Squad age profiles: Premier League, 2018-19

Continuing today’s onslaught of end-of-season graphics for the Championship, here’s an updated version of the squad age profile graphic.

These are intended to give a quick visual overview of the age of players that each club has fielded in league matches using a technique very similar to “population pyramid” graphs, although I’ll freely admit that they’ve come out with shades of the Rorschach test (or as someone observed on Twitter, the Habitat lighting range).


Hopefully they’re fairly self-explanatory, but here’s a quick summary anyway:

For each club I’ve added up all the league minutes played by every player this season and calculated the percentage accumulated by players of every age, rolling up “18 and under” and “35 and over” for neatness’ sake.

Each vertical “step” on a club’s chart is a year, with the major age milestones denoted by slightly thicker lines (as per the labels on the left). The width of the coloured graph at each step corresponds to the percentage of minutes accounted for by players of that age.

I haven’t labelled the percentage values as the graphs were already getting pretty busy and I figured that the general shape and proportions were sufficient to compare teams against each other. I may revisit this (and a few other tweaks) later in the season once I’ve done a bit more tinkering.

I’ve also calculated the average age of each club’s starting line-ups this season and used this to sort all the clubs in a division from oldest to youngest.

Hopefully that’s enough to give you the idea, so let’s dive in.

Watford named the oldest line-ups on average this season – almost 29 years old – edging out Brighton by a few months. Both the Hornets and West Ham gave just under 40% of their playing minutes to players in their 30s this season, suggesting that both will need to bring in some new faces before too long. However Burnley and Cardiff put less faith in youth overall, with each only fielding one player under the age of 24: Dwight McNeil and Josh Murphy respectively.

Southampton – illustrated with a rather festive-looking plot – were the only club whose average starting XI clocked in at under 26 years of age, although the true champions of youth were Leicester and Everton. Both gave around 18% of their playing minutes to players aged 21 or under, such as Harvey Barnes and Tom Davies.