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December 14, 2011

What does it take to survive in the English Premier League?


If you love soccer, then it’s likely that you follow the EPL.  My favorite team?  ARSENAL!  Did you see the incredible goal by RVP Saturday against Everton? You may never see better technique and now he’s only one goal behind Thierry Henry’s team record for goals in a calendar year.  Please Lord, keep RVP healthy for a full season!

And if you love soccer and you love stats, then check out Soccer by the Numbers. Chris Anderson writes many quality posts and recently he blogged about points and relegation.  I wanted to take Chris’ ideas a step farther.  I needed a richer dataset than what Chris was able to provide, so I downloaded the final tables (i.e., standings) from the EPL back to the 2001-02 season from ESPNSoccernet. You can download the full dataset here.

I borrowed (or is it stole?) Steve Wexler’s technique for providing instructions (hover over the EPL logo to see what I mean).  There’s lots of interactivity in the viz, so first check out the instructions, then start clicking around. 

Answer this: How many teams have qualified for the Champions League with a negative goal differential?  Who were they? What else can you tell me about the team(s)?  Post your answer in the comments.


  1. Hi Andy, awesome dashboard in many ways!

    Looks like Everton, the recent victim of RVP's "brilliant" left-footed volley, was the only team to squeak through with a negative overall goal diff., allowing 1 more goal than they scored in accumulating 61 points in 2004-2005.

    Tottenham Hotspur had a negative away goal diff of -2 in 2009-10, but other than that, every qualifying team had both positive home & away goal diffs in their year of qualification.

    Super, super easy to find the answer due to expert dashboard design. Thanks for leading the way!

    Ben @DataRemixed

  2. Perfect Ben! Looks like the way I designed the dashboard worked.

    I hadn't noticed the negative AGD for Spurs. Good catch!

    Thanks for the comments.

  3. Newcastle had negative AGD in 2002-03 and Liverpool in 2006-07. Love the dashboard. Interested in learning about Tableau.

  4. Steve,

    Shoot me an email if you want some info about Tableau.

    Or visit