Biology of Sport
eISSN: 2083-1862
ISSN: 0860-021X
Biology of Sport
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vol. 41
Original paper

Playing position and match location affect the number of high-intensity efforts more than the quality of the opposition in elite football players

Ryland Morgans
Daeeun Kweon
1, 2
Ben Ryan
Wonwoo Ju
Piotr Zmijewski
4, 5
Rafael Oliveira
6, 7, 8
Sigrid Olthof

  1. School of Sport and Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK
  2. Brentford FC Football Research Centre, Brentford FC, London, UK
  3. High Performance Group, Korea Football Association, Republic of Korea
  4. Jozef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, 00-809 Warsaw, Poland
  5. Research and Development Center Legia Lab, Legia Warszawa, Poland
  6. Research Centre in Sports Sciences, Health and Human Development, 5001–801 Vila Real, Portugal
  7. Sports Science School of Rio Maior – Instituto Politecnico de Santarem, 2040–413 Rio Maior, Portugal
  8. Life Quality Research Centre, 2040–413 Rio Maior, Portugal
  9. Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK
Biol Sport. 2024; 41(3): 29–37
Online publish date: 2023/12/20
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This study aimed to examine the impact of playing position (PP), match location (ML), and opposition standard (OS) on team and individual acceleration (ACC) and deceleration (DEC) efforts. Fifty professional football players were monitored across 24 English Premier DevelopmentLeague matches during the 2020/21 season. High-intensity ACC and DEC thresholds were set at > +3 m·s −2 and < -3 m·s −2, respectively. Players were divided into five PPs: centre backs (CB; n = 68), full-backs (FB; n = 24), centre midfielders (CM; n = 54), wide midfielders (WM; = 15), centre forwards (CF; n = 27). Opposition standard was categorised as Top (1st–4th), Middle (5th–9th), and Bottom (9th–13th) based on final league ranking of the study season. Each match location was classified as Home or Away. One way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and a multivariate ANOVA analysed the independent effect of PP, ML and OS on ACC and DEC efforts, and the interaction of all contextual factors, respectively. Acceleration efforts were affected by PP and ML. FB performed 22% more ACC than WM. All players performed 6% more ACC actions during home matches compared to away fixtures. DEC efforts were only affected by PP, with FB and CM executing 26% and 32% greater DEC efforts than CB, respectively. When playing against top or middle teams at home, CB, CM, and CF tended to perform more high-intensity actions than when playing away. In contrast, when playing against top teams at home, FB and WM performed fewer high-intensity actions than when playing away. Playing position and ML affected ACC and DEC actions but not OS.

Accelerometry-based variables, Position-specific demands, High-intensity actions, Soccer, Developing players

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