How Game Location Affects Soccer Performance: T-Pattern Analysis of Attack Actions in Home and Away Matches

Barbara Diana, Valentino Zurloni, Massimiliano Elia, Cesare M. Cavalera, Gudberg Konrad Jonsson, M. Teresa Anguera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of game location on performance has been widely examined in sport contexts. Concerning soccer, game-location affects positively the secondary and tertiary level of performance; however, there are fewer evidences about its effect on game structure (primary level of performance). This study aimed to detect the effect of game location on a primary level of performance in soccer. In particular, the objective was to reveal the hidden structures underlying the attack actions, in both home and away matches played by a top club (Serie A 2012/2013—First Leg). The methodological approach was based on systematic observation, supported by digital recordings and T-pattern analysis. Data were analyzed with THEME 6.0 software. A quantitative analysis, with nonparametric Mann–Whitney test and descriptive statistics, was carried out to test the hypotheses. A qualitative analysis on complex patterns was performed to get in-depth information on the game structure. This study showed that game tactics were significantly different, with home matches characterized by a more structured and varied game than away matches. In particular, a higher number of different patterns, with a higher level of complexity and including more unique behaviors was detected in home matches than in the away ones. No significant differences were found in the number of events coded per game between the two conditions. THEME software, and the corresponding T-pattern detection algorithm, enhance research opportunities by going further than frequency-based analyses, making this method an effective tool in supporting sport performance analysis and training.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1415
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2017

Other keywords

  • Observational data
  • T-Patterns
  • Sport performance analysis
  • Game location
  • Soccer
  • Knattspyrna
  • Aðferðafræði
  • Atferli
  • Atferlissálfræði


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