Forums / The Stands: Intelligent Footy Debate
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Which League Is The Best? How Can This Conclusion Be Reached Objectively??
Josue (Barcelona) 4 years ago
Spain has 6 teams within 1 point of European competition (next best = 4 points out), France has 3 teams within 3 points (next best = 10 points out), Germany and Italy both have 2 teams within 3 (next best = 4 points out) and 2 (next best = 7 points out) points respectively, and England has 1 team within 2 points (next best = 12 points out).

Spain has 5 teams in European competition semi-final play with only England, Germany and Portugal sending one representative each.

Does this mean that Spanish teams are better overall or that the league is more competitive?

What other, objective ways exist to rate leagues irrespective of preference for style of play?
TheTorresBounce (Liverpool) 4 years ago
It can't be reached objectively unless you properly define what you mean by "best". Do you mean the best teams, most competitive, the average quality of teams etc. Even then its difficult to objectively reach a conclusion, if not impossible
Josue (Barcelona) 4 years ago
I mean most competitive with a greater number of teams sharing the goals and victories
ManUK (Manchester United) 4 years ago
I define the best league as having the best overall quality of play from all teams. In that respect the La liga is nowhere close to the best
Ant (Liverpool) 4 years ago
I tend to agree with ManUK on this one. If a relegation battling team can play a top of the table team and pull off an amazing 2-1 victory with passion and heart, that has to be good for entertainment
SuperMonkeyBalz (Manchester United) 4 years ago
If you mean best by most money, then the Premier League will eat all the others all day and all night. Sad...
Ant (Liverpool) 4 years ago
Which is best, an apple, an orange or a banana?

Each league brings something different to the table. If Real Madrid played Man City ten times, they might win five each. If they play 20 times, Man City might win 15 of the 20. Does that prove one league is better? No
Jeroen (Barcelona) 4 years ago
City would never win 15 out of 20 against Madrid.

But seriously though: I don't think Madrid would lose more games against any team than win if they played 20 times, except for their nemesis. They're frighteningly good this year.

I'm not going to get my hands dirty on the subject of better leagues, because to me, no matter what teams may or may not be qualitatively better, I prefer technical, intelligent football. I do like the BPL, but primarily because they have BBC's Match of the Day, which is by far the best footballing program there is. And because I also like English commentators
Barracuda (Manchester United) 4 years ago
Both the leagues offers different type of football. Like jeoren said, he prefers technical and intelligent football so he likes la liga.

I prefer counter attacking and good old wing play so I prefer BPL. Plus the unpredictability and atmosphere makes the BPL more appealing in terms of pure entertainment
Josue (Barcelona) 4 years ago
The average points per team across the big 5 leagues is 44. To date, Spain have 11 teams above this mark, England have 8, and Germany, Italy and France all have 7. Does this indicate league strength?

I have examined the parity of each league with respect to points and goal differential. I used a simple standard deviation (SD) tool if anyone wants to replicate my study. The smaller the SD, the closer the teams are to each other. Ligue 1 ends up having the most parity (SD = 10. 94 for points and SD = 13. 24 for goal differential). Serie A is next (SD = 11. 29, 16. 27), then the Bundesliga (SD = 13. 02, 23. 03), followed by La Liga (SD = 14. 30, 24. 81), and the EPL (SD = 15. 40, 27. 39).

This might lead you to believe that Spain has a higher percentage of strong teams compared to other leagues but that La Liga itself is not as competitive overall as Ligue 1 or Serie A.

Any other thoughts?
Juno (AC Milan) 4 years ago
Because your 'objective' is to somehow proof La liga is strongest....(I might be wrong, but I'm just playing the devil's advocate here. ) I'm here to argue against it.

I judge La liga as a broken league. Much like what SPL is and was. No longer can we expect anyone else to challenge for the title when the money league is dominated by Barca and Madrid. The money that those giants received for the league distribution takes up la lion share if I did not remember wrongly, with the rest being shared by 18 other teams. (can't bother to reread, but for those interested, )The way they dominate the league doesn't makes it the best. As for the race to top 4, that's even more of a joke as every teams that are fighting for the fourth spot doesn't seems to wants it. .

