Analyzing passing networks in association football based on the difficulty, risk, and potential of passes

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This paper investigates the use of network analysis to identify key players on teams, and patterns of passing within teams, in association football. Networks are constructed based on passes made between players, and several centrality measures are investigated in combination with three different methods for evaluating individual passes. Four seasons of data from the Norwegian top division are used to identify key players and analyze matches from a selected team. The networks examined in this work have weights based on three different aspects of the passes made: their probability of being completed, the probability that the team keeps possession after the completed pass, and the probability of the pass being part of a sequence leading to a shot. The results show that using different metrics and network weights leads to the identification of key passers in different phases of play and in different positions on the pitch.

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Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.71

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.355
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.462

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