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Crossing doesn't work...

rab

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Jul 20, 2010
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3,573
Last season with Carroll here we played the most crosses into the box of any club in the league. We also had the worst conversion rate of crosses to goals of any club in the league requiring 421 open play crosses to score a goal. The second worst team was Wigan who soccred a goal every 294 crosses. Compare this to United, Arsenal and Norwich all of whom required less than 50 crosses per goal and you can see that crosses haven't worked well for us for some time even when we had Andy Carroll trying to get on the end of them.

Was it the quality of cross or the quality of those meant to be getting on the end of it that resulted in such poor conversion of the balls into the box, its tricky to say without analysing each cross individually? Is it right to presume that had we had Andy Carroll to throw on yesterday we'd have scored another goal or two, statistics would suggest no. I think the problem in yesterdays game was that having a lead to defend Villa could pack players in and around the box limiting space and attacking options. As we ran out of ideas we fell back into the habits of last year in desperation. Perhaps this temptation to fall back into old habits is one reason Rodgers was so keen to get Carroll out of the picture.
 

callanlfc

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Nov 2, 2012
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Last season with Carroll here we played the most crosses into the box of any club in the league. We also had the worst conversion rate of crosses to goals of any club in the league requiring 421 open play crosses to score a goal. The second worst team was Wigan who soccred a goal every 294 crosses. Compare this to United, Arsenal and Norwich all of whom required less than 50 crosses per goal and you can see that crosses haven't worked well for us for some time even when we had Andy Carroll trying to get on the end of them.

Was it the quality of cross or the quality of those meant to be getting on the end of it that resulted in such poor conversion of the balls into the box, its tricky to say without analysing each cross individually? Is it right to presume that had we had Andy Carroll to throw on yesterday we'd have scored another goal or two, statistics would suggest no. I think the problem in yesterdays game was that having a lead to defend Villa could pack players in and around the box limiting space and attacking options. As we ran out of ideas we fell back into the habits of last year in desperation. Perhaps this temptation to fall back into old habits is one reason Rodgers was so keen to get Carroll out of the picture.
In my opinion it was the quality of the crosses the amount of people in the box or should I say not in the box and the areas that we cross from that is the problem. Our crosses are mindless, pointless crosses they really are. A lot of them are floated in the air and aimed to one or at the most two in the box. It's like we are brain dead in the wide positions for example, you never see us passing it around with little triangles in the wide areas to isolate the full back for one of our midfielders to burst on beyond the full back into the channel for the ball to then be played around the full back into the channel for a midfield runner to run on to. We never see anything like that and those sorts of areas are the most dangerous areas to cross from, in behind the full back in the channel close to or actually in the box, our crosses are high from deep with a full back directly in front of us and to about two men in the box.
 

liveforthereds

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Apr 20, 2008
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What is Crossing the ball and it's role in the game ?

For me it's a tactic that has a number of out come's and is dependent on the exacution. Just crossing the ball for crossing sake get's you know where evedent by are use of the cross in many games this season and last.

For it to work you have to have a quality ball into the box then you need numbers in the box to either get on the end of the cross or put the defenders under pressure so if you don't actualy get on the end of the cross it is knock either into touch by the defender or knocked back out of the box and this is where you also need to have players sitting outside the box to pick up the knock downs thus either allowing the player to have a crack at goal of to keep the pressure on the team defending, but if you don't get players in and around the box then there is no pressure on the team thats defending and it's dealt with quite easly and the pressure is lifted, we are not doing this because we are either not getting the players in the box and around or we are not getting the ball into the box from the cross.
 

rab

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Jul 20, 2010
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In my opinion it was the quality of the crosses the amount of people in the box or should I say not in the box and the areas that we cross from that is the problem. Our crosses are mindless, pointless crosses they really are. A lot of them are floated in the air and aimed to one or at the most two in the box. It's like we are brain dead in the wide positions for example, you never see us passing it around with little triangles in the wide areas to isolate the full back for one of our midfielders to burst on beyond the full back into the channel for the ball to then be played around the full back into the channel for a midfield runner to run on to. We never see anything like that and those sorts of areas are the most dangerous areas to cross from, in behind the full back in the channel close to or actually in the box, our crosses are high from deep with a full back directly in front of us and to about two men in the box.
It is true that the quality of cross and number of targets in the box would have an affect on their success but we obviously adopted a cross heavy policy last year having bought Carroll followed up by Downing and Henderson who were seen, statistically anyway, as good creators of chances from crosses.

