The effect of match location, quality of opposition and match status on work rate in elite soccer
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of match location, quality of the opposition and match status on the work-rate of elite soccer player. Twenty-seven Spanish Premier League matches played by a professional soccer team were monitored in the 2005-2006 season using a multiple-camera match analyses system. Dependent variables were the distance covered by players at different intensities. Data were analyzed using a linear regression analysis with four independent variables: the match status, the match location, the quality of the opponent and the positional role of the players. The distance covered by players at different work intensities was influenced by situational variables, particularly by match location and match status. The top-class players performed less high-intensity activity (>19.1 km/h) when winning than when they were losing, but more distance was covered by walking and jogging when winning. The home teams covered a greater distance than away teams at low intensity (< 14.1 km/h), but no differences were found at medium, submaximal or maximal intensities. There were no differences between players of any position when comparing the distance covered at low intensities. However, at submaximal and maximal intensities external midfield players and forwards covered greater distances than defenders and central midfield players.
Key Words: time-motion analysis, contextual factors, soccer, physical performance.