Set pieces and balls into our box

Isotope

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When Barca had Pique and Masch at the back, the team were full of shorties. Their tactic while defending corner was zonal marking, with a free role for Pique (as the only tall player) to go attack the ball. You rarely saw them conceding goals in every corner taken.

I always wonder why Maguire is always rooted to his spot, regardless of where the ball is coming.
 

POF

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Zonal marking is fine if you do it well. The issue at the weekend was a lack of communication. Based on the flight, Lindelof should have called that, Bruno should have left it, Lindelof heads it away and there would have been no issue.

Maybe it is a training issue but the lack of leadership is the biggest issue at the club. Lindelof was hoping Bruno would clear it so he wouldn't have to. The club needs stronger characters who relish impacting the game positively. Vidic would have called it and headed it over the halfway line.
 

billybee99

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Same problems under Moyes, Van Gaal, and Jose even though the squad has changed from time to time. A lack of desire to win those high balls is what I see.
One part of the squad has not changed in all those years and that is the keeper. Worst in the League at coming off his line and it is the biggest reason we struggle on corners, crosses, long throw-ins. We can hire coaches, mark man-to-man, zonal - it doesn't matter. When you have a keeper that is rooted to his line, you are going to struggle and defenders are going to be under pressure.
 

bsCallout

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Yes they do. It's just never mentioned when its done well. If man marking fails then the individual is blamed and if zonal marking fails then its always the systems fault and never the players.
I was kind of hoping for some examples. I'm genuinely curious to see the teams using it well, because i'm obviously missing something. I struggle to see how it is most effective.
 

bsCallout

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One part of the squad has not changed in all those years and that is the keeper. Worst in the League at coming off his line and it is the biggest reason we struggle on corners, crosses, long throw-ins. We can hire coaches, mark man-to-man, zonal - it doesn't matter. When you have a keeper that is rooted to his line, you are going to struggle and defenders are going to be under pressure.
I love De Gea but I absolutely agree with this. He doesn't command his box at all. Does Henderson? I want us to bring him back for next season.
 

UnitedChampionsAgain

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I'm sure many won't agree but this problem of clearing corners goes way back.
When Van der Sar joined all those years ago he could see this was a problem area and that was when Ferdinand and Vidic were in the side. It looked like he was doing more than he should have to, probably because he had little faith in the defenders doing the job.
Vidic was very good in the air at times but Ferdinand generally only put his head in when he absolutely had to.
 

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There's no problem with zonal marking - the problem for most of the season has been two-fold;

1. We have a keeper who clings to his goal-line like a hermit and offers absolutely nothing to our defenders. This also encourages teams to drop crosses right into the 6-yard box. Most competent GKs would make this area their own and deter attackers from using this kind of delivery.

2. We have had a small team the majority of the time. The likes of Pereira, Lingard, Mata and Fred have started together on a semi-regular basis. Our full backs are OK in the air but nothing special. Lindelöf is weak in the air....Martial and Rashford are competent as attackers but don't attack the ball aggressively enough to be useful in defensive situations.

Yesterday was one of the first times this season I looked at our penalty box and felt semi-confident that with McTominay, Matic and Maguire all on the pitch, we weren't such a soft touch
 

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There's no problem with zonal marking - the problem for most of the season has been two-fold;

1. We have a keeper who clings to his goal-line like a hermit and offers absolutely nothing to our defenders. This also encourages teams to drop crosses right into the 6-yard box. Most competent GKs would make this area their own and deter attackers from using this kind of delivery.

2. We have had a small team the majority of the time. The likes of Pereira, Lingard, Mata and Fred have started together on a semi-regular basis. Our full backs are OK in the air but nothing special. Lindelöf is weak in the air....Martial and Rashford are competent as attackers but don't attack the ball aggressively enough to be useful in defensive situations.

Yesterday was one of the first times this season I looked at our penalty box and felt semi-confident that with McTominay, Matic and Maguire all on the pitch, we weren't such a soft touch
oh, for another Schmeichel to bully his defenders into doing their job or VDS‘ organising his defence.
 

Maticmaker

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'Set pieces' have to my knowledge (over 60 years of supporting the Reds), never been given a high level of importance in United's training/coaching play-book. This is principally I suspect because we believed only inferior teams relied on such situations to engineer winning positions.

