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Crosses and defending them....


spudski
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....thought this was worth a thread of its own.

It's been notable how easy it is for teams to get balls into the box from out wide, and how poor we are are defending those crosses.

I've noticed our defending is passive. We have players in position, but they often don't have any influence on either the initial cross into the box, or defending it.

It's simply symbolic of being in position. Rather than proactive in actually physically making an aggressive attempt to stop, defend or clear.

How many times do we see from wide our defenders give too much space, shadow, and just stick a leg out hopefully...

How many times do we see the ball come in, and we become like rabbits in headlights...no reading of the cross or flight of ball, no proactive movement to influence the outcome, just late reactionary movements.

How many times do we see our defenders out bullied...how many times do we see the opposition get across our defender so easily, physically and mentally stronger,often leaving the sat on their arses with arms raised complaining...yes Jay...looking at you here big time.

Throwing your body and putting yourself on the line is a last ditch attempt...due to being out of position or out thought.

We defend much better down the middle, but this has weakened wider threats.

For this reason I wouldn't be adverse to playing Kalas, Baker and Atkinson as a back three, and Vyner and DaSilva wider. 541 when defending, 3412 when offensive or parts there of.

It's our glaring weakness so far this season.

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I agree, but think also a glaring weakness last season, watching us we appeared/appear happy for crosses to come in. The wide players of the 3 have to have the work rate to support their fullback and the fullbacks (Dasilva decent yesterday in fairness) have to get tighter both before the ball arrives with their player and after it arrives. Central defenders/midfielders can also do better, but out wide we appear to have had a plan for at least a year and execute it quite effectively… it’s just a very bad plan. 

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We've been standing off for a long time now. I think the plan was to try and get the opposition to play low percentage balls into the box because we're simply not strong enough to out muscle them.

The problem then comes that we have Palmer, COD or anyone for that matter giving the ball away so easily up top that all those low percentages add up or the few times they are able to get to a high percentage positions we're not strong enough to do anything about it. 

We have big thematic problems that aren't going to be fixed with 50% of this group of players. The same as last season - Bentley & Kalas are the only players that would make the squad of a top 6 side. 

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9 minutes ago, spudski said:

it's our glaring weakness so far this season.

And last, yet Nigel has yet to improve matters. It's such a key and basic thing I would have expected it to have been addressed by now.

It's going to take a long time to sort out our attack so we have to become harder to score against, and soon

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Also feel Bentley protects/covers a much smaller area of the box than some keepers. Don’t think either of yesterday’s his fault, but both scored from close in and even on back passes, seems he’s often starting from his 6 yard box when play is a distance away. Not sure if he’s been traumatised by a long distance lob in the past, but makes it even more important to stop crosses.

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11 minutes ago, spudski said:

....thought this was worth a thread of its own.

It's been notable how easy it is for teams to get balls into the box from out wide, and how poor we are are defending those crosses.

I've noticed our defending is passive. We have players in position, but they often don't have any influence on either the initial cross into the box, or defending it.

It's simply symbolic of being in position. Rather than proactive in actually physically making an aggressive attempt to stop, defend or clear.

How many times do we see from wide our defenders give too much space, shadow, and just stick a leg out hopefully...

How many times do we see the ball come in, and we become like rabbits in headlights...no reading of the cross or flight of ball, no proactive movement to influence the outcome, just late reactionary movements.

How many times do we see our defenders out bullied...how many times do we see the opposition get across our defender so easily, physically and mentally stronger,often leaving the sat on their arses with arms raised complaining...yes Jay...looking at you here big time.

Throwing your body and putting yourself on the line is a last ditch attempt...due to being out of position or out thought.

We defend much better down the middle, but this has weakened wider threats.

For this reason I wouldn't be adverse to playing Kalas, Baker and Atkinson as a back three, and Vyner and DaSilva wider. 541 when defending, 3412 when offensive or parts there of.

It's our glaring weakness so far this season.

OMG please be not another wanna be head coach with your suggestions on which players need to play and in which positions.