" This Monday morning the table is eloquent: there are 10 points between first and second, 11 between second and third and seven between third and fourth. After that, there is virtually nothing between virtually all of them. Twenty-eight points separate Espanyol in fourth place – and a slot in next year's Champions League – from the top, but just two points separate fourth from 10th and just four points separate fourth from 14th; just seven points stand between fourth and the last safe place (17th)."

Granted that was 2 months ago, but the scene hasn't really changed much.

In terms of best league, would the strength be best looked at with the number of changes the number one spot changes between clubs? Or the last twenty years of champions to determine the league overall strength?

In sheer competitiveness, read:Link: Link:
Both articles makes sound opinion in discussing the numbers with the competitiveness of the leagues. And La liga never comes up on top.

So if a league isn't the most competitive, can it be the strongest? Just basing on average points per team doesn't tell the full tale does it?
It's a good start though. Hopefully we can see some Bundesliga, Serie A or EPL fans that can provide some number proofs to argue for their leagues.

Josue (Barcelona) 4 years ago
I would appreciate if you did the same analysis on all the leagues (Big 5), which is what I have done. I am familiar with the Sid Lowe articles and the discussion about the problems with La Liga. I agree with them 100%. I didn't start this thread to prove that Spain is the best. I just want to understand the stats and standings that I see.

I have shown that, this season France is the most competitive league (I. E. Most parity) but I wonder what it means that Spain have such strong teams (.... Or do they?). Further more, my methods are similar to the report except that mine is more current. The tables of all the leagues have changed a lot since January.

Just to be clear.... I am not biased towards Spain with respect to this topic. I have only been following league football since 2007 and have a lot of newbie questions

Thanks for your thoughts and the great articles! I love Sid Lowe and appreciate your use of solid football reporting. FYI the Soccer By Numbers article doesn't exist any more
Juno (AC Milan) 4 years ago
Bah. It's 'cause by the darn comma at the end of the link.... Remove that from the html and presto!

Btw, I wouldn't have the time to compile some stats even if I want to. My time(or rather, freetime) in FT has shorten ever since I started a new job.

It's an interesting piece of debate though, otherwise, I won't be putting my time in here
Alexinho (AC Milan) 4 years ago
I won't say which league is best but I do think I know a way that could in the end say something about which league got more quality clubs (even if not better league perhaps)

Currently it would be tempting to follow the FIFA coefficient calculation but as well as it has it flaws in how it calculate points (Barcelona getting less points than Manchester United in the season they won for instance and EL matches counts as much as champions league matches if you disregard the extra prize points for moving from group stage and winning the competition) There is another problem with some team failing to priority EL games and rather aim to qualify for next year champions league in the home league.

Personally I think taking a spot from the top 3 Leagues as well as 6th (last one with 3 champions league spots) and hand these champions league spots out to the finalists of the different competition instead would be more benefiting. Then we could rather have a system that says if a team qualify through both league and reaching the final, the next one in that league will get an qualification as well.

Example: Barcelona and Madrid meet eachother in champions league final:

Both qualify for next year champions league as well as become first and 2nd in the league. Now Spain were supposed to have 3 champions league spots and another 3 EL spots. But thanks to this, it won't be 1st 2nd and 3rd who qualify for these spots but 3rd 4th and 5th instead. Then add that Atletico Madrid meet Athletic Bilbao in the final as well and qualify through this. ANd they get 3rd and 4th spot in La Liga (in the theory). Now it is 5th 6th and 7th placed in La Liga who qualify for champions league (wherever they get on the table, it be 7 la liga teams qualifying for Champions league, some directly to group stage other to qualification games)

This would say that in theory, one country could have as many as 7 champions league teams, and I do recognize that this could be a problem but in the real world, how often would this actually happen? This season it is possible but before the season set of, I am sure you would get high odds putting your money that it would be only Spanish teams in the final. And having as much as 7 champions league teams and 3 EL teams would make it hard to draw out many points from the Coefficient system anyway.

