Leicester among highest percentage of long balls in European leagues

Premier League leaders Leicester City play one of the highest percentages of long balls in the top European leagues, a study by the CIES Football Observatory has revealed.

Leicester are currently eight points clear at the top of the table with four games to go, although second-placed Tottenham play their game in hand against Stoke City on Monday evening.

One of the trademarks of their remarkable climb to the top of the table has been the ball over the top for top scorer Jamie Vardy to run on to with his pace, and the stats seem to show just how much Claudio Ranieri's men have relied on the tactic.

From the teams in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1, only two German clubs have a higher percentage of long balls from total passes. Leicester are at 6.9 percent, with Ingolstadt 7.8 percent and Darmstadt 10.7 percent.

Eibar (6.6 percent), Frosinone (6.3 percent) and Bastia (6.2 percent) have recorded the highest number of long balls in Spain, Italy and France.

The other four leaders of the major leagues have the lowest long ball percentages of all clubs, with Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-German leading the way on 1.1 percent, Barcelona 1.4 percent and Juventus 1.6 percent. Manchester City, on 2.4 percent, play the fewest long balls in the Premier League.

Overall league percentages show Italy at 3.8 percent, 4.1 percent in France, 4.4 percent in England and Spain, and 4.6 percent in Germany.