The famous quote (or possibly it was paraphrasing) from Sir Matt when asked about the secret of football management he was reputed to have said "With players such as Best, Law and Charlton you just throw them the ball and say go out there and play, with players like Nobby (Stiles) you say... go out there and win the ball, then give it to Bobby". That was as much thought to 'set plays' as was probably ever given!

Practicing set pieces was the 'journeyman' approach to playing football, we were not journeymen we were a team of stars, we still believe we are and so even when the evidence is staring us in the face there is a reluctance to accept that being proficient at taking/defending corner kicks, or free kicks, or even taking time to practice throw-ins especially in the final third of the pitch, is a worthwhile use of time on the practice pitch. Practicing even the 'set plays' arising from defending situations, like in reacting to a strong press, covering break out spaces, etc. all seem not to happen, indeed at times you could swear that half the time our players seem as though they train on different pitches, so clear is the lack of understanding/anticipation of what arises from 'set play' positions. How many times have so called quick free kicks been taken, supposedly to catch the opposition flat-footed, when the player receiving the ball unexpectedly has a look on his face that says 'what the feck have you given it me for?'

We are getting better at many things, but some of the basic set play positions are still giving grave cause for concern... but no one outside of fans, seems to understand or even care!
 

RussellWilson

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Why not? He's usually marking the target man so naturally, the ball is coming his way. If he wins that duel he wins the ball. Today was brilliant.
It's not sustainable because what are the chances in future matches that he can contest every ball in? Pretty low. Crosses will come in to areas he can't cover and we need others to steps up, and who do we have left any good in the air? Matic might be next best. That's some barrel scrapping.
 

Fingeredmouse

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I have to echo the point made earlier that having a keeper who will only contest the ball in the air if he has no choice is a major part of our problem. De Gea is very strong in certain aspects of goalkeeping but he has never been good at commanding the box.
 

Djemba-Djemba

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There's no problem with zonal marking - the problem for most of the season has been two-fold;

1. We have a keeper who clings to his goal-line like a hermit and offers absolutely nothing to our defenders. This also encourages teams to drop crosses right into the 6-yard box. Most competent GKs would make this area their own and deter attackers from using this kind of delivery.

2. We have had a small team the majority of the time. The likes of Pereira, Lingard, Mata and Fred have started together on a semi-regular basis. Our full backs are OK in the air but nothing special. Lindelöf is weak in the air....Martial and Rashford are competent as attackers but don't attack the ball aggressively enough to be useful in defensive situations.

Yesterday was one of the first times this season I looked at our penalty box and felt semi-confident that with McTominay, Matic and Maguire all on the pitch, we weren't such a soft touch
Ryan Giggs was on that Gary Neville SoccerBox show and he made the interesting point that when Shay Given was in net Giggs knew his cross or his corner didn't have to be absolutely perfect because he knew Given never came off his line.

You just had to put the ball in an area around the 6 yard box and you had a decent chance of a goal. Where as when playing against a prime Cech or Neuer they would come off their line to help the defence, it was harder and so you had to be more careful with crossing.

De Gea is exactly the same as Given and it backs up your point that teams know they can just put in any sort of cross and with De Gea rooted to his line there's a good chance Utd will concede.
 

12OunceEpilogue

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Ryan Giggs was on that Gary Neville SoccerBox show and he made the interesting point that when Shay Given was in net Giggs knew his cross or his corner didn't have to be absolutely perfect because he knew Given never came off his line.

You just had to put the ball in an area around the 6 yard box and you had a decent chance of a goal. Where as when playing against a prime Cech or Neuer they would come off their line to help the defence, it was harder and so you had to be more careful with crossing.

De Gea is exactly the same as Given and it backs up your point that teams know they can just put in any sort of cross and with De Gea rooted to his line there's a good chance Utd will concede.
It stands to reason. I remember van der Sar being happy not to charge around the box at set pieces because he had an absolute lightning rod in Vidic and a fine header of the ball in Rio in front of him. I also sympathise to an extent with De Gea's approach, where he has identified his excellency at dealing with the shot and his weakness in sweeping/commanding so has decided to stay where he's strongest. The trouble of course is that he doesn't have a Vidic, though Maguire did well yesterday, and inviting headers from set pieces is a poorer percentage play than the GK dealing with the ball in himself, if he has any skill in that area whatsoever.
 

