Network structure and centralization tendencies in professional football teams from Spanish La Liga and English Premier Leagues


  • Filipe Manuel Clemente Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
  • Fábio José Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
  • Nuno Oliveira Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
  • Fernando Manuel Lourenço Martins Institute of Telecommunications, Delegation of Covilhã, Portugal
  • Rui Sousa Mendes Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
  • António José Figueiredo University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • Del P. Wong Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Dimitris Kalamaras New Media Network Synapsis SA, Greece



Performance, Match analysis, Collective behaviour, Network


The aim of this study was to analyse the variance of different competitive leagues, score status, and tactical position in the centrality levels of degree prestige, degree centrality and page rank in football players. A total of 20 matches from the Spanish La Liga League (10 matches) and English Premier League (10 matches) were analysed and codified in this study. In this study only the top four teams and their opponents per each competitive league were analysed. A total of 14,738 passes between teammates were recorded and processed. The multivariate MANOVA revealed statistical differences in centrality among tactical positions (λ = 0.958; F(15,1212) = 37.898; p-value = 0.001;  = 0.319; Moderate Effect Size). Midfielders had the greatest centrality values, followed by the external and central defenders. The lowest values of centrality were found in goalkeepers and forwards. No statistical differences were found in centrality between different competitive leagues (λ = 0.001; F(3,402) = 0.050; p-value = 0.985;  = 0.001; Very Small Effect Size) and score status (λ = 0.003; F(6,806) = 0.175; p-value = 0.983;  = 0.001; Very Small Effect Size).


This study was carried out in the scope of R&D Unit 50008, financed by UID/EEA/50008/2013.


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How to Cite

Clemente, F. M., José, F., Oliveira, N., Martins, F. M. L., Mendes, R. S., Figueiredo, A. J., Wong, D. P., & Kalamaras, D. (2017). Network structure and centralization tendencies in professional football teams from Spanish La Liga and English Premier Leagues. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 11(3), 376–389.




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