The Noble Art Of Pragmatism

Morning,all.

What a weekend that was then,eh? Between the hours of noon and 2pm on Sunday,and for the two hours that followed,we were as Celtic supporters in the depths of despair. Aw naw,not another one of those performances much spoken about recently on these very pages. Or,is this the day we hand back the initiative to the huns?

I know that all sorts of dark thoughts were crashing through my more-than-usually-befuddled brain. I take the kind of dismal performance and result we saw on Sunday maybe just a bit too seriously! But fortunately,an unlikely saviour was hiding in the wings and waiting for his moment. 

And I give you Alan McGregor! I doubt very much that he is flavour of the month in his local ludj at the moment…

But let’s not allow those gifts to blind us to the obvious,which is just how bad we were on Sunday. AP is rightly getting criticism for only making one substitution during the game,but ask yourself this. Who SHOULD he have hooked? Who should he have brought on? In what way was he going to shake up the formation and the game plan?

In truth,almost everyone wearing our (away) colours was a candidate for the first go in the showers. I don’t think a single player merited a pass mark for us in what was our worst domestic performance since October at least. How do you shake up the team when there are effectively eleven failures on the day out there?

We can talk about shaking things up,or even like for like substitutions. Or perhaps that dreaded P-word that Ange clearly is no fan of. Pragmatism. Changing the game plan to suit the circumstances. But that is not really a starter with so many poor performances on the day. 

Our game plan was,as usual,to put some daylight between us and the opposition from the off,and we lined up with the personnel to do that. But when we have Jota and Abada running into blind alleys from the wings,Maeda and Reo completely off their game,Tam struggling to remember as much as his name…

Well,there goes our main goal threat. 

AP is not to blame for that performance. That is down to a failure from the players on the day to perform to their own standards. And that there were so many of them on the day meant that,no,he couldn’t be “pragmatic” and change the game plan. Though he should probably consider it from the start in future. 

******

Another victim of his own success,and that alleged failure to be pragmatic,is Marcelo Bielsa. I think he is likely to be spoken of in the future by Leeds fans in the revered and hushed tones usually reserved for Don Revie. They loved him,he gave them back their pride and their place at the top table after almost two decades. 

But that table does not lie,and their results have been utterly abysmal in the last few months. He too refused to change his system,and it is one that put a smile on the faces of the fans and which improved certain players almost immeasurably. Almost certainly,his refusal to change was down to a dogged dogma,the belief that his concept of The Beautiful Game is the correct one. Ask the fans of his former clubs if they think he was correct,and the answer will be a resounding YES!!!

But how do Leeds think that sacking their legendary manager after four seasons will alter their fortunes for the better? Their results have been down to poor performances,not to the system. But more importantly,it is down to a packed treatment room and missing some absolutely vital players for large parts of the season. 

So unless Leeds have a witch doctor lined up as Bielsa’s successor,all that will happen is more of the same-but without their talismanic coach who knew the club and the players inside out,and who would almost definitely have seen normal service resumed next season. 

Sometimes the boardroom have to be pragmatic too,and not go for the knee-jerk reaction. I think they will soon regret this decision. 

******

Above article by BMCUWP

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CFC

BMCUW

With only JF, who I suspect may be for the off in the Summer, and the unproven KD available for attacking roles I don’t blame Ange for sticking with his first choices at a tricky venue.

The only logical move would have been to replace Daizen with JF and move Abada centrally.

5 games to go before the split.
Two tough aways. Even if we draw both, assuming we do the business at home, we will still be ahead of the misfiring Huns for the final 5, three of which will be at home.
So 6 home games, 4 away.

Still very much in our hands. Time for calm and a positive outlook.

Twisty

Leeds fans are very much split as to whether the sacking was right or wrong. It seems to be that a lot of those in the ‘wrong’ camp have by their own admission made the decision it was wrong based on the quality of the replacement, Jesse Marsh, who they don’t regard as an inspirational choice.
I find it strange that the man they are bringing in seems to operate in very much the same style as his predecessor. Considering they’ve shipped 60 goals this season, including 20 in the last 5 matches, patching up that defence is a must. On paper, that does not seem to be a strength of Marsch. As Bobby alludes to, there’s the added complication of a long injury list.
I honestly think the modern day managers need to be very flexible in their approach. Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester have noticeably found it more difficult to dominate teams in the manner they initially did. Biesla was the same. Opposition managers look to have found a way to counteract their style. Is the same thing happening with Ange now? Time will tell. Anyway back to Leeds.
The next 3 games could be season defining. Away to Leicester then two home games v Villa and Norwich. You’d think if they come up empty from those 3, the new managers reign could be one of the shortest ever.

Colour Blind Bhoy

BMCUM, Sunday’s bench and the season to date have demonstrated Ange doesn’t have sufficient quality in depth yet to retain his Plan A style for the 90+ minutes of every game. Any change on Sunday other than the one he made would simply have been a change for change sake I believe. That being the case, I’d like to see some pragmatism and imagination. I’d also like to see more forward players on the bench and less defensive midfielders.