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I have to echo the point made earlier that having a keeper who will only contest the ball in the air if he has no choice is a major part of our problem. De Gea is very strong in certain aspects of goalkeeping but he has never been good at commanding the box.
I think it's part of the problem but not doing anything to address it is a part of the bigger systematic problem. You can coach your keeper to command his six yard box, or you can have your players offer him protection in that area. There's no sign we do either.

It was better yesterday from what I saw (didn't see the game live and was drunk/falling asleep when I did catch up)...but it was because Maguire was actually picking up the main area of threat. This is a pretty simple thing to do yet it's taken us two thirds of the season to figure out.
 

Slik

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I think it's part of the problem but not doing anything to address it is a part of the bigger systematic problem. You can coach your keeper to command his six yard box, or you can have your players offer him protection in that area. There's no sign we do either.

It was better yesterday from what I saw (didn't see the game live and was drunk/falling asleep when I did catch up)...but it was because Maguire was actually picking up the main area of threat. This is a pretty simple thing to do yet it's taken us two thirds of the season to figure out.
We were still conceding set pieces under Mourinho too. So if it’s improved now, then Ole is doing something right
 

Denis' cuff

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I think it's part of the problem but not doing anything to address it is a part of the bigger systematic problem. You can coach your keeper to command his six yard box, or you can have your players offer him protection in that area. There's no sign we do either.

It was better yesterday from what I saw (didn't see the game live and was drunk/falling asleep when I did catch up)...but it was because Maguire was actually picking up the main area of threat. This is a pretty simple thing to do yet it's taken us two thirds of the season to figure out.
good job we signed Maguire then, eh?

of course defenders, particularly cb, should take their share of the responsibility but not take the whole burden ffs. It is far more the exception than the rule to have a keeper rooted to his line
 

rollingstoned1

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There's no problem with zonal marking - the problem for most of the season has been two-fold;

1. We have a keeper who clings to his goal-line like a hermit and offers absolutely nothing to our defenders. This also encourages teams to drop crosses right into the 6-yard box. Most competent GKs would make this area their own and deter attackers from using this kind of delivery.

2. We have had a small team the majority of the time. The likes of Pereira, Lingard, Mata and Fred have started together on a semi-regular basis. Our full backs are OK in the air but nothing special. Lindelöf is weak in the air....Martial and Rashford are competent as attackers but don't attack the ball aggressively enough to be useful in defensive situations.

Yesterday was one of the first times this season I looked at our penalty box and felt semi-confident that with McTominay, Matic and Maguire all on the pitch, we weren't such a soft touch
this isn't true necessarily, we were conceding goals from set pieces and looking shaky even during Mourinho's first and second season when we had the tallest team in the league with the likes of matic, Zlatan, Fellaini, Pogba, Lukaku, Bailly, Smalling etc. It's not something we work on and it surprised me during mourinho's reign especially.
 

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this isn't true necessarily, we were conceding goals from set pieces and looking shaky even during Mourinho's first and second season when we had the tallest team in the league with the likes of matic, Zlatan, Fellaini, Pogba, Lukaku, Bailly, Smalling etc. It's not something we work on and it surprised me during mourinho's reign especially.
Stats?

Plus, you do realise 'zonal' isn't a fixed set-up.....Ole's 'zonal' could (and will be) significantly different to Jose's 'zonal'

As I've said before, when you man mark, if the delivery is good and the attacker moves decisively, the defender is helpless. That's what zonal is designed to counteract
 

rollingstoned1

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Stats?

Plus, you do realise 'zonal' isn't a fixed set-up.....Ole's 'zonal' could (and will be) significantly different to Jose's 'zonal'

As I've said before, when you man mark, if the delivery is good and the attacker moves decisively, the defender is helpless. That's what zonal is designed to counteract
i don't have the stats but just what i remember of the games. We had an alright defensive record but considering the height we had we didn't look as threatening at the opposite end and as secure in our own box from set pieces. Of course this has been a feature of us with ddg as GK especially after Vidic has retired.
 

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We have a keeper who can't command his box or come for crosses, only one player in the squad who is any good in the air, and novice coaches. It's not a huge surprise that we are really, really bad at this.
 

noodlehair

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We were still conceding set pieces under Mourinho too. So if it’s improved now, then Ole is doing something right
Well it improved for one game. Over the season as a whole it's been a complete joke.
 

TRUERED89

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It was Vidic heading everything away. So not necessarily a bad thing if we free up Maguire to do a job that he is best at
Rio done his fair share of heading too, you don't become of the best CB pairing ever, with only one guy pulling his weight.
 

