Age Matters: The Premier League's Youngest and Oldest Squads Revealed

Updated: 3232 Football

Discover the age dynamics in the Premier League! From the youngest to the oldest squads, find out who's betting on youth in the title race.

Age Matters: The Premier League's Youngest and Oldest Squads Revealed
Dan Tracey Data Scientist and Football Editor

Writer, analyst, podcaster, Spurs fan. Three out of four is not bad. If there is a data angle, I will find it.

🏆⚽️ In a dramatic conclusion to the Premier League, Manchester City emerges as champions. But age plays a crucial role too! 🌟👥 Check out the average squad age rankings, from youngest to oldest! 📊🔥 Youth vs experience in the quest for glory! 🌟🏆

With the 2022/23 Premier League season recently coming to a dramatic conclusion, it is now time to all take a collective breath and although Manchester City will once again be singing to the tune of champions, that is not the only title is up for grabs.

Because within the world of football, there is always the argument between youth and experience and although clubs would love to win trophies with a litany of young precocious talents, this may also be offset by a selection of players who have been there and done it in the past.

Which is arguably something that saw Arsenal fall short at the very last hurdle and with Champions League football looking likely to return to the Emirates at one point, their young squad then failed to cross the finish line before Pep Guardiola’s light blue machine.

Then again, even second place in the Premier League is not to be sniffed at and with Mikel Arteta cultivating a youthful squad in the red half of North London, he will hope for better fortunes when each of his players are a year older from now.

While with this topic of Arsenal’s young squad being one that is currently up for debate, it also offers us another ideal opportunity to take a data-driven deep dive and this time around we are going to hand out a title based on the average age of the 20 Premier League squads.

📊🔎 Taking a data-driven deep dive in the Premier League! 🏆 Revealing a new title based on squad age averages! ⚖️🌟 Who's the youngest? Who's the oldest? Let the numbers tell the story! 📊🔍

Of course, when it comes to age, what is best is ultimately subjective and although we could focus purely on experience, we are going to focus on youth instead. This means without further ado, here is the Premier League table when ranked from the youngest average squad to oldest.

Measure taken on all players who have appeared or that club at any point of the season 

🔝🏆 Brighton reigns supreme! 📊⚽️ With an average age of 23.5, their young Seagulls soar into Europe! 🌍🔥 Testament to their envy-inducing recruitment policy. 🚀⭐️ Exciting times ahead as they nurture talent and make their mark! ✨🙌

At the top of the pile is none other than Brighton. At an average age of 23.5, their young Seagulls have swooped into Europe next season, and this is seemingly testament to their recruitment policy which is the envy of many clubs up and down the country. 

With Alexis Mac Allister already on the move and a number of other stars likely to also change employers in the summer, Brighton will have to hope that their conveyor belt of talent keeps rolling but with such a young average in terms of talent, the club does seem in good hands.

Then again, the ability of age can be viewed from the opposing angle and when you look at Southampton’s average it manages to paint a rather different picture – a picture where the central theme is relegation for the Saints.

Throughout the 2022/23 campaign many questioned whether Southampton had the experience to stay up and at an average age of just 23.8, it is safe to say that they did not. The same could also be said for fellow relegated outfit Leeds at 24.2.

🔄⚖️ Age is a double-edged sword! ⚔️📊 Southampton's young squad at an average age of 23.8 couldn't avoid relegation. ⚡️💔 Leeds faced the same fate with an average age of 24.2. 🔄⚽️ Experience or youth, the battle for survival continues! 🔄⚔️

The same opposing argument could made when comparing Manchester City and their Leicester counterparts. The champions had an average age of 25.5, the team that also suffered relegation are at 25.6 – is age nothing more than a number when it comes performance? 

Of course, the same notion about not having enough experience could also be put towards Arsenal. The Gunners have the third youngest average squad and at 24.0 years of age, one wonders if a couple more years would have aided their quest of winning the Premier League title. 

At the other end of the pile, it is both Nottingham Forest and West Ham which had the oldest average age in the Premier League at 26.9. Both teams flirted with relegation but both teams also managed to avoid the drop.