Colour Blind Bhoy

Frodshambhoy, yes 102 corners in 2022 and nothing to talk about from them. Maybe we get the corners just to give CCV and Starfelt a chance to jog 40 yards up and down the pitch.

I haven’t analysed them any deeper but intend to do so at the next 3 home games I’ll be at and I’ll do the Livi and Sevco games while watching on TV.

The main issues I have from memory are (1) the number of balls that don’t clear the first defender, (2) the amount of times we give away silly fouls as the ball is in the air, (3) when we do get to the ball first how often it just flies off the player’s head with no direction applied and (4) when the ball goes deep all of our players have been sucked in so we seldom have an option at the back post.

I’ve got mixed views on short corners and we do seem to take a lot of them. I don’t like it when it’s Plan A but if an opportunity exists to exploit space then we should show initiative and capitalise on it.

And, in the interest of fairness, we did score a goal from a short corner earlier on this season (in front of the Lisbon Lions’ Stand) where the second ball was played in and a defender got a clean header on it. I can’t remember the game but will have a think about it later today when I get some time.

Bawheid

Football is cyclical. If the manager cannot change his tactics and the players cannot adapt to those changes then they will fail, change has to happen because opponents learn how adapt their game and to nullify your teams strengths. Put yourself in the young players place, they have travelled hundreds of miles to play in a new country, a completely different set of circumstances, they need time to settle and to bed in and to get over the initial excitement of being stars in a completely different environment. Its the same with boards, they too must be refreshed, not ours though, time has moulded their seats perfectly to fit their fat posteriors, their suits have to be dry-cleaned to wash out the sweaty palms of their back-slapping friends, after you Peter, no Ian you go first….

Dad (signalman) was driving, Grandad (miner) was pillion, I was in the side-car, heading to Lino- town, Kirkcaldy, you could smell the linseed oil from miles away, going to visit great uncle Dan (miner and boxer), Dan lived in a ground floor flat, one room with a recess curtained off bedroom, his yellow canary sang its song of welcome. Later we would meet the two spinster great aunts (teachers) our posh relatives. Dan reminded me of the “Quiet Man” a smaller version of the big fella that took on John Wayne and lost. We had a great time and headed back home to the Raploch, it would be mid fiffties and i was around 7-8. We stopped off in Cardenden, Fife, John Thomson’s home town,to visit the cemetery where the legendary Celtic goalkeeper is buried, to pay our respects, i picked up a small stone to remember my visit. I want to pay tribute to Celtic Graves Society, for doing so much to keep alive those famous Celtic players memories and for keeping their graves in pristeen condition. Thank You!
When life settled down, I was able to think back about those players and men from Wellesley Juniors who played for Celtic and left such indelible and incredible memories.

Willy Maley said it all when paying tribute to our Prince Of Goalkeepers… “They never die who live in the hearts they leave behind”.

Prestonpans bhoys

CBB
You would have thought that set pieces would be a easy training exercise. I see no evidence of that for years. This is not a recent thing, someone pointed out that we are on free kick number 30 without a goal, shocking!

CFC

C B B

9.11 pm last night.
A good read.
Well done on a thorough bit of research.
Plenty of food for thought there.
Let me add my tuppence worth.

In 2022, 12 games overall, 192 shots on goal, 25 goals so a rather dismal 13% success rate. But averaging two a game. I wonder how many shots required the keepers attention as shots on target!
What is a good conversion rate for shots on target?
A quick look at February results( BBC stats) suggests we are achieving an average of c 45/50%.
On which basis we were good for 1.5 goals v Hibs!!

In 8 league games in 2022 we have scored 18 and conceded 5.
In the previous 20 we scored 42 and conceded 12.
So statistically about the same for goals scored and conceded over both periods.

Clearly we need to work on the issues you highlight.
I wonder if our coaches do?

One area of comfort – Our much maligned defence is doing just fine- domestically at least. The concession of two goals each in games v Dons and Dundee did cause palpitations though. Improvement is much needed left side to make us a more effective unit, but we know that.

It’s clear that in forward areas we do not always click – Although 3 goals v Huns, 3 v Dons and Dundee and 4 v Well would suggest otherwise.

What do I take from the above?

We blow hot and cold in performance terms but grind out out results when needed. Not inconsistent with a team in transition, who are on the right track. Sometimes we come up against an inspired keeper / defence and are thwarted.
We are definitely ahead of where we could have been after last season’s debacle.

I’ve heard it said that stats can be used like a drunk holding on to a lamppost- more for support than illumination.
I’m not suggesting anything about your ( or my) drinking habits btw😀

Saltires en Sevilla

Bobby

met a few Leeds fans at a music festival in the Highlands just before Christmas and they were very complimentary about their manager. When I used the term ‘one-dimensional’ they argued that he wasn’t … but almost three months later I’m willing to bet that they now think he is/was

We might be seeing the same thing here at Celtic … love the Big Guy…he talks about keeping his messaging brief and simple … but capitulating in a European tie at the halfway stage will have some ( if not all) players wondering what the hell is going on.

