Last week, I wrote about visualising league tables spatially to reflect the points differences between teams. Inspired by Stephan’s tweet on comparing violin plots of points-per-game distribution across the big five leagues, I thought I’d address something that’s been irritating me for a while.
If you’re in the UK and start talking to somebody about European football, chances are they’ll say something a little like this:
“Right, yeah, English teams are bobbins in the Champions League because the Premier League might not have the highest quality, but it’s the best league in the world because of the competition and how close all the teams are. You never know who’s going to win it! It’s not like in Spain, where it’s always going to be Barcelona or Real Madrid winning it by a mile, and all the other teams don’t even matter.”
According to this stereotype, a spatial dotplot of the Premier League would look like this:
…while a spatial dotplot of La Liga would look like this:
This is a stereotype which may or may not be true. So, I’ve taken the tables from the Premier League and La Liga for the last ten completed seasons (2005-06 through 2014-15), and plotted the dotplots for each season with the two leagues side-by-side.
That was pretty useful, but then I figured, hey, I’m a cognitive neuroscientist, I spend most of my time experimenting on people… why not try that with football fans rather than bored undergraduates?
You will see dotplots of the two leagues side-by-side for a given season. All you have to do is guess which league is on the left and which league is on the right.
If La Liga and the Premier League conform to the (British) stereotype, it should be easy enough to guess which league is which from looking at the dotplots. In that case, the average score will be something like seven or eight out of ten. If not, it’ll be harder to guess which is which, and the average score will be fairly close to chance, probably somewhere between four and six out of ten.
Please have a go – it only takes about two minutes (if it takes longer than that, I know you’re cheating by looking it up!) – and share it with anybody who’s interested. The more people do it, the more accurate an average result there will be.
Here’s the full link – no registration or anything else needed:
I’ll write a follow-up blog with the full tables and details and results in a couple of weeks.