According to the UEFA 2010/11 Champion’s league Technical report, 23% of the goals were scored from set plays (corners, free kicks, throw ins and penalties). Very often, this kind of actions decides the outcome of important games and big teams are putting much effort in preparing both offensively and defensively.
Against a well organized defence, it is sometimes very difficult to bring danger from set plays, especially when the defending team uses zone covering rather than individual marking. If you are coaching, you want to prepare some combination plays and try to trick the opponent during the game. But you need to follow some principles:
- Be creative but realistic: you can use a big range of different combination, just don’t think that including 5-6 players in one action will go smoothly.
- Don’t think the opponent is ”blind”: the defending team will adapt to your moves. Be aware that they will provide covering so anticipate it and find solutions in advance.
- Provide security against a counter-attack: you must keep a few players prepared to break a potential counter-attack if your combination doesn’t work out.
- Prepare a plan B: if your team starts a trick but it can’t be finished, your players must have a second option without loosing the opportunity to score.
- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE: work on your combinations during the sessions and especially during friendly games.