By Mark J. Fine
The Barclay’s Premier League 2012/2013 season has certainly come to a dramatic conclusion, and a couple of team strategies consistently showed throughout the year. Aston Villa evaded near-relegation by a strong finish with an extremely youthful side averaging only 24.5 years. Some of this may be due to the fact that their average injury age was 26.8, which is much closer to the overall league average of 27.3. So this may have been a case of youth by necessity.
Liverpool also began the season with a youthful team, but reversed this around the November time frame, finishing at 26.6. In stark contrast, Fulham seemed to favor more seasoned players, with a final average playing age of 30.9. Both Aston Villa and Fulham were outliers throughout the season, as the remainder of the league averaged in the 25.7 (Southampton) to 29.2 (Everton) range.
Also evident was the trend that began to emerge in mid-November, where injuries reported for teams at the top of the Premier League Injury Table were amongst players around 26 years of age. These also tended to be younger playing sides than those with fewer injuries. An interesting and unexpected result is that the injury ages of these sides were generally less than the team playing age, mostly dropping below the diagonal break-even line.
The statistics were compiled as follows: The average age of each team as weighted by playing time is shown along the horizontal axis. The average age of each injured player comprising the Premier League Injury Table is shown along the vertical axis. The value in the current Premier League Injury Table is used for the relative size of each bubble. For this final tally, we’ve compiled all of the graphs going back to the beginning of October into a fluid animation showing how these changed over time:
The Final Premier League Injury Table for the 2012/13 seson can be found here.by