What was that messaging about … really about…. unspoken but subliminal?

“We don’t stop…” when he released that video in August, there was a sense that finally, we had a leader that would put some meat on the bones of his players.

His decision making in the last two games points directly to an unravelling…

Telling players, albeit indirectly, that ‘stopping’ is ok …. sometimes …

nah!

Maybe that’s the antithesis of ‘one-dimensional’

Likeisay, love the big guy and he’s worked wonders until now, but sitting 5 or 6 ‘starters’ on a bench for a game where we are only 2 goals down and not giving them the opportunity ( good leaders ‘create opportunities’ and we should look for this in selection testing…) Because they are needed to play in 3 days time in fricken Leith?!

Willing to bet a few of those benched players were thinking to themselves … “we don’t stop!”

Aye, right gaffer …

but, it seems that we certainly do

Compare the actual words … to what is actually happening

Hoping beyond hope that this was a blip …

BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED UP WINKLEPICKERS

COLOURBLIND BHOY

Stephen Welsh,v Hearts?

Leggy

Morning all,

Bawheid,

Welcome to the blog and a cracking wee story this morning 👍

BRRB,

I know you’ve been off the swally for a month, so as that famous phrase goes;

“ Be careful out there !!!!!!!” today.

Anyway catch up with you on Friday and anyone else who’s floating around Glasgow that day. ( BRRB has details).

Have a nice day 💚💚💚

Son Of Gabriel

On Bielsa… I have wanted him as Celtic manager for years. Long before he made his way to the UK with Leeds.

However, as much as long term admirer as I am, he has always had the issue of burnout at his various stops (and there have been a lot of them) he also isn’t someone who cares enough to play nice in the sandbox and so has had many falling outs with front offices over the years.

4 years isn’t a bad shelf life for managers in England. In fact I’d bet its well above the average these days.
I’m in wait and see mode with Leeds, but think sometimes those running teams say “My coach isn’t doing well” and instead of completing the sentence with “My coach isn’t doing well now…but who will be better for the club in a year to two’s time” they say “My coach isn’t doing well…time for a change”

Son Of Gabriel

Colour Blind Bhoy

Short corners are undervalued by fans IMO.

For your perusal:
https://theathletic.com/2335224/2021/01/26/10-reasons-to-take-or-fake-a-short-corner/

If you’d like me to post the article I’ll be more than happy to.

Frodshambhoy

CBB I’ll bow to your superior knowledge on short corners. I honestly thought we took very few short. (Maybe because I tend to look away when we have a corner as I know we are wasting our time taking them.)

I do think they can be effective if we have proper plans in place and everyone is aware of what we are intending to do. That’s my issue with our coaches.
We have been abysmal at set pieces for years.

We had a long run where Ryan Christie took pretty much every free kick and corner, usually hitting them high and wide or shooting from impossible angles. Things improved a bit when David Turnbull started taking them but it seemed to take far to long for Turnbull to get his chance when both he and Christie were in the side.

Failing to clear the first defender is an issue. This is also a big issue in open play. We often take an extra touch before crossing which allows defenders to close down any space we have created.

Colour Blind Bhoy

BMCUW, spot on, Stephen Welsh. ✅

Colour Blind Bhoy

Prestonpans bhoys, spot on, if we were as dangerous from our attacking dead ball situations as we are vulnerable when defending them I’d be happy.

A thing of beauty

CBB/CFC
Cracking stuff this morning and last night regarding the stats and pinpointing where things can be improved. We are lucky to have some top class posters on this site. The insight is much appreciated.
Some of the sites I have been reading are highlighting the problem with the press when Rogic is playing. It’s definitely causing an issue. He is just not quick enough nor has the energy to play the role Ange wants. O’Riley has to start from now on and tam can get the ballet shoes on with 20 to go.
ASWGL,
Timely intervention last night. Again, much appreciated.

Colour Blind Bhoy

CFC 8.51am, what a brilliant line that is about the drunk with the lamppost. 😂

I wandered in to the life of early retirement in the middle of last year and notice I am starting to get into (over) analysing mode recently. I’m thinking I need to get myself a part time job to keep my brain sharp on matters other than Celtic.

Colour Blind Bhoy

Son Of Gabriel, thank you for that and if you could post the full article it would be much appreciated.

I am a fan of short corners when the time is right, my only gripe is especially earlier in the season it seemed to be part of Plan A. Maybe it was to do with keeping the play moving at pace but I felt Kyogo and Jota were taking the spare ball from the ball boy and playing short without too much thought about who was spare on the 18 yard line or the back post.

When executed well, short corners are a joy to watch. Maybe I’m just a grumpy old ex centre half who got fed up going up for a corner only to see the ball be played short. 😂

Friesdorfer

Good Morning all, just returned last night from Gran Canaria to the gloriously sunny silvery Tay this morning – pity the temperature doesn’t match…! I can feel the sympathy oozing out from you all 🙄🤣

Great posts today, thank you one and all. Re Leeds new coach Jesse Marsch (sp), I seem to recall an in-depth analysis not long ago suggesting he was under consideration for Celtic prior to Ange joining. Interesting comparisons.

