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A Study on Support Play in Soccer Games: Relationship between Player Positioning and Zone

DOI: 10.4236/ape.2022.123021, PP. 271-282

Keywords: Soccer, J-League, Support Play, Positioning, Zone, Diamond Shape, Tracking Data, Scouting Video

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In football, the off-ball movements of receivers, such as in support, are important maneuvers to achieve collective play. However, the objectification of the indicators of support play is not clear. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between player positioning and zone in support play. Using tracking data and scouting footage from three matches in the 2019 season of Japan’s top football league, the J1 League, a total of 724 cases of a diamond shape (DS) surrounding an opposing defender when receiving a pass under pressure were analyzed. The following results were observed: 1) The occurrences of Offensive Advantage DS-2 and Offensive Advantage DS-3 were significantly higher in the Defending Zone (DZ) (23.1% and 16.3%, respectively) and Middle Zone (MZ) (25.7% and 14.9%, respectively) than in the Attacking Zone (AZ) (14.8% and 5.6%). 2) The occurrence of Defensive Advantage DS-0 was significantly higher in the AZ (3.5%) than in the MZ (1.2%). These findings suggest that the DS positioning and coordinated ball receiving moves by players close to the ball carrier may be effective in the DZ and MZ, but not in the AZ where the priority is to play for a goal.


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