Do Wing Attacks Create More Goal Scoring Opportunities than Central Attacks in Domestic English Soccer?
University of Wales
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Football has now become one of the largest international businesses, certifying the need to find the most effective way to play the game, as, no other business would allow for vital decisions to be made without the absence of quality quantitative data. (Pollard and Reep, 1997) The aim of the study was to try and ascertain how the route of attack affects the number of goal scoring opportunities created. This information can then be used by managers to understand which attacking method the team prefers, it allows for managers to predict what actions will occur in future games and it will also allow for more direct, effective training sessions to be created. The investigation analysed 12 games played by Swansea City F.C during the 2007/2008 season, using a hand notation system developed by the researcher, the attacking routes of Swansea were analysed. These attacking routes were categorised into three headings, wing, centre or both. A percentage error test was conducted on the notation system providing a (<5%) showing a good strength of reliability. Statistical tests were conducted using the SPSS 17.0 data package, results of chi squared tests showed that there were no significant differences in the way Swansea attacked (>0.05). It was found that the most effective way to create goal scoring opportunities was through the utilisation of both wings and the centre of the pitch (22%) and that Swansea’s preferred method of attack was through the combination of the centre of the pitch and wings. The findings also reveal that Swansea prefer to build up their attacks more patiently by frequently switching the play, then once an opening has been created they attack this weak point, this may be due to the fitness levels not being at an elite level at this standard of football hence, Swansea creating more attacking opportunities in the second half of matches (56%).
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