Arsenal have fielded the fourth-youngest team in Europe’s top-five leagues since the start of the season, according to a report.
The CIES Football Observatory have put together a ranking of all the clubs in Europe’s big-five leagues by average age on the pitch since the start of the season, and only three teams can boast a younger side than the Gunners.
Arsenal’s team have an average age of 24.43 years, putting them just 0.03 years behind the youngest Premier League team – Southampton.
Valencia and Stuttgart are the top-two youngest in Europe, at 23.99 and 24.22 years respectively.
Arsenal also rank fourth in Europe for the percentage of minutes given to under-21 players, with 26.7%. Barcelona (29.5%), Almeria (28.2%), and Montpellier (27.7%) make up the rest of that top four.
That puts Arsenal in marked contrast with local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who are one of just a few clubs in Europe’s top-five leagues to give zero minutes to under-21 players.
64.2% of Spurs’ fielded players are 26 or older, compared to just 15.5% of Arsenal’s.
Inevitably, this is going to have some short and long-term consequences.
You’d expect older and more experienced teams to be able to draw on that experience to give themselves an edge in the short term, but they’ll inevitably have to replace large parts of their squad while Arsenal’s younger side grow together in the long term.
Currently sitting top of the league, perhaps Mikel Arteta’s young side can even defy the odds and win something sooner than expected. The fact they’re already competing with teams much older than theirs is impressive in its own right.