Research Article: A comparison of match-physical demands between different tactical systems: 1-4-5-1 vs 1-3-5-2

Date Published: April 4, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Ivan Baptista, Dag Johansen, Pedro Figueiredo, António Rebelo, Svein Arne Pettersen, Luca Paolo Ardigò.


The team tactical system and distribution of the football players on the pitch is considered fundamental in team performance. The present study used time-motion analysis and triaxial-accelerometers to obtain new insights about the impact of different tactical systems (1-4-5-1 and 1-3-5-2) on physical performance, across different playing positions, in a professional football team. Player performance data in fifteen official home matches was collected for analysis. The sample included twenty-two players from five playing positions (centre backs: n = 4; full-back/wide midfielder/ wing-back: n = 9; centre midfielder: n = 6 and centre forward: n = 3), making a total of 108 match observations. A novel finding was that general match physical demands do not differ considerably between these tactical formations, probably because match-to-match variability (variation of players’ running profile from match-to-match) might be higher than the differences in physical performance between tactical systems. However, change of formation had a different impact across playing positions, with centre backs playing in 1-4-5-1 performing significant more HIRcounts than in 1-3-5-2 (p = 0.031). Furthermore, a medium effect size (r = 0.33) was observed in HIRdist, with wide players covering higher distances when playing in 1-3-5-2 than in 1-4-5-1. These findings may help coaches to develop individualised training programs to meet the demands of each playing position according to the tactical system adopted.

Partial Text

To better understand the constraints correlated with sporting success, match analysis has become an important tool in team sports. Nowadays it is well accepted among coaches and sport scientists that the match performance of a football team is, basically, based on four factors: physical, technical, tactical and mental [1]. Even though, the majority of research has been executed within the physical and technical performance domain, previous studies have started to establish connections between physiological demands and tactical behaviour in elite football [2–5].




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