What does it take to be a midfielder? (Part B)

How often is the central midfielder involved in plays involving the ball? (please click here to read Part A)

  • In the 10 matches analyzed, we observed a total of 609 plays involving one central midfielder (an average of 60 players per match). The highest number of plays per match was 73, the lowest 41.
  • Out of these 609 plays, 254 (41.7%) took place in the central midfielder's own half and 355 (58.3%) in the opposition's. 418 plays involving the ball (68.6%) were in the center zone of the field, while only 186 (31.4%) were observed in the zones along the sidelines.

How often is the central midfielder involved in 1 v. 1 play?

  • In the 10 matches analyzed, the central midfielder engaged in 211 1 v. 1s, for an average of 21 per match.
  • Of these 211 1 v. 1 situations, the midfielder won 114 (54.9%).
  • The 1 v. 1s break down almost evenly into attack and defense: 104 defensive 1 v. 1s versus 107 attacking 1 v. 1s.
  • Approximately every fourth 1 v. 1 (49) involved in a header.
  • The central midfielder had to deal with 22 unfair challenges from opponents in the course of 10 matches (i.e. more than two fouls per match); meanwhile, he himself caused only 15 fouls.
  • The spatial distribution of all 211 1 v. 1s: 94 (44.5%) took place in the midfielder's own half, and 141 (66.8%) in the center zone of the field.

What is the ratio of attacking plays to defensive plays?

  • Out of 609 plays involving the central midfielder and the ball, 494 (81.1%) were considered attacking plays, and only 115 defensive.