Please this these options to the  Gov NP. 

If we are still doing sh*&te by end of September then I think we would all agree.

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3 minutes ago, chinapig said:

And last, yet Nigel has yet to improve matters. It's such a key and basic thing I would have expected it to have been addressed by now.

It's going to take a long time to sort out our attack so we have to become harder to score against, and soon

It was also a problem last season as you say and others...but I would say even more so now. So easy as an opposition manager to see it and make a plan around it.

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6 minutes ago, City oz said:

OMG please be not another wanna be head coach with your suggestions on which players need to play and in which positions.

Please this these options to the  Gov NP. 

If we are still doing sh*&te by end of September then I think we would all agree.

Regardless of personnel, for a long time we have failed to prevent crosses and failed to compete for them when they come in.

I would have thought it reasonable to expect Nigel to have improved that by now. Especially as the centre backs are of his choosing.

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1 minute ago, chinapig said:

Regardless of personnel, for a long time we have failed to prevent crosses and failed to compete for them when they come in.

I would have thought it reasonable to expect Nigel to have improved that by now. Especially as the centre backs are of his choosing.

I understand the frustrations of the not so good expected start to the season but please send your resume if they ask it 

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3 minutes ago, City oz said:

I understand the frustrations of the not so good expected start to the season but please send your resume if they ask it 

Is that your response to any and every opinion? It would seem pointless having a forum if every opinion has to be accompanied by a CV.

Do you dispute our long standing weakness in defending crosses and that that weakness has yet to be addressed? If so, on the basis of what evidence?

Nigel is a very experienced and respected manager but there is no sign yet that he has fixed the problem. A legitimate cause for concern and comment I would have thought.

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1 minute ago, chinapig said:

Is that your response to any and every opinion? It would seem pointless having a forum if every opinion has to be accompanied by a CV.

Do you dispute our long standing weakness in defending crosses and that that weakness has yet to be addressed? If so, on the basis of what evidence?

Nigel is a very experienced and respected manager but there is no sign yet that he has fixed the problem. A legitimate cause for concern and comment I would have thought.

Agreed just that most on here all ready seem to be worried about NP. We are not football head coaches we are Bristol City supporters and we all have the same objectives and dreams. 

We all have concerns and suggestions on which players should play in what positions and agreed this is the great forum where we can say what we like.

At the end of the day none of us on here unless you are Alan Dicks that has the experience that managed out great club for 13 years that took our club in to the first division 

We all want Prem football at BS3 and NP would be aware of the issues at the club but most importantly even if he has an open check book who do you suggest he buys or loan to fix the problem you have highlighted.

Please offer up what other championship clubs have done and what players they have loaned or purchased in the positions you think BCRC are lacking on 

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45 minutes ago, RalphMilnesLeftFoot said:

I do wonder if this passivity is a stats thing. As in we can show that players were in area x when the ball was played. 

Alas though, whilst there, it doesn't mean they are an active particpant. 

We then have a situation whereby though we're meeting statistical and formation metrics, the reality is that we're not doing anything in those positions because the emphasis is on pure stats rather than a mix of stats and actions 

That's exactly it. Players can be in position, but they are passive in their management....and none effective.

No one can accuse them of being out of position so to speak...but if they do little to influence the game when that position...what's the point?

Arsenal are the same...often 'zonal' in defence, but do little to influence the space they've been instructed to defend.

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58 minutes ago, City oz said:

OMG please be not another wanna be head coach with your suggestions on which players need to play and in which positions.

Please this these options to the  Gov NP. 

If we are still doing sh*&te by end of September then I think we would all agree.

We've been doing Shite at this before and during all of NPs tenure. Why wait until September to talk about it?

Even though there is more organisation, there is still definitely a lack of aggression and proactivity. It's all very passive and non aggressive in a reactionary way. 

We still look soft...but organised better.

The suggestion of formation change would be a way of helping.

Nothing wrong with debate.

