Teams like Liverpool and Brentford have scored so many goals from set plays over the past couple of seasons because they were paying attention to them when other teams weren’t. Choosing the proper taker and ball flight, designing planned movements to create space for the players who are best in the air and constantly practicing the execution was enough to create a bunch of extra goals. Plus, because most teams didn’t have a coach overseeing set-play scoring, they also didn’t have a coach who could teach them how to defend them.
Much like in the sport as a whole, it’s a lot easier to defend a set piece than it is to attack from one. The former is about team-wide organization and destruction, the latter is about individual precision and execution. And so, in response to the growing threat from set plays, most Premier League teams have done the same thing when facing a corner kick: packed everyone into the box.
The first: Just give up! Accept that corners are no longer an inefficiency to be exploited. With 11 opposition players in the box, you’re never going to have numbers in your favor because your keeper is hanging back and someone has to take the corner. At best, you’re getting 9 vs. 11. So maybe a short corner is finally worth it.
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