The keys of pressing to gain the ball: Characteristics of defensive pressure in elite soccer using tracking data

Leander Forcher*, Leon Forcher, Stefan Altmann, Darko Jekauc, Matthias Kempe

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review


Recently, the availability of big amounts of data enables analysts to dive deeper into the constraints of performance in various team sports. While offensive analyses in football have been extensively conducted, the evaluation of defensive performance is underrepresented in this sport. Hence, the aim of this study was to analyze successful defensive playing phases by investigating the space and time characteristics of defensive pressure. Therefore, tracking and event data of 153 games of the German Bundesliga (second half of 2020/21 season) were assessed. Defensive pressure was measured in the last 10 seconds of a defensive playing sequence (time characteristic) and it was distinguished between pressure on the ball-carrier, pressure on the group (5 attackers closest to the ball), and pressure on the whole team (space characteristic). A linear mixed model was applied to evaluate the effect of success of a defensive play (ball gain), space characteristic, and time characteristic on defensive pressure. Defensive pressure is higher in successful defensive plays (14.47 ± 16.82[%]) compared to unsuccessful defensive plays (12.87 ± 15.31[%]). The characteristics show that defensive pressure is higher in areas closer to the ball (space characteristic) and the closer the measurement is to the end of a defensive play (time characteristic), which is especially true for successful defensive plays. Defensive pressure is a valuable key performance indicator for defensive play. Further, this study shows that there is an association between the pressing of the ball-carrier and areas close to the ball with the success of defensive play.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1-9
Aantal pagina's9
TijdschriftScience and Medicine in Football
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 19-dec.-2022

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