Success of attacks originating in the defensive third between three English Football League teams
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The aim of the study was to try and establish how often gaining possession of the ball in the defensive third of the pitch results in entering the attacking third. This information can help a coach/manager to develop training sessions and effective game strategies for future matches. A computerised notational system was developed using the Sportscode Elite package to analyse matches played by Arsenal (Premiership, n=6), Crewe (League 1, n=6) and Altrincham (Blue Square Conference North, n=6). The specific performance indicators were where and how possession was regained, the number of passes used to transfer the ball, and the location and outcome of the attack. A Kappa reliability test was employed to test for accuracy amongst these performance indicators, finding that the system holds a very good strength of reliability. The data was analysed for normality using a Shapiro Wilk test to test, which uncovered a split of parametric (p>0.05) and non-parametric (p<0.05) data. Data interpreted as parametric was explored using a one way ANOVA, with a Post Hoc Scheffé test to determine the differences between the teams. Non-parametric data was analysed via a Kruskal Wallis test, a Mann Whitney test was then run to explore where the differences were; Concluding Crewe and Altrincham had success through 3 pass plus (p<0.05) and Arsenal’s success came from 8 passes and over (p<0.05). Arsenal had fewer origins of possession (p<0.05). The main findings demonstrate that Arsenal were the most successful team using over four passes resulting in more successful attacks. It was concluded that the major determinant of successful attacks is the use of a patient build up, rather than adopting a direct ball approach.
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