The Spanish league has long been heralded as the best in the world when it comes to passing proficiency but the statistics may disagree.
Romantically there is a significant difference between the way football is played in England and Spain. When it comes to the argument of where the better football is played most side with Spain. The possession tika-taka style of play where technical ability and passing astuteness are important attributes is engrained in our mind as the way of Spanish football. While the Premier League is more frenetic and unpredictable Spanish football is fluid and poetic and you would never get a Stoke City playing in the football purity haven that is Spain; or so they would want you to believe.
Read in to the following statistics what you will and decide for yourself.
First and foremost there is little doubt that right now Barcelona play the best football in the world in particular when it boils down to passing. However if you are to look at the top 20 passing teams across Europe a very interesting phenomenon crops up; Barcelona are the only La Liga team present.
Based on team passing accuracy Barca are the best in Europe with an average pass success rate of 89.9% but of the other 19 teams there is no place for a single other Spanish side.
Meanwhile representatives from England are nine-fold. Stand up and take a bow Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Swansea, Chelsea, Tottenham, Wigan and Fulham as you have gazumped the likes of Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Valencia when it comes to the thing they are supposed to do better than anyone.
But wait that is not an entirely fair statistic; for instance Spanish teams could simply attempt harder passes making it collateral damage that the pass accuracy will drop but the propensity for a killer pass then goes up.
So let’s look at general possession; top 20 across the continent again.
Barca are on top once again and have Spanish company this time in the form of Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano but that is it; a grand total of five.
How many English teams feature in the top 20?
Just six but four of those teams are in the top ten compared to a solitary Barcelona flying the La Liga flag for passing excellence and build-up play.
So does the Premier League have a better passing game than La Liga?
How do you explain these statistics?
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com…click here to view them for yourself.
image: © cedric_ramirez