Attacking beautifully or defending efficiently?: a sociological analysis of the prevalence and effect of football strategies
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Artikler / Articles 
Original versionSoccer & Society, 2016, doi: 10.1080/14660970.2015.1133411 10.1080/14660970.2015.1133411
Football ideology is built upon an antagonism between offensive and defensive and effective and beautiful football: attack beautifully and lose, or, defend efficiently and win! In this article, I address the validity of this hegemonic understanding and investigate the extent to which (i) modern football actually practises one or the other – scoring goals or avoids conceding – and (ii) how the two strategies actually pay off. The case is 65 years of Scandinavian male football. I start with an overview of numbers of scored goals and variation in scoring. Next, I look at whether success depends on scoring the most or conceding the least. Finally, I analyse how many positions each goal is worth. In general terms, the finding is a defensive trend where modern football has fewer and more valuable goals, but that this trend has clear wavelike patterns, indicating that which strategy being profitable varies.
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