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Welcome back my old friend... It has been a while to be fair.

The whole teams organisation for the corner was shocking. Considering we're meant to be zonal making, feck knows what that was.

The fact that there's a man allowed to stand right in front of De Gea and he's not told someone to come stand in front of him is also really dumb.
 

Maticmaker

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Southampton are particularly good on corners and other set pieces, and I thought we did reasonably well on their previous efforts during the match, although I accept we are not that good generally. David Degea still has that weak spot of being rooted to his line far too often.

However yesterday we had a man missing because of stupid subs rules, the position of full back covering the back post at corners is critical and to lose Williams cost us dear. Matic was trying to fill in and was standing where he should stand for the kick, directly on the back post, but that gave space just in front of goal which Southampton exploited cleverly. An experienced back would have moved off the line once it was clear the ball would not come directly in on that position and covered the space in front of the keeper.

Truth is we should have had the game sown up by then, we had the chances, but didn't take them and paid the price against a hardworking side that is now making use of the assets it does have.
 

noodlehair

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Yeah I actually think we've noticably worked on improving this (about fecking time to be fair).

The goal yesterday was still poor, mind. It's a decent ball in but it's into the area where one of our players should always at the very least be in a position to challenge for it.

The bigger problem was allowing ourselves to be under pressure all game. Chances are when you do that the opposition will score one way or another and we'd already completely gifted them one goal so left ourselves no room for any error.
 

ShinjiNinja26

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It’s definitely an area we’ve been poor in previously but i think we’ve been working on it throughout the season and have improved quite a bit in defending set pieces. The goal we conceded last night against Southampton was more to do with the fact we were very unlucky and went down to 10 men. Thought we coped pretty well with their balls into the box up until that point.
 

romufc

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Can we not say sometimes, what a fantastic delivery into the box?
 

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We have a goalkeeper who stays rooted to his line, defenders who, Maguire aside, can't head the ball and novice coaches. That's a fairly bad combination when it comes to defending set pieces - in a way, I'm surprised that we aren't actually a lot worse at this.
 

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Out of interest, can anyone remember the last time De Gea caught a set-piece into our box? Failing that, the last time he punched one clear?

It looked like Ward-Prowse had been briefed to drop every single corner into the middle of our six yard box, a yard or two from the line. If we’re relying on our central defenders to repeatedly compete for the ball that close to our goal we’re inevitably going to concede at some point. They can’t win every single header.
 

Based Adnan

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Nervousness from the keeper translates on to the players for set pieces

The players know that there's more chance of seeing a flying pig than De Gea coming off his line to help relieve some pressure
 

romufc

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Nervousness from the keeper translates on to the players for set pieces

The players know that there's more chance of seeing a flying pig than De Gea coming off his line to help relieve some pressure
Are you actually suggesting DDG should have come of his line on that corner? It was a wicked delivery into the box.
 

Infra-red

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Out of interest, can anyone remember the last time De Gea caught a set-piece into our box? Failing that, the last time he punched one clear?

It looked like Ward-Prowse had been briefed to drop every single corner into the middle of our six yard box, a yard or two from the line. If we’re relying on our central defenders to repeatedly compete for the ball that close to our goal we’re inevitably going to concede at some point. They can’t win every single header.
De Gea ranks down at the bottom, both for % of crosses stopped and defensive actions outside his penalty area. He really does not like coming off his line.



https://totalfootballanalysis.com/d...pes-top-five-leagues-data-analysis-statistics
 

Pogue Mahone

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De Gea ranks down at the bottom, both for % of crosses stopped and defensive actions outside his penalty area. He really does not like coming off his line.



https://totalfootballanalysis.com/d...pes-top-five-leagues-data-analysis-statistics
Well there you go. Seems crazy that it could be acceptable for a club with our aspirations to have a keeper that is such an outlier in those stats.

A really good corner needs to be in an area where it’s close enough to the line that any kind of touch might cause a goal but far enough out it isn’t an easy catch for the keeper. Teams who take corners against us don’t need to worry about landing the ball too close to the keeper. Which you could see with Ward-Prowse’s corners last night. Makes his job so much easier. He can land it under the crossbar and our centre backs would still need to head it clear. No wonder we keep conceding at set-pieces.
 

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I wish we would hire someone like vidic as a defensive coach. I agree we should replace DeGea.