Match analysis in football: a systematic review

Hugo Sarmento, Rui Marcelino, M Teresa Anguera, Jorge CampaniÇo, Nuno Matos, José Carlos LeitÃo
Journal of Sports Sciences 2014, 32 (20): 1831-1843
Abstract The main focus of this paper was to review the available literature on match analysis in adult male football. The most common research topics were identified, their methodologies described and the evolutionary tendencies of this research area systematised. A systematic review of Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) Web of Knowledge database was performed according to PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-analyses) guidelines. The following keywords were used: football and soccer, each one associated with the terms: match analysis, performance analysis, notational analysis, game analysis, tactical analysis and patterns of play. Of 2732 studies initially identified, only 53 were fully reviewed, and their outcome measures abstracted and analysed. Studies that fit all inclusion criteria were organised according to their research design as descriptive, comparative or predictive. Results showed that 10 studies focused predominantly on a description of technical, tactical and physical performance variables. From all comparative studies, the dependent variables more frequently used were "playing position" and "competitive level". Even though the literature stresses the importance of developing predictive models of sports performance, only few studies (n = 8) have focused on modelling football performance. Situational variables like game location, quality of opposing teams, match status and match half have been progressively included as object of research, since they seem to work as effective covariables of football performance. Taking into account the limitations of the reviewed studies, future research should provide comprehensive operational definitions for the studied variables, use standardised categories and description of activities and participants, and consider integrating the situational and interactional contexts into the analysis of football performance.

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