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A Journal on Internal Medicine and Pharmacology


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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2009 August;168(4):211-8

language: English

Il maggior successo nel calcio professionista può essere favorito dalla disponibilità di molti giocatori?

Nevill A. M., Watts A. S.

1 Research Institute of Healthcare Sciences, University of Wolverhampton, Walsall, UK;
2 School of Applied Sciences, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK


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Aim. The purpose of the present article was to assess whether selecting a more consistent “first-choice” team throughout the season is associated with greater success in English top-flight football.
Methods. The number/percentage of league games played by the eleven ‘first-choice’ players selected on the opening day of the season over the four seasons 1973-4, 1983-4, 1993-4 and 2003-4 were obtained from Rothmans Football Yearbooks 1974-5, 1984-5 and 1994-5 and the Sky Sports Yearbook 2004-5. A non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis test was used to assess whether the percentage of games played by these first choice players was associated with final league position and whether there was a systematic difference in the percentage of games played by ‘seasons’ and ‘playing positions’.
Results. Results suggest a systematic decline in the number of games played by the first-choice starting 11, from 85% in successful teams (finishing top of the league) to less than 60% in unsuccessful teams (finishing in last place) (P<0.001). Further analyses identified a systematic decline in games played by the first-choice starting 11 over the past 4 decades (P<0.004) and first choice outfield players played in 10% fewer games compared with goalkeepers (78.57% vs. 89.98%) (P=0.006).
Conclusion. These findings provide clear evidence that the demand on modern day footballers, in particular outfield players, are increasing, facts that appear to exacerbate the problems of selecting more consistent teams. Nevertheless, despite these barriers, our findings suggest that provided circumstances allow, a manager that selects a more consistent team is likely to achieve greater levels of success.

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