Set-piece analysis: Dundee United offensive corners

O Flower of Scotland. When will we see your like again? The first lines of the Scottish anthem and they are beautiful. I always relate them to Scottish football in relation to the rest of Europe, but I’m well aware of the historical significance of the song. I’m saying this because I think that there’s nothing to compare to Scottish football bar Scottish football. Excellent country to delve into for set-piece analysis.

My eye turned to the Scottish Premiership and while there are a few teams that might seem obvious, I choose Dundee United to analyse. After being promoted at the end of the 2020 season they are doing quite well and staying up in the Scottish Premiership.

In the analysis below I will look deeper into the attacking corners of Dundee United in 2020-2021 and give six examples of corner routines they have executed in the last few games they have played.

Dundee United vs Aberdeen

In the video above we see Dundee United in their game against Aberdeen. The corner is taken from the left side from a left-footed player, meaning the ball will swing out rather than in. This can also be seen in the starting position of the runners, they play a bit deeper.

We see two player outside the penalty area for the cleared balls and/or in case of a counter-attack to guard the rest-defence. The player on the left also poses as an option for the short pass, so he occupies a player of the opposition as well. We see two player at the edge of the six-yard box in the near central and central zone. Three players on the edge of the penalty area act as a unit and are in the central and far central zone.

As soon as the ball is kicked we can see a change in the positioning of the players. We see that one player goes into the six-yard box, while the other play remains just outside the six-yard box. The unit of three makes a run forward, but the formation breaks into a 2-1 formation. The two players move towards the near post and the other player remains deep in the penalty area.

Dundee United vs Aberdeen

In the video above we see another exampe of Dundee United in their game against Aberdeen. The corner is taken from the left side from a left-footed player, meaning the ball will swing out rather than in. This time the positioning of the runners is quite different.

This attacking routine is different because we have two units of two and a split unit of two as well. In the six-yard box we see two players against two man-markers and the keeper. The two players just outside the six-yard box are man-marked as well as they are positioned in the near central. A bit deeper we see one player inside the penalty area and one player just outside the area. The player inside the area is tasked with making runs, while the player outside the area is there for the clearances and/or rest defence.

As soon as the ball is kicked we see the two units of two move into the six-yard box and the player deeper inside the penalty area going to the penalty spot. We see a 4-1 formation closer to goal. Three players of that 4-man unit move towards the front post near zone while the other player stays in the central zone with a movement to the deep back post zone.

Dundee United vs Celtic

In the video above we see Dundee United in their game against Celtic. The corner is taken from the left side from a right-footed player, meaning the ball will swing in rather than out. The ball will go to the six-yard box and the runners want to move into that area as well.

We see two players in the six-yard box pinned against two defenders from Celtic. In the deep back post zone we see another player of Dundee United and just inside the penalty area we see two players of Dundee United as well, who are planning to make a move forward to the area where the ball will be delivered.

As soon as the ball is kicked the two players just inside the penalty area and the player in the deep far post zone, move towards their goal. One player of the two goes to the near post as is the player from the deep far post zone – the other player moves to the far post where he receives the ball and attempts to have a shot on target.

Dundee United vs Kilmarnock

In the video above we see Dundee United in their game against Kilmarnock. The corner is taken from the right side from a right-footed player, meaning the ball will swing out rather than in. The ball will turn away from the six-yard box and the runners want to move into the area that is deeper than when the ball would swing in.

In this situation we see a 3-2 formation in the penalty area from Dundee United. There are three players playing close to the edge of the six-yard box and two players are playing behind that in the area on the penalty spot. There is also one player playing in the six-yard box who occupies a man-marker and poses as a blocker.

As soon as the ball is kicked we see the two players on the penalty spot move forward and sideways. The left player moves into the near far post zone, while the right player moves towards the near post zone. The ball goes over the top and into the far post, but the delivery has not been adequate to make something out of it.

Dundee United vs Livingston

In this fifth and last example, we see Dundee United in their game against Livingston. The corner is taken from the left side from a left-footed player, meaning the ball will swing out rather than in. The ball will turn away from the six-yard box and the runners want to move into the area that is deeper than when the ball would swing in.

We have a player for the short pass option on the left who would swing it when given the ball. There is a player outside the penalty area who is there for the cleared balls and the rest-defence. We have one player in the six-yard box pinned against the keeper and a man-marker, two players just outside the six-yard box, and two players deeper inside the penalty area.

As soon as the ball is kicked we see certain movements going forward. We see three of the four players in the penalty area move to the near post as soon as the ball is kicked. At the same time we see the other player who is in the box make a different run, as he moved to the far post anticipating the ball coming there. In this case he doesn’t make that run, but there is space for him to go into.

Final thoughts
Dundee United is an incredibly interesting team to look for corners as they have a few standard routines, but they switch it up with deep runners and positioning in the six-yard box. The breaking of units in the set-pieces formation makes it possible to confuse the opposition and gain advantage when attacking the ball from a corner.

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1 Reactie

  1. Guy Branston
    april 30, 2021 / 10:13 am

    Excellent work. Really impressive details

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