I said it last week and i'll say it again this, we don't play at a high enough tempo when going forward and we don't have midfield runners getting beyond the ball enough. We started quite well yesterday and the chance that should have come from Suarez pass to Gerrard was as a result of breaking up play quickly, high up the pitch and then having midfield players breaking beyond the ball. Once we conceeded Villa could comfortably drop back and sit and protect their lead and we just didn't have the space to work those triangles and our slow passing meant we weren't pulling their players out to create those spaces.

With the system we play we're not setting ourselves up to play a lot of crosses as you're only ever likely to have the central and wide forward in the box. With someone like Suarez not being a traditional centre forward type he often roams about meaning we only have one person in the box. Overall our crossing isn't great and even with a big man in the middle we didn't do much better. Yesterdays high number of crosses was a sign of desperation and lack of ideas to overcome a team protecting a lead.
 

mr mustard

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Jun 25, 2007
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772
Last season, there was one moment we brought on Carroll from the bench while removing his supply line (downing). Then he became good towards the end of the season until we decided to flog him right when sterling was about to replace downing.
That happened so many times that there must have been some tactical reasoning behind it (and the other way around too, Downing coming on for Carroll). I never understood it, though, and it seemed like doing both players a disservice.
 

callanlfc

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Nov 2, 2012
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Just to add a bit of context to this discussion. Yesterday we were successful with 9 crosses out of 43 as can be seen here:



Here is all our unsuccessful crosses:



As you can see from these graphs we were not successful with a single cross which came from deep, not one of them and yet we played a high number of them, however this isn't even the most worrying thing as I will explain further now.

We were successful with 6 out of 7 corners, successful corners also count as successful crosses so out of 9 successful crosses altogether, 6 of them were from corners as can be seen here:



A further 2 successful crosses were from free-kicks, free kicks can be seen here:



So we had 9 successful crosses all game, 6 were from corners a further 2 were from free kicks which means only ONE single cross from open play we were successful with. ONE single cross from open play, now I'm sorry but that is ridiculous and the fact we kept pumping the ball into the box makes it even more ridiculous.
 

gingerbread

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Nov 16, 2010
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43 crosses. I don't believe that it is not part of BR's game plan to cross into Aston Villa box. I don't know if any team will ever cross that much if it was not within their game plan.

But why? We clearly have no target man to reach to, and our formation is not suited to benefit from it as we don't enetr the box fast enough (and also by the fact that only ONE successful cross was made from open plays). Did BR even look at the stat at half time?


That's why despite players messed up our finishes as usual, and players just could not turn up, i think BR is also largely responsible to this defeat.
 

REDSkins

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Feb 18, 2011
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I think we just got frustrated with how packed Villa's box was. We were unable to really get in behind or break with any pace after the first few minutes.

That cross that Downing sent in early on was very dangerous but no one got onto it. The ones later in the game, and just about all of them from Johnson were lost causes.

It's not Andy Carroll, specifically, that we are missing.

It's a capable, experienced and instinctual striker. Borini would be a massive help (though we'd probably still have lost that game), as he offers the good positional play and would have made us less predictable.

In fact the type of rubbish we were serving up is the type of thing Clint Dempsey had converted for Fulham many times over the years. Luis Suarez is not an out and out striker, so unlike Man United who can send on 4 senior strikers at the end of games, we can't even send on one.
 

Billy Biskix

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I am sure that BR didn't enjoy seeing so many crosses going in on Saturday because it was evidence that he had lost the tactical battle. Lambert knows how to beat a BR team. He has been very successful against him in the past and you could see why. He packed the centre of the pitch forcing us out wide. We don't want to cross because we don't have a target man but the reason we ended up hitting 43 crosses was there was just no other option. We couldn't play through them. We just didn't know how. Suarez has the ability to do it on his own but on days like Saturday when it's not happening for him, we'll struggle. That's why so much possession was wasted passing across the pitch. No one was taking the gamble of a forward pass because if we lost possession we were so vulnerable on the counter. Lambert knew that too and that's why Villa always had an outlet even when they were defending so deeply in the second half.

It was a great piece of tactical planning from Lambert. We were outwitted on the day. It's as simple as that.