The Perfect Balance

With that in mind, it is now time to compare each of the average ages in the Premier League to the respective final positions and perhaps more importantly, see if there are any further correlations that we can draw from this.

When looking at the table above, one thing should leap off the page and that is the fact that Manchester City finds themselves neatly within mid-table – something that suggests that the perfect blend of youth and experience has been combined.

As we now know, if a squad is too young or too old, it will run into trouble. However, with Manchester City having the ninth oldest squad, there was ideal equilibrium in their capture of a fifth Premier League title in six years.

🔴⚫️🔴 Experience pays off! Newcastle (26.4) and Man United (25.6) boast older squads, yet both reach Champions League. 🌟🏆 But beware the age balance ⚠️, as squads can also become too old. ⏳⚽️ Finding the sweet spot between youth and experience is key! 🤝💪

While it does seem as if experience has aided both Newcastle and Manchester United. The Magpies have the fifth current oldest squad in the Premier League at 26.4, the Red Devils find themselves with the seventh oldest at 25.6.

The common denominator between the two is that they both qualified for the Champions League and in this instance it does seem as if older heads have prevailed. At the same time, there is always that risk of a squad becoming too old.

In fairness, there is not a huge gap between Brighton at the top of the pile and both Nottingham Forest and West Ham at the bottom – just 3.4 years of age is the range, about the length of a standard Premier League contract.

Of course, Chelsea were known for handing out incredibly long contracts in a bid to circumnavigate FFP rules and with no fewer than 32 players being used across the 2022/23 season, the total average age was 24.7.

There is no doubt that the season just passed was nothing short of a disaster at Stamford Bridge, but it does look as if new manager Mauricio Pochettino has a lot to work with. Couple that with a rather big budget and the Blues’ fortunes could turn around again rather quickly. 

Over or Under

Southampton: 👶👎 52.78% under 25, lacking quality. Leeds: 💔 55.17% under 25, costly. Arsenal: 🌟 61.54% under 24, future looks bright, but maybe an older presence needed.

Another thing to consider here, is the makeup of each of the 20 Premier League squads and one way to get a better gauge of how each group is comprised, is by seeing the number of players who are under 25 and then 25 or over. 

Something that with the same sample data available, we have now managed to compile together another table.

The overriding notion that we can take from this is that both Southampton and Leeds needed more experience in their ranks. It was already something we knew when looking at our first table, but this third table only reinforces the same point.

Southampton have 52.78% of their players who were 25 or under and if you were to look at the 19 names that make up that percentage, you would also have to say that they were largely lacking on quality.

While things were no better at Elland Road, as Leeds used 29 players last season and 16 of those were under the age of 25. 55.17% were still in what can be considered their non-peak years, and this ultimately proved costly.

Compare that to Arsenal and Mikel Arteta’s men and of the 26 players that represented the North London outfit during the 2022/23 season, 61.54% were 24 or younger. The future does look bright at the Emirates but with an older face around the place, maybe the future could have been now.

Perhaps a little more experience in the Arsenal squad may have staved off the defeat to Man City in the race for the Premier league title.

The future is certainly now at the Etihad and with just eight players from 24 being under 25, it does suggest that Pep Guardiola is only prepared to sprinkle younger names in his squad. But to mix it with the very best you must be something extra special and his less senior crop certainly are.

Methodology and Contributor Information

All Data for this look at the average ages of Premier league players have been gained from FBRef.com 

Meet The Author

Researched and written by Dan Tracey ahead of Publishing by Steve Madgwick

Dan Tracey is a multi-talented writer, data analyst and podcaster whose six-year career in the sports data sphere has seen incredible successes. From helping UEFA create their annual technical reports to writing articles for Sports Betting Websites including sites like TheLinesUS and Goal - there's no shortage of areas where his expertise shines through! In addition he can be heard on podcasts lending an insightful voice as well as providing weekly betting angles - all culminating with him teaming up OLBG.com in the present day. Simply put: wherever you find angled data being crunched? You'll also likely find Dan not far behind!

We have a wide range of statistical articles on Football, the premier League and other divisions, all of which we think you will find interesting if you got this far in this article. Click on a link to read more.

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