We take a look at the average age of each Premier League team’s starting XIs this season to work out who fields the oldest and youngest teams… and also ask what the implications are of playing an old or a young team.

Age really is just a number – in the Premier League, at least. And we’ve got the stats to prove it.

With elder statesmen such as Thiago Silva, James Milner and Ashley (not so) Young still going strong at the top while – generally speaking, at least – most fans would prefer their teams to look to youth and try to build for the future, we have had a look at the average age of each team to see whether younger teams fare any better.

At the end of last season, we looked at which teams show most faith in young players, and found that while Arsenal ran Manchester City close in the title race with the second-lowest average age of their starting XIs (25 years and 51 days), it was generally the case that the youngest teams did worst. The three teams other than Arsenal with the youngest average starting XIs – Southampton (25 years, 41 days), Leeds United (25 years, 285 days) and Leicester City (26 years, 155 days) – were all relegated.

That goes against what is often the perceived wisdom: that it is inherently positive to have younger players because doing so means they can develop and make for a brighter future. Some managers also prefer to work with younger players because they are more malleable and more likely to take on their ideas quickly.

But what about the here and now? Well, in 2023-24, there is less of a correlation between the age and league position, but there is a chance that the three who go down will be among the youngest. Surely-doomed pair Burnley and Sheffield United have the lowest (24 years, 257 days) and seventh-lowest (26 years, 75 days) average age of their starting XIs this season, respectively.

The final team in the relegation zone are Nottingham Forest, who have the sixth-youngest team on average (26 years, 50 days), though they are only in the bottom three because of their recent points deduction. Everton, who had a points deduction of their own, and Brentford are both looking over their shoulders having fielded teams at the older end of the scale.

Here’s a breakdown of the teams to field the youngest and oldest starting XIs in the Premier League this season.

The Youngest Premier League Teams in 2023-24

Vincent Kompany has been bold with the football his team have played since promotion to the top flight – too bold, some might say – and he has also been bold with his trust in youth. With the likes of 19-year-olds Luca Koleosho (13) and Wilson Odobert (16) both starting a decent proportion of their games, and 21-year-old James Trafford (28) only missing one match, the average age of Burnley’s starting XIs in their first season back in the big time is just 24 years and 257 days.

burnley squad age profile

That is the youngest in the Premier League this season and a fair bit younger than every team last term, too. Given how poorly Burnley have done in 2023-24 – they have won just four of their 29 matches – history could repeat itself for this season’s youngest team. Time will tell if the experience the Burnley youngsters are getting at the top level helps them in the long run, or if their recent win over Brentford can set the wheels in motion for one of the Premier League’s greatest ever escapes. But it isn’t looking great for the youngest team in the division.

Chelsea have the second-youngest team, with Mauricio Pochettino’s expensively assembled squad of young (and mainly attacking) players meaning they have an average age of their starting XIs of 24 years and 280 days. They are struggling somewhat this season, currently languishing in 11th place, though that will surely be as much to do with the speed with which the squad was thrown together and expected to perform rather than anything particularly wrong with the fact they’re young.

They would be ‘top’ of this list were it not for the presence of 39-year-old evergreen centre-back Thiago Silva, who has started 22 of Chelsea’s 27 games this term. As the below squad profile graphic shows, Silva is on his own as Chelsea’s only over-30 player.

chelsea squad age profile

The average age of Arsenal’s starting XIs in Premier League games in 2023-24 is 25 years and 62 days, making the current table-toppers the league’s third-youngest team. Manager Mikel Arteta likes to use young players – he fielded the youngest player in Premier League history in 2022 – and he has refreshed his squad this season. His starting XIs have only been 11 days older in 2023-24 on average than they were in 2022-23, so he will be hoping the players who were around a year ago have learned from the collapse they suffered in the final weeks of the campaign.

The fourth-youngest team are Tottenham, whose lack of experience has started to show as the season has gone on. However, most would agree that the future appears much brighter for them than it did a year ago.

Ange Postecoglou has revamped the squad since arriving in the summer, and the signings of younger players like Micky van de Ven and Guglielmo Vicario and increased game time for Pape Matar Sarr have brought the average age of the team right down. Spurs had the third-oldest average starting XI (27 years, 356 days) in the Premier League in 2022-23 with former manager Antonio Conte placing much more focus on experience than youth, but they are now at the more youthful end of the scale (25 years, 152 days).

The Oldest Premier League Teams in 2023-24

Fulham and West Ham have continued exactly where they left off last season. After ranking as the oldest and second-oldest teams, respectively, in the Premier League in 2022-23 with the only starting XIs that had an average age higher than 28 years old, they have held on to their top spots. In 2023-24, Fulham have the oldest average starting XI at 29 years and 28 days, followed by West Ham at 28 years and 209 days.

Experience hasn’t helped Fulham much; they are about as inconsistent as Premier League teams come. They have beaten Manchester United and Tottenham recently but also lost to Wolves and drawn with relegation-battling Burnley and Everton. They have won consecutive Premier League games only twice all season, and have never won more than two in a row. They have also only lost back-to-back games twice, too.

fulham squad age profile

They are bang in mid-table, unable as of yet to put together a good enough run of results to claw their way into the conversation for European qualification. With first-team regulars in Willian (35), Tim Ream (36), and Tom Cairney (33) all the wrong side of 30, they may need a summer refresh.

West Ham have had a patchy season, but are back up to seventh in the table following a run of four games without a loss. David Moyes continues to do a fantastic job and could realistically achieve a top-six finish this term, but speculation persists about his position beyond this season as his contract is up in the summer.

west ham squad age profile

Any doubts surrounding him are perhaps partly because he fields older players and hasn’t brought through many youngsters to secure West Ham’s long-term future. People look at the squad he has built and aren’t particularly encouraged that he is the man to lead them for years to come. But if they are winning enough games in the here and now to be in the race for European qualification as well as in the Europa League quarter-finals, does it matter if they aren’t the youngest?

The lack of a trend in the numbers suggests there is little to glean from the average age of each team’s starting XIs in 2023-24.

But that said, it is still natural to come away wondering how much better Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs can become as their current squads get used to playing together. Burnley, meanwhile, will need to get a lot better pretty quickly if they are to survive.

Enjoy this? Subscribe to our new football newsletter to receive exclusive weekly content. You should also follow our social accounts over on XInstagramTikTok and Facebook.