Technical Demands of Soccer Match Play in the English Championship Academic Article uri icon


  • The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of match play on the performance of technical actions in professional soccer players. Using computerized notational analysis, technical performance was quantified for the outfield players of one team during the 2010/2011 English Championship season. This retrospective study evaluated temporal patterns in the performance of players who completed more than 10 games (n = 10). Total possessions and number of ball distributions were lower in the second versus the first half of match play (10 ± 7%, p = 0.010 and 11 ± 8% p = 0.009, respectively). Analysis across 15-minute intervals revealed reductions during the last 15-minutes of match play in the total number of possessions (0:00-14:59 minutes: 11.8 ± 1.9 vs. 75:00-89:59 minutes: 9.5 ± 1.7, p < 0.05) and distributions (0:00-14:59 minutes: 10.9 ± 2.3 vs. 75:00-89:59 minutes: 8.7 ± 2.1, p < 0.05). The number of touches taken per possession, number of challenges, percentage of challenges won, length of forward distributions and percentage success of distributions were all similar between halves and across 15-minute intervals. These results demonstrate that match-specific factors reduced total possessions and number of passes in the second half of match play. Coaching staff could use this information to inform team tactics and technical training sessions.

publication date

  • October 2013