Attacking corner: for use against man to man defending

What’s important to remember (and it was really the subtext in the last post on defending corners) is that the success of your coaching is not defined by the drills or set pieces you put together but rather knowing why you need to do them and matching up the players with the roles required, particularly for set pieces.

You also need to have a good sense for when to apply this knowledge. For example, the corner below works well if (a) the team is marking exclusively man to man on corners and (b) you have a player who’s very good in the air on corners that is worth trying to get free. It involves a lot of movement and some picks. Have a look:

Here’s each players role:

#1. Stands in front of the keeper and impedes his/her run to the ball to give the targets a better chance of getting there first. Impeding is best done with arms done and back to the goalie. Looks better if the impeder’s feet are moving too so there’s some doubt as to who is getting in who’s way.

#2. This is the person you are really trying to work at getting free and the person that has the most work to do. When the person taking the corner kick raises and drops his/her hand, that’s the signal for #2 to start his/her run. The corner taker does a two count in their head and then looks to drive the ball mid-goal 6-8 yards out. Meanwhile, #2 takes one step towards the near post, checks back and around the back of #3 (who is going to the near post) and #4 who cuts towards the kicker before heading halfway between the near post and mid-goal. #2 now has two people who are getting in the way of his/her check to enable them to get open enough in the mid-goal area.

#3. As per above, #3 is looking to make a hard run to the near post and hopefully interfere with the efforts of #2’s check. This player should be fearless as there’s a good chance they will be the one required to make a brave challenge at the near post to jam the ball in.

#4. Needs to play off of #2’s run and bring his/her check back towards #2 and #3. By almost backing them into what should be a cluster of players they enhance the chances of #2 getting open and of losing their own mark. They head to the front half of the goal, two steps off the shoulder of #3 and a step behind.

#5. Starts near post, out by the top of the box and arcs around #2, #3 and #4 to seal the back post.

#6. Starts mid goal and goes outside the far post for scraps and flicks.

#7. Starts at the far post outside the box and rotates in to the middle as the others vacate that space so they are there for knockdowns at the top of the box.

Not the easiest set piece in the world but the diagram and my description are probably making it seem more complicated than it actually is. If you spend 15 minutes doing walk throughs, then half speed runs then full speed under game conditions (ie. with opposition) it should start working pretty quickly (assuming you can get good service to the target area). It’s really just a double crossing pattern with two players surging towards the near post and two players pulling away and going around/through them to the middle or far end of the goal. The crossing causes defenders to lose their mark and not be able to jump with them as the ball comes in.

Again, it’s designed for when you’re playing a team that marks man to man. Fewer teams do now because set pieces like this that create picks to lose defenders are really effective. I did just watch a Metro game on the weekend though where this would have worked very well. Aside from one player marking the near post (almost right on the post) everyone else marked man to man. Worth having in your bag of tricks for those situations.

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