Looking forward to a better performance and result on Wednesday night, I’ll dig oot my thermals – as you do 😉

HH

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

COLOURBLINDBHOY

While I’m sure your talents will find an eager employer,voluntary work might also be an option to keep you occupied. Good luck either way.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

FRIESDORFER

Hope you had a ball. And brought back a couple of duvets till you get acclimatised.

St tams

CBB
With regards to corners and free kicks , it is really quite embarrassing how bad we are.
Against Dundee United a few weeks ago both Bitton and Scales were playing.
The 2 tallest players in our team.
When we had a corner, neither of them were in the box. I pointed this out to my son at the game and we both thought this was very strange

Big Audio Dynamite

The set piece problem has been driving me up the wall since Balde, Mjallby & Valgaeren left.
I believe therein lies the answer, we are not anywhere near physical enough to get on the end of some great deliveries.
I also worry when the Tic manager seems to only have one string to his bow.
Hibs just stayed narrow and compact till the ball went to our wide men, only then did they quickly double up on our wingers, meaning the ball had to be recycled …seem familiar? It should. We can’t continue to be so easily countered.
Someone asked the other day, “If you were a Hibs STH, would you be happy to pay to watch that??” Great point! I get the point about budgets but even so,, not for me, that kind of fitba.
Hopefully a good win with a few goals on wed, and we can kick on from there. One goal on Sunday would have made such a difference to the table 😠
Ange does do one thing I love, he refuses to give the gutter press what they crave, an OF angle to every incident-story.
Still a big fan of the man, he is just giving me cause for concern.

HH to all, especially anyone struggling 💚

CFC

C B B / A t o b

Not my line sadly but kinda makes the point! Feel free to use 😀

Tam definitely upsets the balance of the midfield when starting.
I agree, an impact sub when the hard running has been done and a wee bit of subtlety is required.
Banging the drum a bit here but let’s get one of our three def mids on from the start, Guchi is my preference. Let’s see what he has got.
And play Calmac further forward.

jimthetim53

Happy St. David’s Day
This is what you call a National Anthem!

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

JIMTHETIM53

Naw,that’s what I call a bad hand at scrabble.

Jobo Baldie

Good morning friends. The sacking of managers happens far too often in my opinion. Even in our own DPL how many teams have changed manager during this season – 5 I think. Stevie Gee obviously jumped rather than be pushed and the switch from St Mirren to Aberdeen was similar. Dundee decided they needed to act in their fight against relegation but choosing Mark McGhee may not have been the wisest move.
However it’s the Aberdeen and Hibs changes that surprised me most. Neither were in danger of relegation and both were still in the tight fight for 4th place. Do both clubs feel that 4th isn’t acceptable?

fan

B.A.D
Hibs could afford to double up on wide men as there was zero threat from central area.
There was zero purpose ,intent or drive in the middle of the park..
Turnbull had his critics but was the only player to threaten in central area and his absence shows.
I have said enough on where i think the problem lies but since that won’t be countenanced we will soldier on.
Hopefully we have enough to get over the line.

jimthetim53

Bobby, LOL 🙂

I loathe the British/English one. Why should it be about one singular person. An accident of birth billionnaire?
In the 19th century when they were deciding on the N.A. it was between 3: God Save the queen, Rule Brittania, or Land of Hope & Glory. The decision makers chose GSQ because they were erse lickers to the Queen. Getting favour.
It SHOULD be about the people and the country. Land of Hope & Glory would have been much more appropriate. But there was a snag with that one which worried them. The composer Edward Elgar was a practising Roman Catholic!

fan

Jobo Baldie
(However it’s the Aberdeen and Hibs changes that surprised me most. Neither were in danger of relegation and both were still in the tight fight for 4th place. Do both clubs feel that 4th isn’t acceptable?)
Should bloody well hope so otherwise what’s the point of having a league competition?
I think Goodwin has potential for Aberdeen as he seems organized and capable of putting a team together with little resources.They will improve.
Maloney to me looks like another possession obsessed coach who seems to forget that scoring goals is the main objective.
He is like his mentor Martinez who has Belgium underperforming with the level of talent he has.

Saltires en Sevilla

See the Old Firm are back together again, playing at Olympic Stadium Oz.

November 2022 International break.

Roll up…roll up …

fan

Saltires en Sevilla
We have an advantage as that’s a long flight for hun players traveling in economy on a budget airline.
Stupid to send players that distance when rest and tactical refinements would be better served.
Guess our custodians are thinking our Aussie coach will generate big bucks in his native land.
They could play in Perth Western Australia then it’s a short hop to Japan where we could repeat and give our brilliant board the potential for even higher bonuses.

