Set-piece analysis: Monza offensive corners

Analysing set-pieces is what I’ve been doing the most over the past week or two, and it’s very interesting to see different levels and different deliveries in set-piece. Previously I’ve analysed Hansa Rostock, Dundalk FC and Grulla Morioka – but this time my focus went to a league that has been overshadowed by it’s bigger brother, I’m talking about the Serie B.

Why Italy? Many people have the perception that Italian football is all about defending. While the Italian still defend very interesting, the attacking movements by teams in Italy are worth watching. Yes, I know your question: why not Serie A? – I think that the top 5 leagues in Europe already have so much coverage that I want to refrain from writing on them, especially on set-pieces. Some teams will feature in the Serie A in the next seasons to come and it’s a nice way of introducing these teams to a broader audience.

The Serie B is full of interesting sides. Teams with great history, teams who have been up and down the Italian professional game and teams with modern ideas. I’ve chosen AC Monza for this case study as their are in the promotion battle to go to the Serie A, but also are on top when looking at set-pieces.

In this analysis, I will focus on the goals scored from attacking corners, because I want to illustrate what routines have been successful too. In the analysis below I’ve looked at six different goals scored from a corner in the Italian Serie B.

Monza vs Pescara

In the video above you see Monza in the game against Pescara. As you can see the corner is taken form the left side and is taken by a right-footed player which means that the ball will swing in rather than swing out, which would have been the case with a left-footed taker.

On the left we see one player standing for the shorter pass option. He could receive the ball and cross it himself, or give it back to the original corner taker. We also see one player in the penalty to the right-hand side, who is anticipating a ball deeper into the penalty area. In the middle we have five players who are guarded by five defending players who are looking to make runs into the six-yard box. Pescara has two obvious zonal markers: on the near post and one closer to the edge of the penalty area.

As soon as the corner is taken we see a few movements in the penalty area. Kevin-Prince Boateng makes a movement behind the defensive line and moves towards the far post. At the same time, Davide Frattesi makes a similar run behind the defensive line, but he moves to the front post. This has the result that there is one player relatively free on the near post and one on the far post. In the end, it’s Frattesi scoring a goal at the near post.

Monza vs Virus Entella

In the video above you see Monza in the game against Virus Entella. This time the corners is taken from the right by right-footed player, which means that the ball swing out – away from goal. For that reason the Monza players begin closer to the edge of the penalty area and make a run to attack it.

In this case there is no option for a short pass, but the eight players concerned with this offensive corner routine are divided in two different roles. The two players just outside the penalty area are concerned with the cleared balls from the six-yard and looking to break the counter-attack. In this case the rest-defence is with a bit more risk, as the two players play high up the pitch. The six players in the penalty area move as two units of three towards the six-yard box and they need to make runs to set themselves in a good position. This is because Virus Entella plays complete zonal marking with corners.

The idea is that the corner taker will deliver the ball in the six-yard box and a bit closer to the near post, in the hope that one or two players are too quick and escape the zonal markers to convert the corner into a goal. This can also be seen in this routine. The run by Scaglia goes to exactly that area where the ball is delivered and heads the ball into the goal.

Monza vs Pordenone

In the video above we see the third attacking corner routine of Monza, this time in the game against Pordenone. The corners is again taken from the right with no short passing option, meaning that the ball will go deeper and swing out.

We see two players standing outside of the penalty area, but they play deeper – which means that they are tasked with a more defensive duty. They need to get the cleared balls back into the box or are tasked with breaking counter-attacks as the first line of rest-defence. One player stands just outside the penalty box and is making a run into the box. There are two units of two players: one just inside the penalty area and one just outside the six-yard box. These units will make runs straight forward. On the left we have one player drawing defender to him, forcing a defender to make choices andd one player on the right who is unmarked and will make a run to the near post.

Kevin-Prince Boateng who stands wide on the left-side, turns more inverted and joins the far post. At the same time we see that the wide player on the right, Davide Frattesi moves toward the near post in order to attack the corner. The corner is again delivered in the area of the near post against the zonal marking employed by Pordenone. The endresult is the same: a goal from Monza at the near post.

Monza vs Frosinone

In the video above we see footage of a corner routine in the game against Frosinone. The corner is taken from the right from a right-footed player, meaning the ball will swing towards goal. A consequence of that is that players’ starting position for their runs is closer to the six-yard box.

There is one player on the left for a shorter pass option. He stand further away than in the previous examples, but the idea is that when he receives the ball, he will swing it in too but with a tighter angle. There are two players outside the penalty area anticipating cleared balls or to break any counter-attacks. On the edge of the penalty area there is one player sitauted, while in the penalty area there are 5 players who are man-marked but will run into the zonal marked six-yard box.

In the middle, there is a unit of two who make runs to the zonal marked six-yard box, but in doing so they break their united with each of the players going a separate direction: near post and the far post. The three other players also go near the near post, which means there opens space at the far post. The ball is headed towards the far post, which makes it easy to tap in at the far post, as illustrated in the video above.

Monza vs Brescia

In the video above we see the game against Brescia with the corner taken from the right side by a right-footed player. This means that the corner will swing out and the runners come from the edge of the penalty area rather than closer to the six-yard box.

This routine is not too different from the ones already looked at, but in this case, we see a player stand wide separate from the unit. That’s the player one should focus on as he will get into the near post and try to head the ball in the goal from the delivery. The two players in front going in to anticipate, but to also block defenders into going to one the post – also creating space at the far post for the four players on the edge of the penalty area.

The wide player on the edge of the box make a run to the near post where three defenders are marking zonally. Because of the threat of the other players it’s difficult for those three defenders to control all the runs, which Frattesi takes advantage of and heads the ball into goal from the near post.

Monza vs Virus Entella

In this last attacking corner routine we look at the reverse game against Virtus Entella of Monza. The ball is kicked from the right with a right-footed player, meaning the ball will swing out and that can be seen in the positioning of the players in and around the box: they sit deeper.

There is an option for the short pass on the right and we also see one player sitting deep outside the penalty area. This player is tasked with the cleared balls and as the first line of defence in the case there is a counter-attack from Entella. There are two units of three used in and around the penalty area. Three sit on the edge of the penalty area and three sit on the penalty spot.

As soon as the ball is kicked we see that most players in the penalty area move towards the near post, but the ball is going to the penalty spot. At the same time we see Kevin-Prince Boateng breaking from the unit he was in and moving to the far post. As a result the ball is headed towards the far post from the penalty spot and the Monza attacker can head the ball in the goal.

Final thoughts
It was very interesting to analyse the successful set-pieces by Monza in the Serie B. What was particularly interesting was the way the defences of the opponents failed to deal with the units breaking up and making runs into separate directions, which proved to be a good way to score goals from offensive corners.

Video: Wyscout
Telestration: Metrica Play

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