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Roster Stability Reigns Supreme In Soccer

The Wall Street Journal recently reported a nine year study performed by a Swedish scientist observing the Premier League, the English second tier league, and Serie A and found that the teams that kept the most starting players over the years (aka their roster stability) were usually also among the best clubs in the league and did much better then teams that were usually prone to bringing in new transfers.

The study, which concluded in 2009, showed that the top four teams that were dedicated to roster stability in the EPL from 2000-2009 also happened to be four of the most successful clubs over that stretch as well. Manchester United was accredited with having the most stable roster, second was Chelsea, third Liverpool, and fourth Arsenal. The study also showed that the majority of teams that are bringing in new starting talent aren’t living up to the expectations with three of the four least stable rosters coming from perennial cellar dwellers. Wolves, Portsmouth, and West Ham were three of the four least stable rosters over the last nine years and Manchester City is the one exception to the rule due to the fact that they are spending an absurd amount of money to bring talent into their squad each year.

Some loopholes in the study include the fact that these less stable rosters mostly derive from teams that either are newly promoted or always near relegation. The reason why some of these squads are bringing in new players is because they were recently promoted and need more top tier talent or because they have lost the ability to pay the contract of one of their valued players due to a terrible debt and allowed him to leave. I’m sure Liverpool’s overall roster stability has taken a serious hit since this study wrapped up considering the loss of Mascherano this summer among other solid players that is obviously a big part of why they have dropped in the ratings recently.

But this January when the transfer market opens back up, the best thing for your team might be to add nobody to the mix.

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