Exploring Factors Related to Goal Scoring Opportunities in Professional Football

TitelExploring Factors Related to Goal Scoring Opportunities in Professional Football
MedientypJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AutorenSchulze E, Julian R, Meyer T
JournalSci Med Football
Date Published05/2021

Purpose: Outscoring opponents is the primary goal in football. To optimise goal scoring opportunities (GSOs), it is important to understand the preceding physical and tactical performance. This observational study explored whether running behaviour prior to GSOs related to the subsequent outcome (goal or no goal) or contextual factors.

Methods: Tracking data was collected from one professional team during its 2016/2017 season. Physical output was differentiated for attacking styles and analysed for attackers (taking shots) and defenders (trying to prevent shots).

Results: Counter attacks were found most effective, as outcomes improved with fewer defenders behind the ball (r=-0.27; p=0.03). Offensively, running behaviour in the minute prior to GSOs explained most variance and increased activities correlated with success (r=0.26; p=0.04). Moreover, decreased high-intensity distances covered during matches significantly correlated with 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).

Discussion: 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 unrelated to previous activity, highlighting the significance of physical capacity and well-timed substitutions.

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