Gordon64

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-60570893 Boys club abuse survivors can launch action against Celtic FC

Rebus67

Bobby,

I am not convinced that the system is not the problem at Leeds and at Celtic. As I mentioned yesterday, it may not be sustainable due its physical demands and psychological factors such as some players losing faith in it.

I strongly suspect that the injury list is due to the system and that precedes injuries affecting the system. Bielsa’s career is littered with the same pattern…..initial success followed by catastrophic collapse.

Many players love coaches like Bielsa because he makes them fitter and able to do more. It is player burnout that is the flaw. The system is not sustainable, so either it must be adapted or fail, IMHO.

Rebus

Saltires en Sevilla

Fan

😃Aye- Hoping it’s just a loada codswollop buddy

HH

Big Audio Dynamite

Fan,
I think us persisting with playing Callum as a DM is why our midfield is so unbalanced.
When, if ever, have you seen Cal win a real crunching 50-50?? It just isn’t his game!
When he was played as the tip of our midfield spear, he was sensational (His Euro goals spring to mind)
Barring Ideguchi making the position his own, I’d like to see a specialist DM bought, with a much better LB also brought in.
Hate to keep on about it, but Greg Taylor is driving me to distraction!
And as I’ve been saying for what seems like years now, the team STILL lacks muscle. Being too nice might work in Spain or France, but this shifty football backwater is full of hammer throwers, and they know they can ‘Put it about’ safe in the knowledge they have freedom to boot us all over.

Hope you’re well, mate 👍

Son Of Gabriel

At the request of colour blind bhoy

Apologies in advance as the graphic’s can’t be posted.
Original link: https://theathletic.com/2335224/2021/01/26/10-reasons-to-take-or-fake-a-short-corner/

***************************************************************************************************************

10 reasons to take – or fake – a short corner

Short corners and why to take them
By Michael Cox Jan 26, 2022
It wasn’t quite what Leicester City had planned.

But a well-worked short corner by James Maddison and Marc Albrighton created a good cut-back opportunity, and after Harvey Barnes’ air-kick, the ball ran through to Wilfred Ndidi, who fired home from the edge of the box. It opened the scoring in last week’s eventual 2-0 victory over Chelsea, whose weakness in those situations had been pinpointed beforehand.

“We worked on it,” explained Maddison afterwards. “We looked at Chelsea. Little short corners and being creative — they switch off sometimes from set pieces…”

It was that rarest of things — if you listen to many football fans, anyway — a successful short corner routine. It’s up there among the most frequent bugbears supporters have about their team’s performance — alongside foul throws, zonal marking and a goalkeeper electing to punch when under little pressure.

So, what are teams actually trying to achieve when playing a short corner? Here are 10 potential positive outcomes, based upon examples drawn from the past couple of years in the Premier League.

1. A two-versus-one out wide
Perhaps the simplest positive is what Leicester achieved against Chelsea — a two-against-one situation in a wide area.
If the opposition switch off, and only bring one man across to close down, two attackers can usually work the ball past him.

A good example came in Brighton’s 2-1 win over Arsenal late last season. Solly March took a corner short to Leandro Trossard, only Dani Ceballos came out towards them, and the return pass allowed March to dribble into the penalty area…

…before he fired the ball into the six-yard box, which eventually resulted in Lewis Dunk turning home a scrappy goal from close range.

2. A three-versus-two out wide

Defensive teams are usually alert to the danger of a two-against-one situation, however, and generally push two players out if the opposition play a short corner.
So, inevitably, the best way to beat two players is by working a three-against-two, which usually involves a player in a deeper position joining the action at a late stage.

Here’s an example from a couple of seasons ago: Manchester United’s Ashley Young takes a corner short to Juan Mata and makes a run around him. Two Fulham players move out to shut them down but the key player is to the right of the screen — Jesse Lingard, who will play the crucial pass.

Mata passes backwards to Lingard, then makes a run in behind the two Fulham defenders, creating the angle for a through-ball from Lingard, and collecting the return pass…

…and from there, he fires across the six-yard box for Romelu Lukaku to convert into an empty net.

3. A two-versus-two out wide

An overload isn’t always necessary to create a good opening, however, as a Sheffield United goal against Chelsea earlier this season demonstrates (indeed, perhaps this is what inspired the Leicester short-corner routine mentioned above).
This move features Oliver Norwood taking the corner short to George Baldock, and then making a run around the back of him.

Chelsea push two men out to close down. Baldock returns the ball to Norwood, which seems to tempt both Chelsea players up the pitch, and then makes a run in behind. It’s notable how the two-against-two situation seems almost entirely detached from the rest of the action.

Norwood then again feeds Baldock, who is free to get to the byline…

…and he plays a cut-back to Sander Berge, whose shot is turned in by David McGoldrick.

