119).

It was a good season for Guingamp, who finished 16th last year but spent more time in top spot than PSG or Lyon and just eight days in the bottom half this time around. Lille meanwhile spent just a week in the top half despite coming 5th last season.