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4 minutes ago, spudski said:

That's exactly it. Players can be in position, but they are passive in their management....and none effective.

No one can accuse them of being out of position so to speak...but if they do little to influence the game when that position...what's the point?

Arsenal are the same...often 'zonal' in defence, but do little to influence the space they've been instructed to defend.

Well, yes and no. The stats won't just show where players are but what they do. Nigel will have all the information he wants so the question is why is our defending of crosses not improving?

It may not be just tactical of course, it may be that players are stuck in in a losing mindset so they just freeze. It ends up as a vicious circle that is hard to get out of.

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Perhaps Gregor could ask something like "Nigel, you've been here long enough now to have addressed a number of issues, including a lack of goals, poor defending etc. Do you think that perhaps you're not up to the task and that it would be better for all concerned if you conceded this before it's too late?". 

 

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Our full backs have stood off their man for the past couple of seasons. It really grips my shit.

They invite the player to cross or push it past them at will. Usually with no attempt to block or tackle the man as they are never close enough to the man. 

Something you teach kids at a young age. So not sure the reasoning behind the tactic. Perhaps they prefer to play narrow but it doesn't work and never had done 

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Having just caught up with our “highlights” on the EFL show on quest, very disappointed with both goals we conceded. Both full backs not covering themselves in glory, though you have to expect more from Vyner particularly.

Having watched Derby’s shitshow also, looks like they too have full back problems of their own. It could be between us and them for who is in greater need of a solid right back.

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A stats view after 2 games:

(City are the top row in each game)

B804ADB8-9592-4308-A7EC-BC03AC7714FB.thumb.jpeg.0840e9a77e4be7ffdaefcb2b93dfeb9e.jpeg

So volume wise we aren’t letting in too many, it’s how we are dealing with them.

Spread bet on corners being low might be a good idea….ridiculously low both for us an opponent in both games.

1 hour ago, The Swan and Cemetery said:

I agree, but think also a glaring weakness last season, watching us we appeared/appear happy for crosses to come in. The wide players of the 3 have to have the work rate to support their fullback and the fullbacks (Dasilva decent yesterday in fairness) have to get tighter both before the ball arrives with their player and after it arrives. Central defenders/midfielders can also do better, but out wide we appear to have had a plan for at least a year and execute it quite effectively… it’s just a very bad plan. 

so agree.  Vyner was given little support from Weimann yesterday (thought possibly one of his worst games in a City shirt), Palmer didn’t really help out Dasilva, but Jay had a decent game.  I didn’t think we condensed the pitch sideways yesterday very well, hence too often they had easy ball in the side areas, and an option to go 1v1.  Last week v Blackpool we were much better.  I don’t think Palmer and Weimann played as wide midfielders yesterday and that caused us issues.  Palmer made a couple of really good tackles, one in particular in the centre of the pitch, but that’s not enough, it’s his support of Dasilva that lacked yesterday.

Undoubtedly there are gonna be rotation changes on Tuesday, but I think a couple played themselves out of selection yesterday.

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2 hours ago, spudski said:

....thought this was worth a thread of its own.

It's been notable how easy it is for teams to get balls into the box from out wide, and how poor we are are defending those crosses.

I've noticed our defending is passive. We have players in position, but they often don't have any influence on either the initial cross into the box, or defending it.

It's simply symbolic of being in position. Rather than proactive in actually physically making an aggressive attempt to stop, defend or clear.

How many times do we see from wide our defenders give too much space, shadow, and just stick a leg out hopefully...

How many times do we see the ball come in, and we become like rabbits in headlights...no reading of the cross or flight of ball, no proactive movement to influence the outcome, just late reactionary movements.

How many times do we see our defenders out bullied...how many times do we see the opposition get across our defender so easily, physically and mentally stronger,often leaving the sat on their arses with arms raised complaining...yes Jay...looking at you here big time.

Throwing your body and putting yourself on the line is a last ditch attempt...due to being out of position or out thought.

We defend much better down the middle, but this has weakened wider threats.

