Some Premier League clubs pride themselves on what they do with their young players. Others value grizzled experience over youthful enthusiasm.
While there is no correct way of doing things, a lot of fans will prefer to see a younger side turning out as it gives hope of building for a brighter future or, in some cases, sustaining success.
Thanks to the excellent work of the CIES Football Observatory, we’ve ranked the 20 Premier League squads in 2021-22 from oldest to youngest.
As the stats show, age and league position don’t necessarily correlate. But after recent performances, Arsenal fans will be especially happy with their future prospects.
20. Burnley – 29
Are you really surprised?
As well as the oldest squad, Burnley also have by far the longest mean stay at the club of any side in the Premier League, their players having already been at Turf Moor 4.1 years on average.
Consistency is key for Sean Dyche.
19. Watford – 28.8
18. West Ham – 28.6
17. Wolves – 28.2
16= Everton – 28
With Andros Townsend, Salomon Rondon, and Asmir Begovic all signed by Benitez in the summer, it was clear he wanted to add some experienced heads.
As a consequence, the squad has dropped down this list from last year’s equivalent.
16= Crystal Palace – 28
Palace came bottom of this list last year, but with Patrick Vieira leading something of a revolution at Selhurst Park, they’ve started to renew their squad.
In have come youngsters like Michael Olise, Marc Guehi, Conor Gallagher and Odsonne Edouard, all aged 23 or under.
16= Liverpool – 28
13. Newcastle – 27.8
12. Chelsea – 27.6
11= Man Utd – 27.5
Like with Everton, United have slipped down this ranking, which might just have something to do with signing a certain 36-year-old Portuguese goal monster for the second time.
READ: The four players Man Utd signed alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003
11= Leicester City – 27.5
9. Brighton – 27.3
8. Man City – 27.1
7= Norwich City – 26.6
Bottom of the league, but upper-mid table here. As well as having a relatively young squad overall, Norwich have handed more minutes to Under-21 players than any other side in the Premier League this season.
Coming back from their current predicament will not be easy, but at least Dean Smith will have plenty of youth to work with if he does take over at Carrow Road.
7= Tottenham – 26.6
5. Leeds – 26.5
4. Aston Villa – 26.3
3. Brentford – 25.9
After a rip-roaring start to the season, Brentford have hit a patch of poor form. But with a lot of their squad made up of young players in their first season in the Premier League, that was to be expected.
With their moneyball style approach to squad building, Brentford have brought together a strong group of realtively young players who they hope will keep them in the top flight this season and grow into fully-ledged Premier League stars in the coming years.
2. Southampton – 25.8
1. Arsenal – 24.9
This placing will be a joy for Arsenal fans to behold.
The Gunners started the season poorly, causing much speculation over Mikel Arteta’s long-term future at the club. But they have since bounced back exceptionally strongly and going into the November international break were unbeaten in eight and fifth in the table.
With homegrown talent like Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka as well as newer additions to the north London club like Gabriel Magalhaes, Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Aaron Ramsdale all aged 24 or under and all playing well, the future looks healthy.
The project that Arteta has long talked up might actually be taking shape.