Exploring factors related to goal scoring opportunities in professional football

Schulze, Emiel, Julian, Ross and Meyer, Tim (2021) Exploring factors related to goal scoring opportunities in professional football. Science and Medicine in Football. doi:10.1080/24733938.2021.1931421 (In Press)

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Abstract

Outscoring the opponent is the primary goal in football. In order to optimise scoring opportunities, it is important to understand the physical and tactical performance preceding such events. This observational study explored whether running behaviour prior to goal scoring opportunities (GSOs) in football related to the subsequent outcome (goal or no goal). Furthermore, contextual factors were analysed to potentially explain differences in physical output. Tracking data was collected from one professional team during its 2016/2017 season. Physical output was analysed for attackers (taking shots) and defenders (trying to prevent shots). The data was differentiated for attacking styles and analysed on the preceding context and subsequent outcome. Counter attacks were found most effective, as GSO outcome improved with fewer defenders behind the ball (r=-0.27; p=0.03). Offensively, running behaviour in the minute prior to GSOs explained more variance than the physical output in the preceding 5-min period and increased outputs correlated with success (r=0.26; p=0.04). Moreover, a significant correlation was found between decreased high-intensity distances covered during the match and favourable outcomes (r=-0.21; p=0.02). Finally, increased attacking effectiveness was found to relate to greater defensive covered distances (r=0.51; p<0.01). Conclusively, running behaviour prior to GSOs was found to relate to the subsequent outcome. Specifically, space ahead of attackers, forcing defenders to cover more ground, was found to relate to GSO effectiveness. The running behaviour of attackers was found to be unrelated to previous activity, highlighting the significance of physical capacity. Similarly, well-timed substitutions appear important once players cannot increase their physical output.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Soccer; Match analysis; Applied practice; Effectiveness; Success
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports > GV861 Ball games: Baseball, football, golf, etc.
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Sport and Exercise > Applied Sport & Exercise Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Sport, Exercise, Health & Wellbeing
Depositing User: Rhiannon Goodland
Date Deposited: 26 May 2021 11:14
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2021 08:46
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/9735

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