For this reason I wouldn't be adverse to playing Kalas, Baker and Atkinson as a back three, and Vyner and DaSilva wider. 541 when defending, 3412 when offensive or parts there of.

It's our glaring weakness so far this season.

Why pass this on to Gregor to approach NP with? Or even write to NP directly? You never know, you might get a response.

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3 minutes ago, Red_Alligator said:

Why pass this on to Gregor to approach NP with? Or even write to NP directly? You never know, you might get a response.

No Coach will respond to a fan having a debate about such topics.

They wouldn't listen to ex players as TV pundits...all with differing views...so no chance with us or GM.

Tbh...NP will know and see it himself.

He'll have his reasons for playing a certain way and some can be stubborn with their beliefs even when it's glaringly obvious.

Finding a balance and solution without negatively affecting other parts of the team is the problem.

We've improved the middle of the park, but come weaker wider, and still have little connectivity between midfield and the last third.

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The full backs seem to get drawn into the middle a lot, often appearing to pick up a man that would naturally be a central defenders domain, sometimes causing confusion over who is picking up who. With the very narrow starting positions of the full backs, wingers always seem to have all the time in the world, to get the ball under control and decide where to play it, rather than having a full back trying to prevent them receiving the ball in the first place. I don't pretend to be an expert on tactics and positioning, so maybe that's deliberate

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32 minutes ago, sh1t_ref_again said:

The full backs seem to get drawn into the middle a lot, often appearing to pick up a man that would naturally be a central defenders domain, sometimes causing confusion over who is picking up who. With the very narrow starting positions of the full backs, wingers always seem to have all the time in the world, to get the ball under control and decide where to play it, rather than having a full back trying to prevent them receiving the ball in the first place. I don't pretend to be an expert on tactics and positioning, so maybe that's deliberate

It is deliberate, to close the gap between CBs. But like you say, it allows the wide offensive player to control the ball with ease and have all the time in the world to make decisions.

It's way to passive.

Can you remember when Joe Bryan used to close down the space quickly and force errors when they were under pressure? We simply don't do that now.

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40 minutes ago, sh1t_ref_again said:

The full backs seem to get drawn into the middle a lot, often appearing to pick up a man that would naturally be a central defenders domain, sometimes causing confusion over who is picking up who. With the very narrow starting positions of the full backs, wingers always seem to have all the time in the world, to get the ball under control and decide where to play it, rather than having a full back trying to prevent them receiving the ball in the first place. I don't pretend to be an expert on tactics and positioning, so maybe that's deliberate

Hoping at some point to do another “the little things” breakdown of their goal….but want to try doing a video rather than screenshots….but busy this afternoon….and might be beyond my skills too!

5 minutes ago, spudski said:

It is deliberate, to close the gap between CBs. But like you say, it allows the wide offensive player to control the ball with ease and have all the time in the world to make decisions.

It's way to passive.

Can you remember when Joe Bryan used to close down the space quickly and force errors when they were under pressure? We simply don't do that now.

It doesn’t have to be though….if you shift quickly side to side, support your FBs and press the passer, you can avoid that.  Someone like Massengo shifts sideways quickly to close, but others don’t.

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3 hours ago, spudski said:

....thought this was worth a thread of its own.

It's been notable how easy it is for teams to get balls into the box from out wide, and how poor we are are defending those crosses.

I've noticed our defending is passive. We have players in position, but they often don't have any influence on either the initial cross into the box, or defending it.

It's simply symbolic of being in position. Rather than proactive in actually physically making an aggressive attempt to stop, defend or clear.

How many times do we see from wide our defenders give too much space, shadow, and just stick a leg out hopefully...

How many times do we see the ball come in, and we become like rabbits in headlights...no reading of the cross or flight of ball, no proactive movement to influence the outcome, just late reactionary movements.

How many times do we see our defenders out bullied...how many times do we see the opposition get across our defender so easily, physically and mentally stronger,often leaving the sat on their arses with arms raised complaining...yes Jay...looking at you here big time.