4. A better crossing angle

The three routines described above all concentrated on getting the corner taker — or the recipient of the short corner — into the box, from where he can play a precise pass, rather than a more typical crossed ball. But sometimes, teams work a short corner before playing in a cross from a much better angle.
Here is an example from Manchester City’s home win over Aston Villa last season. David Silva takes the corner short to Kevin De Bruyne, who plays a one-two with Benjamin Mendy before delivering a first-time, inswinging ball into the box. De Bruyne loves crossing from these narrower zones, and this delivery was played so expertly that it initially seemed to have flown all the way in, although a minor touch from Silva meant he claimed the goal.

This is also, therefore, an unusual example of a short corner allowing the corner taker to get into the box and turn home a cross.

5. A shooting opportunity

But it’s not entirely uncommon for a corner taker to find himself shooting.

Here’s a goal scored by Willian, then of Chelsea, away at Tottenham Hotspur last year. He takes the corner short to the edge of the box for Mateo Kovacic, who makes a late run to receive possession away from Lucas Moura.

Kovacic then returns the ball to Willian, with Spurs slow to get out and shut down this two-against-one situation.

Serge Aurier eventually moves out there but is thrown off balance by Willian’s stepover…

…which allows the Brazilian to cut inside and smash the ball into the far corner. Of course, it still takes a powerful and accurate shot to score from this situation, but again it’s worth pointing out that the two-against-two battle out wide is almost completely detached from everyone else. Once Willian shifts the ball and finds half a yard away from Aurier, there’s nobody within 10 yards to block the shot, which makes it easier for him to find a path to goal.

6. Dragging men out of the near post zone and exploiting that space

The aforementioned examples have concentrated on what has happened outside the box, looking at the players involved in taking the corner. But, of course, all that influences what happens inside the penalty area, too. If you play a short corner and drag two defenders out of the box, there’s space to exploit somewhere.

Here’s an example from Wolves’ recent 1-1 draw with Spurs at Molineux. Joao Moutinho is shaping up to whip the ball into the box, and the possibility of him playing a short corner attracts not merely Matt Doherty, who closely follows Daniel Podence towards the ball, but because of the threat of a two-against-one, Steven Bergwijn vacates his zone at the near post too.

In the end, Wolves don’t actually take the corner short. Moutinho, potentially spotting that Tottenham are now weakened at the near post, whips the ball into that zone — you can see Bergwijn realising he’s gone too far towards the ball and desperately starting to backpedal…

…but he’s in no position to help. Moutinho delivers the ball into his zone, and Romain Saiss gets in front of Harry Kane, now the only man at the near post, to nod home. Granted, in this situation Wolves didn’t actually play a short corner, but the principle remains.

7. Dragging zonal markers out and exploiting the space behind them

Playing a short corner makes particular sense against a side defending zonally. There’s a fairly basic logic to this: teams defend zonally so they don’t get pulled around by opponents. They’re content to be standing in the shape they’ve determined is the optimum approach, which they’ve practised several times on the training ground. So, rather than launching the ball towards them, why not shift them out of their preferred positions?

Here’s an example from December, in Liverpool’s 4-0 victory over Wolves. Earlier on, Jordan Henderson had whipped a corner towards a pack of defending players, and it was easily cleared. This time, he plays the ball short to Mohamed Salah, which immediately forces Wolves’ five zonal defenders to sprint higher up the pitch.

By the time Salah cuts inside further and shapes to cross, four of those zonal defenders are level with the penalty spot, and one has advanced all the way to the edge of the 18-yard box. Now, there’s space to feed the ball in behind the defence; the corridor of uncertainty, to borrow the cricket phrase, which makes perfect sense in these situations.

If the delivery is right, it can create almost an almost unmissable chance. Joel Matip times his run well, gets in behind the defence, and crashes home a header.

Here’s a similar situation from a couple of seasons ago, involving Tottenham and Leicester. Corner taker Kieran Trippier is a fine crosser, but Leicester’s zonal defending is often very effective at winning the first ball. Therefore, he plays a short one back to Christian Eriksen…

…whose whipped ball into the box finds Davinson Sanchez, on the run in behind the defence, to power home his only goal to date for Spurs. Again, this chance is almost unmissable, and surely much more presentable than you ever witness from a “direct” corner.

8. Dragging the zonal markers out and exploiting gaps between them

It’s not just about the space in behind, however. It’s that when a defensive side is forced out of an organised, compact shape, gaps between their defenders are more likely to emerge. West Bromwich Albion’s equaliser at Liverpool last month was a good example.

Initially, Liverpool are protecting the space around the six-yard box with six zonal defenders. As West Brom play the corner short, they have to push forward.

By the time the ball is delivered into the box, there’s a larger gap than you’d expect between Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold at the far post. Perhaps Fabinho should have moved back a couple of yards, perhaps Alexander-Arnold should be tucking in, but either way it’s more space than West Brom would have found if they’d whipped the ball in directly…

…and, from that space, Semi Ajayi got up and headed home off the far post.

9. Forcing man-marking to collapse

It’s not always about zonal defending, though. And it’s not all about Ajayi, although he also scores in this example from West Brom’s recent FA Cup win over Blackpool. This time, the opposition are using a primarily man-marking system (albeit with zonal defenders at the near post), and Ajayi is being marked by Arsenal loanee Daniel Ballard.

