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

Ivan Baptista, Dag Johansen, Pedro Figueiredo, António Rebelo, Svein Arne Pettersen

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22 Citations (Scopus)


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 triax-ial-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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0214952
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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