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Title: Passing networks and game style in football teams: Evidences from European champions league Authors:  Lucio Palazzo - University of Salerno (Italy) [presenting]
Riccardo Ievoli - University of Bologna (Italy)
Giarncarlo Ragozini - Federico II University of Naples (Italy)
Abstract: Summary statistics of football matches (such as final score, possession and percentage of completed passes) give in general poor information about style of play seen on the pitch. On such bases, it is generally difficult to quantify how teams are different from each other. The focus is on the analysis of weighted and directed passing network of football teams. In particular, descriptive measures and structural features of networks are analyzed in order to evaluate different team strategies in terms of team passing behaviour by using passage interactions among players. The main contribution is twofold: on one side is showed how structural properties measured through triadic census are able to distinguish among different styles of play. Useful graphic visualization for the comparison of teams and their own level of interaction between players are provided. On the other hand, passing network indices and structural properties are used to better predict probability of winning the match. Data include team passing network regarding 96 matches in the group stage of UEFA Champions League 2016-2017, involving 32 European teams.