Squad age profiles: Premier League, 24 Dec 2019

In what will hopefully be the first of many “roughly halfway through the season” posts, here’s an old favourite.

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.

Crystal Palace have been operating the oldest squad in the league, with every starting XI this season having an average age of over 29 and less than 2% of their minutes going to players below the age of 26. Watford aren’t much younger – along with Burnley they’re one of two teams to have given over a third of their playing time to players in their 30s.

Man Utd have been putting out the youngest teams on average, although both Norwich and Chelsea have been giving a higher share of minutes to players aged 21 and under. Bournemouth and Brighton have given barely any playing time to players in their 30s: only around 3% each.