Ball Possession Strategies in Elite Soccer According to the Evolution of the Match-Score: the Influence of Situational Variables
In soccer, the ability to retain possession of the ball for prolonged periods of time has been suggested to be linked to success. The accuracy of this assertion was investigated by examining 380 matches involving Spanish League First Division teams during the 2008-2009 season. Possession of the ball, according to the status of the match (winning, drawing and losing), was recorded during the different matches using a multiple-camera match analysis system (Gecasport®). The results suggest that the best classified teams maintained a higher percentage of ball possession and that their pattern of play was more stable. The coefficient of variation, with respect to ball possession per match, was smaller for the best placed teams. Indeed, first placed F.C. Barcelona had the smallest coefficient of variation for possession time (8.4%), while bottom placed Recreativo showed the highest values with 17.1%. Linear regression analysis showed that possession strategies were influenced by situation variables. Team possession was greater when losing than when winning (p<0.01) or drawing (p<0.01), home teams enjoyed greater possession than visiting teams (p<0.01), and playing against strong opposition was associated with a reduction in time spent in possession (p<0.01). The findings indicate that strategies in soccer are influenced by situational variables and that teams alter their playing style accordingly during the match.
- Bate R. Football chance. Tactics and strategy. In: Science and Football V. Eds: Reilly T., Less A, Davies K. and Murphy W. 1988. London: E and FN Spon. 293-301.
- Bloomfield JR, Polman RCJ, O'Donoghue PG. Effects of score-line on team strategies in FA Premier League Soccer. J Sports Sci, 2005. 23: 192-193.
- Bloomfield JR, Polman, RCJ, O'Donoghue PG. Effects of score-line on intensity of play in midfield and forward players in the FA Premier League. J Sports Sci, 2005. 23: 191-192.
- Carling C, Williams AM, Reilly T. Handbook of soccer match analysis: A systematic approach to improving performance. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2005.
- Dellal A, Chamari C, Wong DP, Ahmaidi S, Keller D, Barros MLR, Bisciotti GN, Carling C. Comparison of physical and technical performance in European professional soccer match-play: The FA Premier League and La LIGA. Eur J Sport Sci, ahead to print.
- Dellal A, Wong DP, Moalla W, Chamari K. Physical and technical activity of soccer players in the French first division -with special reference to the playing position. Int Sport Med J, 2010. 11.
- Dellal A. (2008). Analyze of the soccer player physical activity and of its consequences in the training: special reference to the high intensities intermittent exercises and the small sided-games. Thesis in the University of Strasbourg, Sport Sciences Department, France.
- Gómez M, Álvaro J, Barriopedro MI. Differences in playing actions between men and women in elite soccer teams. 2009. In: Current trends in performance analysis. World Congress of Performance Analysis of Sports VIII. Eds: Hökelmann A, Witte K, O'Donoghue P. 2009. Magdebourg: Shaker Verlag: 50-51.
- Grant, AG, Williams AM, Reilly T. An analysis of the successful and unsuccessful teams in the 1998 World Cup. J Sports Sci 1999. 17: 827.
- Hook C, Hughes MD. Patterns of play leading to shots in Euro 2000. In: Pass. com. Ed: CPA (Center for Performance Analysis). 2001. Cardiff: UWIC. 295-302.
- Hughes MD, Bartlett RM. The use of performance indicators in performance analysis, J Sports Sci, 2002. 20: 739-754.[Crossref]
- Hughes MD, Cooper S, Nevill A. Analysis procedures for non-parametric data from performance analysis. Int J Perf An Sport, 2002. 2: 6-20.
- Hughes MD, Franks I. Analysis of passing sequences, shots and goals in soccer. J Sport Sci, 2005. 23: 509-514.[Crossref]
- Hughes M, Robertson K, Nicholson A. Comparison of patterns of play of successful and unsuccessful teams in the 1986 World Cup for soccer. In: Science and Football. Eds: Reilly T, Lees A, Davis K, Murphy WJ. 1988. London: E. and F. N. Spon. 363-367.
- James N, Mellalieu SD, Holley C. Analysis of strategies in soccer as a function of European and domestic competition. Int J Per An Sport, 2002. 2: 85-103.
- Jones P, James N, Mellalieu SD Possession as a Performance Indicator in Soccer. Int J Per An Sport, 2004. 4: 98-102.
- Lago C. Consequences of a busy soccer match schedule on team performance: empirical evidence from Spain. Int Sport Med J, 2009. 10: 86-92.
- Lago C, Martin R. Determinants of possession of the ball in soccer. J Sports Sci, 2007. 25: 969-974.[WoS][Crossref]
- McGarry T, Franks I. The science of match analysis. In Science and Soccer. Eds: Reilly, T., Clarys, J., Stibbe, A. 2003. London: Routledge. 265-275
- Ramsey JB. Test for specification errors in classical lineal least squares regression analysis. J Royal Sta Soc, 1969. 31: 350-371.
- Reed D, O'Donoghue P. Development and application of computer-based prediction methods. Int J Per An Sports, 2005. 5: 12-28.
- Sala-Garrido R, Liern V, Martinez A, Boscá J. Analysis and Evolution of Efficiency in the Spanish Soccer League (2000/01 - 2007/08). Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sport, 2009. 5: 34-37
- Sasaki Y, Nevill A, Reilly T. Home advantage: A case study of Ipswich Town football club during the 1996-1997 season. J Sports Sci, 1999. 17: 831.
- Shaw J, O'Donoghue P. The effect of scoreline on work rate in amateur soccer. In P. O'Donoghue and M. D. Hughes (Eds.), Notational analysis of sport VI (pp. 84-91). 2004. Cardiff: UWIC.
- Stanhope J. An investigation into possession with respect to time, in the soccer world cup 1994. In: Notational Analysis of Sport III. Ed: Hughes MD. 2001. Cardiff, UK: UWIC. 155-162.
- Taylor JB, Mellalieu SD, James N, Shearer D. The influence of match location, qualify of opposition and match status on technical performance in professional association football. J Sports Sci, 2008. 26: 885-895.[WoS][Crossref]
- Taylor S, Williams M. (2002) A Quantitative analysis of Brazil's performances. Insight, 2002. 3: 28-30.