Isn’t it frustrating when you watch your team concede a goal directly from a corner? Well, I have managed to create a routine for defending corners to overcome this problem. Using this routine it is possible to go through an entire season conceding no goals from corners.
This setup primarily uses man to man marking but also some zonal marking and players back to close down space. The benefit of this routine is that it can be applied to any formation because none of the players are instructed with the ‘default’ instruction except for the goalkeeper. The setup is shown below for a common 4-2-3-1 but as I have said you can use this setup for any formation and it will work fine. The setup is shown below and a guide with advice follows:
Right Back (Mark Far Post) – Does what it says marks the far post, helps out the goalkeeper if the ball passes him.
Centre Backs (Mark Tall Player) – Stick to centre backs where possible for these two, your centre backs will usually be your best headers of the ball and the best at man marking. These two will take care of the two biggest threats from corners.
Left Back (Mark Small Player) – Self explanatory, takes care of one of the lesser threats in the air.
Central Midfielders (Go Back) – Very important role, they come back and defend the box for corners. Useful for marking space and closing down shots if the ball drops around the edge of the area.
Attacking Midfielder Right (Mark Near Post) – Defends the near post, helps out the goalkeeper if the ball passes him.
Attacking Midfielder Centre (Man Mark) – Another opponent man marked and kept from causing danger.
Attacking Midfielder Left (Stay Forward) – Stays forward, ready to counter attack if the ball is cleared.
Striker (Zonally Mark Six Yard Box) – Positions himself in the 6 yard box towards the near post marking the space, he is ready to clear the ball as it comes into the box.
The setup in game is shown below, as you can see we have two players on the posts, four man marking, one zonal towards the near post and two free men as well as one player staying forward. The player staying forward occupies two defenders, and gives you an opportunity to break following the corner. There are no opposition players in space and everything is kept tight. The type of corner I conceded most was when the opposition attacked the near post. This setup stops that threat perfectly and it isn’t a problem for me any more.
If you are using another formation instead of 4-2-3-1, you must keep the exact same roles, you may just need to give the roles to different positions but keep as much as possible the same and consider the following:
- Have your two of your best headers assigned to mark tall players.
- Make sure your player assigned to zonal marking six yard box has decent attributes for heading, jumping, strength, bravery and is quite tall.
- Use your fastest most dangerous player to stay forward, for example Chelsea have played most of the season with Hazard left forward on half way line when defending corners, a scary thought for defenders.
- Midfielders are usually a good bet to assign to stay back as they don’t need ability to man mark but need to be able to close down quickly when the ball drops.
- Also if your RB is a better man marker and better in the air than your LB, you should swap their jobs.
Hope this helps and the goals you concede from corners should almost all dry up, bear in mind the players have other attributes which affect their ability to carry out the job you have given them for example concentration. If they lose concentration they may not do their job properly which may result in the odd goal conceded due to individual error or something freakish.
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