Throwing your body and putting yourself on the line is a last ditch attempt...due to being out of position or out thought.

We defend much better down the middle, but this has weakened wider threats.

For this reason I wouldn't be adverse to playing Kalas, Baker and Atkinson as a back three, and Vyner and DaSilva wider. 541 when defending, 3412 when offensive or parts there of.

It's our glaring weakness so far this season.

Correct, we are not aggressively defending. But then we aren't aggressively attacking either.

Boro's second goal came from a cross which two players (don't know who) did not attempt to jump with two attackers. They head it back across goal and a simple knock in.

I don't wish to derail your thread or be critical of individuals but our goalkeeper, while being a superb shot stopper, mostly he stays rooted to the goal line. This allows defenders to drop too deep. 

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9 minutes ago, cidered abroad said:

Correct, we are not aggressively defending. But then we aren't aggressively attacking either

Yet Nigel said before the season that we were going to be an aggressive team. Holden said exactly the same last year.

It's a puzzle when managers say they are going to play in a particular way and the opposite actually happens. Assuming they weren't simply saying what they thought the fans wanted to hear, why say anything unless you are sure you can deliver on your promise?

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2 hours ago, Davefevs said:

Hoping at some point to do another “the little things” breakdown of their goal….but want to try doing a video rather than screenshots….but busy this afternoon….and might be beyond my skills too!

It doesn’t have to be though….if you shift quickly side to side, support your FBs and press the passer, you can avoid that.  Someone like Massengo shifts sideways quickly to close, but others don’t.

I've noticed now that the full back drifts wide, slowly, while the likes of Massengo drops into the space left by the full back. 

He tries to block the pass inside to oncoming, whilst letting the fullback deal with the cross.

More often than not the fullback is easily beaten.

It is very very passive and symbolic.

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27 minutes ago, spudski said:

I've noticed now that the full back drifts wide, slowly, while the likes of Massengo drops into the space left by the full back. 

He tries to block the pass inside to oncoming, whilst letting the fullback deal with the cross.

More often than not the fullback is easily beaten.

It is very very passive and symbolic.

In this case, Vyner was approx 10/15 metres away from the winger as he received the ball. That is almost certainly following NP instructions that are designed to reduce attacks being able to go direct toward goal.

IMO, where Vyner got caught was inside our box, he got too close to winger who dummied back toward half way and immediately turned again toward goal to make the cross.

Vyner turned his body to be looking toward half way line. Thus not looking at winger. He has not developed the side to side movement needed to be able to deal with them one to one which rarely happens in central defence where one is tight up behind a forward or marking space. He will learn if he wants to stay at this level.

@spudski

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18 minutes ago, cidered abroad said:

In this case, Vyner was approx 10/15 metres away from the winger as he received the ball. That is almost certainly following NP instructions that are designed to reduce attacks being able to go direct toward goal.

IMO, where Vyner got caught was inside our box, he got too close to winger who dummied back toward half way and immediately turned again toward goal to make the cross.

Vyner turned his body to be looking toward half way line. Thus not looking at winger. He has not developed the side to side movement needed to be able to deal with them one to one which rarely happens in central defence where one is tight up behind a forward or marking space. He will learn if he wants to stay at this level.

@spudski

I've watched it numerous times...it was almost in slow motion. Awful defending. The offensive player wasn't actually fast at making his move. He actually telegraphed what he was going to do. It was very very poor. The lad who nutmegged Simpson at FGR was more on it so to speak. 

I felt like I was watching a game slowed down yesterday. It was so slow.

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7 hours ago, spudski said:

....thought this was worth a thread of its own.

It's been notable how easy it is for teams to get balls into the box from out wide, and how poor we are are defending those crosses.

I've noticed our defending is passive. We have players in position, but they often don't have any influence on either the initial cross into the box, or defending it.

 

Watching the goals back on TV, for Boro's first we had Bentley and at least six defenders in the box, but the ball still found it's way across goal to the waiting striker.

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