We’ve all heard about the two words to describe Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert’s preferred type of player. ‘Young and hungry’ is the repeated mantra and Lambert has put his money where his mouth is – out of the seven players brought into Villa during the summer, the oldest signing was Czech forward Libor Kozák, a mere 24 years of age. So how does the average age of Aston Villa compare to the rest of the Premier League? Luckily Sporting Intelligence have saved us the job of getting out the calculator with the table below.
There’s no surprise to see the Aston Villa average age of their starting XI top the table. Their line-up against Liverpool was the youngest top-flight line-up in England this season, with Leandro Bacuna (22) six years younger than Karim El Ahmadi (28), who had started the previous two games and also the recent Newcastle game.
It’s amazing to think that Brad Guzan (29), Ron Vlaar (28) and Gabriel Agbonlahor (26) are considered the experienced heads in the team, yet they themselves would tell you, they’d consider their best years are still very much ahead of them.
Long-term vs Short-term
In Villa’s game against Liverpool this season, their opponents were almost three years older per player.
While it’s easy to say (hope) it’s great for Villa’s future, what about the here and now? Is Lambert taken things to such an extreme that the current inexperience will impede the team in the present? Are Villa not crying out for a 26-30 year-old midfielder with a bit of nouse and quality to help open up teams, especially at Villa Park?
Liverpool’s average age in the game at Villa Park was nudging 27 and is what is considered the optimum average age of a football team. A fact back up by the average age of the best teams that won titles across Europe last season.
The title-winning team in Europe’s ‘Big 5′ divisions averaged 27-years-old, give or take a few months:
Manchester United (England) – averaged 26.76 years.
Barcelona (Spain)- averaged 26.73 years.
PSG (France) – averaged 26.87 years.
Bayern Munich (Germany) – averaged 26.2 years.
Juventus’s (Italy) – averaged 27.7 years.
The successful average age of 27 is a good advert for the adage of successful teams needing a blend of experience and youth. Something the Aston Villa average age of their Starting XI doesn’t really offer.
In terms of Lambert’s ethos when it comes to the transfer market, any quality players aged 27 and above are likely to be on decent wages, which is off-putting to Lambert in terms of him purchasing them for Villa. The Villa boss prefers his players to earn their spurs and pay-rises while playing for the club. It’s a good long-term strategy, but will it handicap Villa in the short-term? Only time will tell. UTV
What do you think about the average age of Villa’s team? Does it need more experience for the short-term? Please comment below
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Sporting Intelligence story around the above table can be found here