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paulw66   
21 minutes ago, NoblyBobly said:

There are not many teams who can break us down through open play (would you not agree?).

Agreed 100%

That doesn't mean that because we so strong from open play, that makes us bad from set pieces

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26 minutes ago, NoblyBobly said:

I think 5 goals conceded from set pieces for a team in our position with our defensive record is not that great at all. It's hard to find too many weaknesses in our team this season but this I feel this is an area that is avoidable a lot of the time. Any team in the prem has a player capable of riffling one in from 25 yards. There are not many teams who can break us down through open play (would you not agree?).

Short of trying harder to win the ball and having 75% possession, I don't know how we can avoid occasional  set pieces against us.  And we don't try to press too much because we like the counterattacks instead.  

For me the only issue was the timing of their goal - and that was fate rather than any error by us.  For every random goal we have conceded, we have had several clean sheets, so I'll stick to the random unavoidable event theory.

What I liked in the Swansea game was that we set out to score from minute 1 and tried to score for the whole game.  I think that is necessary precisely because you never know when the random goal against will happen.  The best defence against the random is to score 3 (and we haven't always tried to do that this season).

Edited by Droy was my hero

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Sciatika   

Annoying because I thought it was a loss of concentration.

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Carroll's threat when the ball comes in from set-pieces and crosses is an obvious threat, having said that our 6ft 6inch+ keeper is the best answer we have to counter him when the ball comes into our box and directed at him.

He has to get himself off his line and compete, yet to see a penalty given in the PL for a goal-keeper attempting to challenge aerially. He did it in his first season at places like Stoke, but now stays at home. The defenders can only do so much against an opponent who is aerially superior to all of them.

The goal on Saturday came from a header by a player on the R/H/S of our defence, just like the two S***s goals. The vulnerability of that won't be lost on these opponents. Hopefully Carroll will breakdown in training or slip up at home and miss the game.

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34 minutes ago, East Lower said:

The goal on Saturday came from a header by a player on the R/H/S of our defence, just like the two S***s goals. The vulnerability of that won't be lost on these opponents. Hopefully Carroll will breakdown in training or slip up at home and miss the game.

If I recall it wasn't Azpi or Moses detailed to mark Llorente for the Swansea goal, and it wasn't his height that made the difference.  Great run and great ball in - not much you can do about that except wrestle them down.
The Spurs goals were much the same - all due to a good run a player getting away from his marker (it happens) and a player with time to look up and score.  No one was out-jumped.

It is the delivery that is crucial, not height in these cases.  

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6 minutes ago, Droy was my hero said:

If I recall it wasn't Azpi or Moses detailed to mark Llorente for the Swansea goal, and it wasn't his height that made the difference.  Great run and great ball in - not much you can do about that except wrestle them down.
The Spurs goals were much the same - all due to a good run a player getting away from his marker (it happens) and a player with time to look up and score.  No one was out-jumped.

It is the delivery that is crucial, not height in these cases.  

From where I sat, it looks like the defenders looked at Costa!

I said in the post-match thread that you have your aerially best defender on their biggest aerial threat. I thought that the defenders lacked responsibility to my mind, looking to pass on ownership of the problem. Needed a real leader to remind all of that, it's where we miss JT, Cahill isn't quite cut from the same cloth for me.

Aspi was targeted by Swansea/Llorente from kicks by the keeper (be they out of his hands or from the ground) and did OK. We struggled with Llorente in the game at Swansea and did so again.

The delivery was 50% of the matter, GS overhit a similar ball in the 2nd half which went harmlessly out. A decent challenge may have prevented the attacker getting the ability to direct the header with the force he was able to.

The goals from S***s both came from allowing the crosser too much time with our three focusing on Walker, as he'd clearly got Alonso beaten all ends up during the first half and leaving Eriksson with yards of space , the first Alli got himself between the two defenders and the second one he was able to run onto the ball with the defender trying to back-peddle and jump, generally only one winner there.

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Agree with almost all that.  The trouble with defining "your best aerial defender" is that it is not simple.  Seems to me there are several factors.  One is just man-marking the target in the first place (Azpi would be best at that).  Another is just vision - seeing the cross and getting to the right place very early (Drogba/Costa have had special roles I think because they do that really well).  And a third is just the blocking/shielding skills that are required in a crowded box.  Jumping/heading is just one of 4 skills.

In the Swansea game, the issue was man-marking - Llorente was completely free.  My guess is that Azpi would have been the most effective person to mark him.  

Incidentally we had 7 or 8 years of Ashley Cole being targeted by big strikers who pulled off onto him.  I don't really think it is such an effective tactic.  Rather just one of many small issues in the game.

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5 hours ago, paulw66 said:

Agreed 100%

That doesn't mean that because we so strong from open play, that makes us bad from set pieces

No it doesn't, but it makes it the most likely way for a team to score against us. If the oppo are dicking with the ball around the D don't attempt anything that the ref might fancy giving because they stand far more chance with a free kick than if we let them have the play. 

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chelboy   
21 hours ago, zaffo said:

You do realise that Ake is only like 2cm taller right? He's still only like 5'11" himself compared to Azpi at 5'10". Won't make a remote ounce of difference in any sort of aerial battle.

He might be 2cm taller but he is much better in the air. He has a very good jump on him as well as very good marking. Zouma has the height and strength but marking is a bit of a worry. 

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