After following the WSL for a couple of seasons, I thought I’d try to spread my wings. I aim to start following the European women’s league as well. Knowing nothing about them though, I first wanted to dive into some data and clips to try and get the lay of the land.
I did debate which leagues to look into. I’ve looked at the leagues which correspond to the top five men’s leagues, even though these may not be the top five women’s leagues. I was going to look into the Scandinavian leagues. They’ve had teams progress in the Champions League and solid international teams but I didn’t bother. Mostly because a few of them don’t run at the same time as the English league. It’s a silly reason, but there’s something about comparing the data from a 2020 season to 2020/21 that puts me off.
I also didn’t include the NWSL for a similar reason. The Australian W-League was another interesting one I was debating but didn’t include. I thought four new leagues was enough for now and the time difference makes it harder to follow these two. There’s always another time though.
Before going any further, I have to warn you. This will be a nightmare to read. It would have been better for me to not write through this. Instead, I should have gone through it and picked out a few things to write about on their own, going into more depth. But I didn’t. It’s me talking a lot and saying little. I only did it this way as writing through it might help me learn or make it stick better. The bulk of the words are me saying “so and so has interesting figures, which suggests x, but I haven’t seen much of them so that might not be true”.
If you’re already familiar with the European leagues or have paid any attention to them this season, there’s likely little of interest. I tried to steer away from repeating things like “hey, that Lyon are pretty good” over and over, but not with the best of success.
I’m treating it more like a jumping-off point. The aim is to try and get a small knowledge of some of the teams, player, trends and narratives that I can follow from this point onwards.
Before starting I’ve also got to point out some of the data isn’t great. Not only are there missing matches in the Spanish and Italian leagues, but I also don’t have faith in all the figures. I’ve seen things about the data provider not being great, but figure it’s better than nothing. There’s also an annoying problem with a lot of the averages. When looking at teams they give the average PPDA or passes per possession for each match. To get the general average you’re left with no choice but to average the averages, rather than totalling everything up. Again, it’s better than nothing.
There also isn’t any video of the Bundesliga available on WyScout which is frustrating. The league seems to have a group of teams eyeing up Champions League football with either interesting looking team or player stats. It’s odd because they’ve got the matches tagged and have data, but no video.