How the method and location of a dispossession affect positive outcomes in the period of play following the dispossesion in soccer.
University of Wales
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The purpose of the study was to examine the affect of the method and location of dispossessions in soccer. Analysis was undertaken on the phase of play that followed a dispossession and consequently, the best area and method to win the ball in relation to having a positive outcome were established. Location, method and defensive support were compared and contrasted to see which had a greater impact on the phase of play that followed the dispossession. Nine televised soccer games were observed on DVD by a single observer. All of the games featured Swansea City playing against teams in the English League One during the 2007/2008 season. The observer recorded the method of dispossession (tackle or interception), the location of the dispossession (defensive, midfield or attacking third) and the outcome of the dispossession (what happened in the phase of play that directly followed the dispossession) to see what the dispossession led to. The final variable that was recorded was the amount of defensive support the defending team had at the exact time of dispossession, this was determined by the number of defending players between the ball and the goal when the dispossession took place. The study found that significantly more positive outcomes came from gaining possession in the attacking third while no significant difference was found between tackles and interceptions. Although, interceptions in the attacking third of the pitch gave most shots and goals. An attack was most likely when possession was won in the midfield third of the pitch by a tackle and finally, significantly more positive outcomes came from low defensive support over high defensive support. The figures generated were only true for Swansea City in the nine match sample and therefore could not be generalised to any other teams or to Swansea for any other matches because the data produced was very specific. If the same knowledge was required, the data collection and analysis process was simple and could be used for any team.
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