The problem is that when a corner is played short, a man-marking system is usually scrapped in favour of a zonal approach, as the defending side push out to play offside and position themselves in one solid line. And in this “transition” from man-marking to a zonal system, there is disorganisation, and attackers often go free. As West Brom are working a three-man short corner routine, Ajayi — the main aerial threat — finds himself in a huge amount of space and a prime goalscoring position…

…and when the cross eventually comes in, Blackpool have three players seemingly marking one another at the near post. Ajayi finds space behind them to score another header.

10. Dragging the defenders towards the ball and exploiting space at the far post

And finally, a specific problem with defensive sides reacting to a short corner is that they’re invariably dragged not merely up the pitch, but also slightly towards the ball, which leaves space at the far post. That’s inevitable, particularly when two players defending the near post find themselves charging towards the ball — everyone else has to shift over and cover.

Here’s Sheffield United doing so successfully in a 1-1 draw with Burnley last season. Ben Osborn takes the corner short to McGoldrick, who plays the ball on to Berge, and runs around both to receive a pass.

Then, Osborn chips the ball into the box towards the head of Billy Sharp…

…who flicks on for John Egan, who finds himself in an extraordinary amount of space at the far post, to volley past Nick Pope.

That’s arguably an unusual goal, with the flick-on contributing to defenders at the far post being sucked towards the ball. But a short corner followed by a deep cross can be hugely effective.

Here’s a meeting between Norwich and Wolves last season, with Moutinho playing a one-two with Jonny.

Norwich end up with two men out closing down, leaving their team-mates forced to cover more space in the danger zone. Again, they’ve seemingly all shifted towards the near post, so the space is at the far, where Moutinho’s deep delivery finds three Wolves players up against one Norwich defender. Saiss, the central of the three attacking players, heads home, but he could equally have acted as a blocker for Doherty, behind him, to provide the finish.

That, for example, is how Fulham scored from a short corner against Chelsea a couple of years ago.

Ryan Babel took the set piece, dragged defenders out of the box and then whipped the ball towards the far post. With Dennis Odoi stopping anyone from retreating to the far post, Calum Chambers was left completely unmarked to volley in. Yes, block-offs can happen from corners sent directly into the box too. But would an attacking player ever get this amount of space?

Are short corners actually more effective?

It’s difficult to use statistics to prove whether short corners are more or less effective than “regular” corners, for various reasons. There’s a debate about when a set-piece situation is considered “finished”. Some short corners are simply intended for the attacking side to keep possession, rather than to create a goalscoring chance. Others are “timewasting” corners in the final stages of a game.

But there are several good reasons for playing a short corner. Whether it comes off is down to the players but, by shifting opponents around and forcing them to make split-second positional decisions, working a corner short often makes more sense than just sticking it in the mixer.

jimthetim53

Son of Gabriel, thanks for that, a very informative post! I remember some years ago we continually used short corners and they bugged the hell out of me. We never seemed to benefit from them IIRC.

bada bing1

Check out this post from Celtic FC https://www.celticfc.com/news/2022/march/01/ange-s-australian-homecoming/

Playing the huns, get this OF shite tae fk

The Gombeen Man

Lunchtime Parkead Snippets.

Celtic FC, adopt a new Official Club Motto.

News that Celtic Plc and Sevco are set to inflict their unique brand of sectarian misery on the good people of Australia, will also see the Parkhead fakes adopt a new motto.

“Pecunia Non Olet.”

“Pecunia Non Olet” or “Money Doesn’t Stink” was the catchy retort of Emperor Vespasian, when he decided to tax Roman urine.

Thrifty Vespasian had seen the money making potential of taxing profits that were being made from public urine, which was used for cleaning clothes.

Of course we should have seen this new motto coming, The giveaway was the regurgitation of the Bedwetters and Nappy headline elsewhere.

Have Parkhead supremos missed a trick?

Business Development Executives at Paradise. are sure to be investigating any potential profits that might bolster Plc coffers from the gallons of liquid waste deposited by Real Celtic Men and Women every other week.

On hearing the news, a Supporters Spokesperson stated, ” They’ve been taking the piss for years. Good on them, if it helps beat the Huns, I’ll bring our own piss from home and donate it.”

Supremos at Celtic Park are hoping that contacts in the Laundry Business will be helpful as the enterprise gets going.

As usual proifits will be reinvested in the Club. At the time of reporting which golf club is unclear.

In other Parkead news, Irish Circus outfit, Duffy’s Circus have been drafted into Lennoxtown to assist with the disappointing returns from corner kicks.

Circus favourites, the clowns – Billy and Biffo, are expected to work with the struggling stars on a number of routines to freshen up dismal corner kick returns.

It’s reported that players at the Club were initially sceptical but responded positively when it became clear that Billy and Biffo were a cut above the clowns that have been coaching them for a number of seasons.

