I was listening to the Arsenal Vision Podcast today and the topic of the age profile of the team came up.
I know I have talked about this before last season specifically, I believe that I called it "barbell" type distribution where Arsenal had a lot of kids and quite a few older players, with minimal prime players.
One of the things is that while this "feels" true it is also really easy to just go back and check.
So today I went and pulled the data for Arsenal's squad from FBRef going back to the 1992 - 1993 season so that I can examine how things look.
Let's start with the average age.
One of the things that stand out is that the last couple of seasons has featured younger teams but not radically younger teams. The 25.4 minuted weighted average age is just slightly below where it has been for the last 30 years (26.2), and well in line with the average of the last 10 years (25.7) and up from the days of project youth where the average age dropped below 24.
The 90's were also a different time with regards to the ages of the players.
Next, I want to look at the % minutes that went to players in their "Prime." Ideally, you would look at things by position and if someone wants to go look at it, I would be happy to share it but for this to keep things simple I am simply looking at players in the ages 24 to 29.
Last season saw 53% of the minutes Arsenal had goto players in their prime. That is well in line with what Arsenal has done over the last 10 years. The high point came in 2015/16 (where Arsenal really should have been positioned to win the title). The other peak was at the invincible era, which was re-set not long after with project youth.
The nadir was in the late 90's and as we saw in the average age chart, was not driven by youth.
Next let's take a look at the percentage of minutes going to players 23 and under.
The "Project Youth" is obvious in this chart, where Arsenal topped out with more than half the minutes going to young players. The last two seasons have seen more youth but not at an unprecedented level.
Lastly the older guys.
Arsenal has always had some older players, but since the 2000's it has not been over 30%.
Here is how it looks overall.
It will be interesting how things look the rest of this season, but I imagine it will look be a bit more of an increase in the pre-prime share but perhaps still below where Arsenal was in the height of project youth.