Rafael Benitez famously used the saying ‘small details’ when referring to deciding big games or even tight games. I totally agree with him on this one, as we have seen a number of times goals scored at vital times change games. Over the years we have seen vital goals scored at vital times in huge games for us; goals in game against AC Milan, West Ham, Arsenal, Everton, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City immediately spring to mind that have sent us into elation as well as the goals we have conceded that have sent us into despair.
|When a game is tight and it is difficult to score from open play, a well-worked set piece can often make the difference between winning and losing a game. It is something we have not been outstanding on over the last few seasons but it is an essential part of the game.
Sunday’s game highlighted to me how we do not make our superiority count at set pieces so I thought I would look at how we could improve our set pieces.
A study across all the big four European leagues showed there is little correlation by the number of corners your team has and the number of goals they score, although this was at its strongest across the English premier league. This table initially looks at corners and how we have performed this year
The two goals we have scored have been well-worked corners, which confuse me as to why we haven’t scored more. We have some dangerous players when the ball comes into the box e.g. Skrtel and Agger and some excellent delivery. It is something that I would like to see us make more use of. It doesn’t have to be scoring from a header; we have excellent creative players that could produce a well-worked corner routine. If we are going to get an average of 6+ corners per game then we need to convert more. I am pleased with the variety of our corners this year but yet again it is something I would like to see us develop even further.
Branching out further into set pieces yet again I feel we have some excellent deliverers of a dead ball to create numerous opportunities. Defenders and goalkeepers find nothing worse than having to deal with a ball in a dangerous area. In the likes of Gerrard and Enrique we have players who can put balls into dangerous areas for players to attack or defenders and goalkeepers to be put under pressure.
Last season’s set piece goals
Last year we scored 14 goals in total from set pieces this was the joint 7th highest in the league and although we did not score enough goals last year 29.79% of our goals came from set pieces. One thing that does concern me is that Swansea only scored half the goals that we did from set pieces. I wonder if this is a trait of a Brendan Rogers side? Let’s check this years statistics:
This season’s set piece goals
We have yet again scored almost a third of our goals from set pieces which is good to see we are scoring them and looking at Swansea’s dismal record this season maybe it is not just a Rogers trait. Like I have said before I would like to see more goals from the team and set pieces is another way we can break down a stubborn side. Hopefully, in the next few months we shall see more goals from well-worked set pieces from the training ground.
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