The Premier League kicked off it's 2017/18 season at the weekend and I was interested in watching amongst other things the goals that were scored from corners. I've already alluded to the importance they hold in winning and losing games in previous posts.
I've mentioned the importance of the quality of delivery. Is it in-swinging or out-swinging, and the pace on it into an area selected. I preferred a whipped in-swinging corner across the 6 yard line.
Do the attacking team play a short corner looking to drag out defenders away from the goal and disrupt the defensive set up ? I've debated this at length with many colleagues in the game. Sometimes when defending it's better to allow the short corner because if the attacking team have an outstanding corner taker, his delivery will be a massive problem, for example James Ward-Prowse at Southampton. If the attacking team outnumber you with taller players, for example West Bromwich Albion who have the tallest team in the Premier League, they are likely to find a mis-match and win more 1v1 duals, then it could be a good idea to allow the attacking team to take a short corner therefore reducing this initial danger.
The importance of defending the near post area is vital. Usually a player is designated this area to command and get the first contact onto the ball and clear the danger. If he doesn't and a forward gets the first flicked contact then the attacking team will fancy their chances of getting the next touch.
Does a team set up with a defensive zone, requiring a player to clear the ball if it comes into his area. However does this give the advantage to an attacking player to get a running start and jump on the defender when attacking the ball ?
Here Watford score against Liverpool with an in-swinging corner, with a quality delivery of the ball whipped in with pace across the 6 yard box inviting a Watford player to attack the ball.
The distances between the Liverpool players on the zone of the 6 yard box are too far apart and the players designated to block the run of the scoring Watford player don't do it. The Watford player getting a running start and jump on the Liverpool defender who offered no resistance to the Watford player attacking the ball to score.
It's interesting that Watford had a player on the Liverpool goalkeeper to disrupt him. Something I would always encourage.
Interestingly Liverpool had no players defending inside either post of the goal.
Also of interest Liverpool had all their 11 players back and defending inside the 18 yard box.
Leicester City score with an in-swinging corner against Arsenal in a pulsating game at the Emirates Stadium in the first Premier League game of the season. The Leicester City player getting a run and jump on the zonal Arsenal defence attacking the ball to score. Interesting Arsenal had no players defending inside either post.
Leicester City score from 2 corners in this opening fixture whereas Arsenal score from one corner, which was the winning goal in the 4-3 victory.
Huddersfield score their first goal in the Premier League since being promoted last season with an in-swinging corner whipped into the near post area where a Huddersfield attacker runs into and gets the first contact on the ball flicking it towards the far post where the Huddersfield players had lost the Crystal Palace defenders, to score.
Interesting Crystal Palace had no defenders inside either post.
When I played as a goalkeeper at Tranmere Rovers and Wigan Athletic I preferred to have a man on the back post as I believed that any flick on from the near post area could take me out of the game and leave that part of the goal vulnerable.
Corners play a big part in winning games of football. The quality of delivery is vital. The desire to attack the ball both in attack and defence, paramount to success. Attention to detail critical, discipline to be where you're supposed to be and when you're supposed to be within the team set up and taking responsibility for that role. The creativity to exploit the opposition.
Will be watching with interest the corners again this weekend as we continue to follow the latest trends and continue to learn, seeking to find an advantage.