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The aim of this study was to identify specific performance indicators that discriminate the top clubs from the others based on significantly different pitch action performance in the Spanish Soccer League. All 380 games corresponding to the 2008-2009 season have been analyzed. The studied variables were divided into three groups related to goals scored (goals for, goals against, total shots, shots on goal, shooting accuracy, shots for a goal), offense (assists, crosses, offsides committed, fouls received, corners, ball possession) and defense (crosses against, offsides received, fouls committed, corners against, yellow cards, red cards). Data were analyzed performing a one-way ANOVA. Significant differences across sections of the league table were found for the following pitch actions: goals for, total shots, shots on goal, shots for a goal, assists and ball possession. The main findings of this study suggest that top teams had a higher average of goals for, total shots and shots on goal than middle and bottom teams (p<0.05). Bottom teams needed a higher number of shots for scoring a goal than the other groups of teams (p<0.05). Middle teams showed a lower value in assists and ball possession than top teams (p<0.05). In conclusion, this paper presents values that can be used as normative data to design and evaluate practices and competitions for peak performance soccer teams in a collective way.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.