A thing of beauty

Bada,
The fact that the club don’t mention who the other three teams are tells us all we need to know. The fans don’t want to be 2 cheeks of the same arse but the board cannot see past the cash. Wouldn’t surprise me if we shared a chartered plane and booked the same hotel as them as well. It’ll be part of the great deal the board think they’ve got for us.
Son of Gabriel,
I shall look forward to reading the article later but what I will say is that we might as well take a short corner as our other corners are shit. On Sunday we had about four different players taking them prior to O’Riley coming on and they were all the same floaty nonsense. On Thursday night Bodo took their first corner in the first half and whipped in a left footed in swinger in the driving wind. We scrambled about as it went just wide at the far post but it was sheer panic. We got a corner in the second half, same position. Right footed out swinger that was cleared whilst the goalie read his paper. Honestly I know we work on stuff at Lennoxtown, we can see that there is progress but our set pieces are garbage.

McCaff

…and in other news…despite reports to the contrary it appears renowned Blog cynic The Gombeen Man does have a sense of humour after all! I’ll leave you with this…🤣🤣🤣🤣
The Gombeen Man
Lunchtime Parkead Snippets.

Celtic FC, adopt a new Official Club Motto.
News that Celtic Plc and Sevco are set to inflict their unique brand of sectarian misery on the good people of Australia, will also see the Parkhead fakes adopt a new motto.
“Pecunia Non Olet.”
“Pecunia Non Olet” or “Money Doesn’t Stink” was the catchy retort of Emperor Vespasian, when he decided to tax Roman urine.
Thrifty Vespasian had seen the money making potential of taxing profits that were being made from public urine, which was used for cleaning clothes.
Of course we should have seen this new motto coming, The giveaway was the regurgitation of the Bedwetters and Nappy headline elsewhere.
Have Parkhead supremos missed a trick?
Business Development Executives at Paradise. are sure to be investigating any potential profits that might bolster Plc coffers from the gallons of liquid waste deposited by Real Celtic Men and Women every other week.
On hearing the news, a Supporters Spokesperson stated, ” They’ve been taking the piss for years. Good on them, if it helps beat the Huns, I’ll bring our own piss from home and donate it.”
Supremos at Celtic Park are hoping that contacts in the Laundry Business will be helpful as the enterprise gets going.
As usual proifits will be reinvested in the Club. At the time of reporting which golf club is unclear.
In other Parkead news, Irish Circus outfit, Duffy’s Circus have been drafted into Lennoxtown to assist with the disappointing returns from corner kicks.
Circus favourites, the clowns – Billy and Biffo, are expected to work with the struggling stars on a number of routines to freshen up dismal corner kick returns.
It’s reported that players at the Club were initially sceptical but responded positively when it became clear that Billy and Biffo were a cut above the clowns that have been coaching them for a number of seasons.

Apologies TGM…I just couldn’t resist! 😘

The Gombeen Man

McCaff,

No bother,

It’s better be renounded for something.

I should have added that I can confirm that our woes from corners have prompted a rework of

“I just can’t get enough.”

“I just can’t get a goal.”

Will be hitting the shelves this week.

McCaff

👍😁

Colour Blind Bhoy

Son Of Gabriel at 12:45, that was a great read, thanks for sharing.

Colour Blind Bhoy

Big Audio Dynamite at 10:49 and 12:25, 2 great posts.

In relation to the first, as well as the 3 defenders you mentioned we also often had at least 2 of Larsson, Sutton & Hartson attacking the ball as well. You are right in saying we have nothing like that level of physicality nowadays. We also had players like Thomson and Lubo who knew how to hit a corner.

On your second point about our central midfield and left back options, is there an opportunity to learn from the past and look at Ange trying 3-5-2 now and again?

I know most of us suspect he is wedded to his 4-3-3 but at home versus most of the SPFL teams do we need 2 centre halves? Would we move the ball quicker if we only had 1? Would that allow Calmac to move up and across in midfield and still leave us with Abada and Jota wide on each flank with Juranovic, CCV and (say) Scales as the back 3?

Just a thought?

McCaff

CBB…I’m not sure we can easily define his system as 4-3-3 as it relies on one fullback moving forward and inside when we have possession at the back. This creates a 3-4-3 although it also requires the winger to drop to collect the ball, does this then become a 3-5-2 or a 3-2-3-2 with the fullback supposed to be an extra defensive mid? Feck knows to be honest but for me Ange’s system has proven to be successful although it’s sustainability over a season with a large number of games means it needs supremely fit athletes – a large squad of them – to ensure maximum impact. As has been discussed it appears the players and their fitness levels are a big part of the problem. Enough of them have shown capabilities to play the way required but not enough have over a longer period of time. I said yesterday a rest and a decent pre-season for the mid-season signings and a rest for the guys who’ve had to adapt quickly to a higher tempo game, allied to the pressures of last season and this season should hopefully see us defending this year’s League win with a fitter, sharper more able squad!

Bigrailroadblues

Good afternoon all from Shawlands.

jimthetim53

Good afternoon BRB. 🙂