A comparative analysis of the effects formations have on styles of play, with relation to teams’ final league positioning during the English Premier League 2018-19 season.

Dowler, K. (2020) A comparative analysis of the effects formations have on styles of play, with relation to teams’ final league positioning during the English Premier League 2018-19 season. Masters theses, University of Chichester.

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Two primary tactical decisions a manager must decide include team playing formation and style of play, with the aim of ensuring optimal team organization to regain possession of the ball and to manoeuvre into goal scoring areas. Thus, the aim of the current study was to explore teams’ playing formation, examining how this affects nine in possession and nine out of possession variables; in effect, suggesting the styles of play that are being implemented. Furthermore, to inform the tactical decision-making
process, playing formations and the in and out of possession variables, were compared to team final league position, indicating which formation and styles of play are most beneficial. Teams were assigned to their most commonly used formation, excluding every match performance where each team were not implementing their most commonly used playing formations. Due to a sample size, the playing formations were collapsed into three categorising playing formations. These formations included the 45-1, 4-4-2 and 3/5 defender formations, leaving an overall sample of 461 match performances, with every team in the English Premier league (20 teams) being analysed. Data analysis was conducted using two statistical tests. Firstly, the One-Way ANOVA test of significance was used to analyse the significant differences between the nine in and the nine out of possession variables and the three playing formations. The most significant difference found was teams within a 4-5-1 formation had longer average possession lengths and more recoveries in the attacking third than teams in a 4-4-2 and 3/5 defender formations (p<.05). Secondly, to investigate the aim of analysing teams’ in possession styles of play and playing formations in relation to league position, scatter plots were created and the Spearman’s Rank Order Correlation Coefficients was used. The most significant differences found were the greater the final league position a team was, the greater the number of average passes per possession, number of passes attempted, overall possession (%) and the number of passes per shot (p<.001). Furthermore, the greater the team’s final league position was, the lower the number of PPDA was (p<.05). Thus, the key finding of this study was that teams finishing in greater positions in the league implement a 4-5-1 formation, using a more possession/controlled build up play approach in possession and a ‘high block’/press out of possession.
Keywords: Football, styles of play, formation, in possession, out of possession, league position

Publication Type: Theses (Masters)
Additional Information: MSc Sports Performance Analysis
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Sport > Area > Exercise Physiology
Student Research > Masters
Depositing User: Ann Jones
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2020 12:52
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2020 12:52
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/5520

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