Has European football gotten increasingly boring over the years? If you like offense, perhaps.
Since the mid-1950s, fewer and fewer goals on average have been scored per match. The trend is evident among the major national leagues (Spain, Italy, England and Germany) and also the Champions League, in which the best teams from each country compete for a European title.
Goals per match in the latter championship, formerly known as the European Cup, are down the most (-39%) since 1955 — followed by Spain’s La Liga (-30%), England’s Premier League (-14%) and Italy’s Serie A (-9%). Per-match goals in Germany’s Bundesliga are down 21% since 1964, the earliest data available.
This chart, made in Adobe Illustrator, attempts to the visualize the trend:
Data Source: worldfootball.net
Here’s another look at discipline in the Spanish La Liga soccer league, this time focusing on team-by-team totals.
This bubble chart represents yellow card totals by club:
With Many Eyes, you can toggle the view to show red card stats by team (bubbles are sized based on the proportion of all red cards, so don’t compare the two charts together):
Discipline varies widely in the Spanish first-division soccer league, or La Liga. These stats from last season group yellow cards violations by team and player. Real Zaragoza received 63 yellow cards. Sevilla FC, conversely, received just seven. The two marque teams in the league — Real Madrid and Barcelona — received 31 and 9, respectively.
Click the image to explore the interactive treemap on Many Eyes:
Data Source: ESPN
UPDATE: These data only reflect the most penalized players, so the team totals aren’t accurate. This post visualizes totals by team.