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Disney Research Soccer Formations Analysis Suggests Home Advantage Is Result of Execution

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A soccer team formation.

New research finds no home field advantage in soccer.


Disney researchers recently used an automated analysis of soccer team formations to further prove that visiting teams are less successful than home teams because they play conservatively, not because of any kind of home advantage.

The researchers, using the first automated method for detecting formations, analyzed an entire season of player and ball tracking data for a top-tier professional soccer league. The researchers found that teams generally played the same formations for both home and away games, but the way they executed those formations was significantly different. The data indicates the players positioned themselves more forward up the field at home than they do on the road, both when attacking and defending. The change in positioning means the home team wins more balls, takes more shots, and gets less tired during the match, according to the researchers.

The automated formation detection method summarizes game information in a visual form. "You can think of it as a weather map that shows which team is dominating and the tactics that each team is using," says Disney researcher Patrick Lucey.

From Science Codex
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