Leicester City boast the highest long ball percentage in the Premier League

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When it comes to delivering long balls, Leicester City lead the way in the Premier League.

That is according to newly published figures from the Football Observatory that show the Foxes have been the English top-flight’s biggest long ball merchants.

According to their study, 6.9 per cent of all Leicester's completed passes this season have been long balls - more than any other team in the Premier League.


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Interestingly, the Foxes are closely followed by Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland, with long balls accounting for 6.7 per cent of the Black Cats' total number of successful passes.

West Brom are the Premier League’s third biggest long ball merchants, with 6.5 per cent of the Baggies' completed passes coming in the air.

Crystal Palace (5.7 per cent) and Watford (5.6 per cent) complete the top five English sides, though there is a decidedly continental feel to the findings.

Having studied the teams involved in Europe’s top leagues - the Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A and La Liga along with the Premier League - it’s Germany's top-flight that comes out on top as long ball specialists.

Leicester may be the Premier League's top exponent of such tactics but they actually sit third in Europe, behind two Bundesliga teams.

In second you have Ingolstadt, whose long balls account for 7.8 per cent of their completed passes this term.

However, this pales in comparison to the clear frontrunner for these old school tactics - Darmstadt.

Like Ingolstadt, Darmstadt were promoted from Bundesliga 2 and have also adopted some back-to-basics tactics this season.

According to the Football Observatory, 10.7 per cent of Darmstadt’s completed passes have been long balls, making them something of a German version of Stoke City when they first came up to the Premier League under Tony Pulis.

Things have changed under Mark Hughes at the Britannia, though - just 4.7 per cent of Stoke’s passes this term have been long balls.

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