Urban Warriors – Part 5

Off We Go!!
So after all the discussions and planning stages, it’s time to put it all into action. The main goals were to get promotion out of the 2nd tier at the first attempt whilst stabilising the club financially. Squad wise we were very heavy which meant we were haemorrhaging money, so the first thing to do was pass the reins to Guido to be ruthless and sort the squad out.

The Accidental Set Piece Routine

Some scientific discoveries come about after painstaking, goal-oriented lab work finally yields the result that a researcher is trying to find. But many of the most incredible discoveries in the world came about when someone found something they were not looking for. In some cases, these are the result of a true accident. Lucky accidents have allowed people to discover unexpected but useful side effects. That is certainly the case for my new corner routine.

Terrier Spirit; Part Six – Pedigree Ambitions

Following on from Guido’s piece on the transfer structure and signings he made during the close season, the pressure was on me to now utilise the squad he has provided me with and deliver some results. But what would success look like regarding this second season both in the eyes of the board and the supporters, and how would I manage my squad to deliver the goals set? Which competition(s) would / should we prioritise and why?

Short Corners; My Plan B

Short corners have to combat a negative reputation in world football. Just as a back-pass is seen as an inherently negative manoeuvre, corners which are not crossed directly into the penalty area are often met with disdain by supporters worldwide. Sadly, this opinion is shared by too many managers in the virtual universe as well; by opting against putting the ball into the danger zone you instantly forego a greater opportunity to score seems too much of a common place.

In my eyes, when a team takes a short corner it may be a wise decision in terms of goalscoring opportunities. Taking a short corner by no means gives up an opportunity, but instead creates a new and different one. Especially when your team lacks an aerial presence, a short corner offers up new avenues to scoring a goal.

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Defending Corners (And Other Set Pieces)

We are all afraid of it, and I am fairly certain we have experienced it as well. The dying seconds of the game have started, your team is up by one goal, and the opposition is about to take a corner kick. Deep inside you are dreading this final play of the game; your gut feeling is a very negative one. ‘This is going in’. So how do you defend against these situations, especially since the AI seems awfully good at scoring from set pieces in this latest instalment of the Football Manager series.

Unfortunately, corners (and indirect free kicks) are an abundant source of conceded goals, with the default defensive routines coming up grossly inadequate to counter the AI’s routines. To balance the scales somewhat, I have decided to take a more in-depth look into corners. Last week, I posted my offensive corner setup. In this article, I will be focusing on the different defensive systems and concepts – man-marking/zonal-marking etc.

Defending corner kicks is a more fluid and irregular process, as it mostly depends on the manager’s personal style and preferences, and the level of football. For example, it is pretty tough to implement a zonal-marking system at a lower level, because this system needs to be practised every single week and demands quite a bit of spatial awareness from the players.

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Do You Even Delap?!

When we think about scoring goals, the first thought that comes to mind is hitting the ball top corner or maybe a simple tap-in from a cross, but we very rarely give thought to the throw-in. Unless you’re a Stoke fan, then you might have seen your fair share of goalscoring opportunities from the long throws over the years.

The throw-in has been part of the game since the nineteenth century when English public school boys would run amok with grassy knees. A wide variety of methods were tried and tested to return the ball to the playing field, including kick-ins and one-handed throws but eventually, the two-handed throw was accepted (having been stolen from rugby). All in all, the throw-in was not deemed to be that important or influential.

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