Now teams like Udinese, Napoli, Roma, Lazio and other who comes to EL and then decide to rest their players because they want to qualify for the next year champions league would have one less spot to compete for in Serie A and no longer have an excuse for doing poor in EL as it has no real value. Now it would have a really big value of 2 champions league spots who also adds more champions league spots to their given country and give them the right for a trophy which would be higher considered as more teams start to do their best for winning it.

With this system, more teams would give their best out in Europe and we could easier say in an objective tone that one given league are better that season than another at least. (At least when it comes to number of teams with European standard over their game)
Matt (Footytube Staff) 4 years ago
This is a tricky question and one that is very easy to say 'Impossible to compare' but a lot less fun.

So my thoughts on the top four leagues in europe (in my opinion).

In a teams in a league versus other leagues basis. i.e. which league has the best teams. Due to the performance of the Spanish teams in the Europa League I would have to say they would just edge it. It would be close though as the quality of the BPL middle tier teams has increased as the season has moved on.

In a competitive basis. Since the start of the Premier League 4 teams have claimed the title with Man Utd dominating with 12 titles.

In Liga BBVA (since 1992) there have been 5 different winners. Barcelona claim the most titles in this period with 9 titles.

In Serie A there has also been 5 different winners in the BPL time frame. With Milan with 6 titles, Inter and Juventus with 5.

In the Budesliga. There has been 7 different winners. Bayern Munich claiming 10

So this would indicate that although the Bundesliga has more winners the spread of titles is greater in Serie A therefore making it the most competitive.

In a 'Bums on Seats' basis i.e. which is the most watched league. Over the 380 games played in 3 leagues last season the BPL comes top with a total attendance figure of 13,407,540 next is the LIGA BBVA with 11,039,808 then Serie A comes in with 9,131,780. The Bundesliga only plays 306 games and comes in with 13,057,899 which works out as 42,673 per game making it the most watched league in stadiums. However, No league can compete with the BPL's international appeal and is watched by more than 600 million people in over 200 countries.

So there you go according to these stats its either the Premier League, Serie A, Liga BBVA or the Bundesliga.

So I am going to hedge my bets and plump for The Npower Chamionship which may lose on a league basis but every year has a different winner AND runner up! And most importantly is watched by me.
TheBarcaShow (Footytube Staff) 4 years ago
Good solid analysis you can't really argue with the facts presented. Football wise.... It is preference
Kisho (Arsenal) 4 years ago
Epl definetly  
Josue (Barcelona) 4 years ago
The iffhs has decided that Spain has the strongest league this year:




Do you guys follow this organization? How credible is it?


BeefCurtains (Limerick) 4 years ago
If EPL/England produced teams that regularly won the champions league at least every other year AND had a national team that won tournaments in a likewise fashion then, yes, the EPL could have some justification in the "Mummy! Mummy! Look at! Ain't I just the greatest? " skit that it currently adopts.

But, in light of the fact that it doesn't clearly shows that it isn't. All this "b-b-but-it's-the-fastest-paced" or "Mummy-says-it's-the-most-watched" or "but-we-sold-more-halftime-pies-per-capita-blah-blah-blah" counts for naff all. It's just 'fluff' that's been ramped up by the media with the sole purpose of drawing focus away from the fact that English footballers ain't all that. And never have been really.

On a day to day basis, the UK is one of those countries where mediocrity and failure have become the accepted and firmly entrenched norms. So, naturally, to make themselves 'feel good' about a life of ineptitude, they have to crow about something.... Anything to compensate for the empty chasm that now occupies the area where their false bravado once lived. Add provincial attitudes and shrunken world views to the mix and.... Well, you know the rest.

(.... Wait until Andy Murray reaches another tennis final and see how he is embraced as 'British'.... Up until the point where he's about to lose. Then he goes 'back' to being Scottish again.)

Plus, once you deny the English the right to bang on and on about a war that took place long before they were born, for example, you'll generally find that footy is all that they have left to validate their.... Existence. Hence the reason why so many of these druids use footy as a conduit through which to vent and as to why these "best-league-in-ver-world" topics are soooo popular with those repressed islanders.

There's more butt I'll leave it at that.

For now

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