Brighton’s Corner Woes: Part 2

Set Piece Analysis
Stuart Reid

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Stuart Reid

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In Part 1 we explored how Brighton had been poor defensively from corners so far this season, in this part, we’ll look at what they do offensively as they’re one of 2 teams that have yet to score from a corner in the Premier League this season so far. I’ll analyse the first 3 corners taken in their same 4 Premier League games as the previous part and look at the shape, the movement and the delivery of each corner to see if Brighton have simply been unlucky in attack, or if improvements could be made.

Vs Chelsea – 20/1/18

I like the initial set-up here. Davy Propper (#24) puts pressure on the keeper and forces a Chelsea player to mark him by doing so. The quartet of Lewis Dunk (#5), Tomer Hemed (#10), Connor Goldson (#18) and Shane Duffy (#22) all group together. Upon the corner being taken Hemed makes a run towards the near corner of the 6-yard box with Goldson attacking just behind him. Duffy and Dunk both attack the vulnerable looking back post area. The delivery from Markus Suttner isn’t bad and on the whole, this isn’t a terrible corner, but the timing of the runs is a bit off – meaning players are reaching the end of their runs ahead of the ball, slowing them down and losing a lot of effectiveness. Either a longer run needed or more practice on timing.

Vs Chelsea – 20/1/18

A similar set-up for the second corner. We see Propper resuming his role of putting pressure on the keeper, whilst Hemed makes a run for the near side of the 6-yard box. Dunk and Duffy attack the middle of the 6-yard box whilst Goldson takes the back post. Again the timing seems slightly off with the ball hanging in the air for too long and the players being static by the time the ball arrives, but they still manage to create a chance.

Vs Chelsea – 20/1/18

The delivery and timing of the runs seem to be much better this time around, with a bit of whip on the corner. The set-up seems similar to the last 2 corners, with the players breaking up and attacking the near side, centre and back of the 6-yard area. Brighton are almost rewarded as Duffy manages to get on the end of the corner, but his header flies wide of the post.

Vs West Brom – 13/1/18

I think I know what Brighton are trying here, but I can’t be sure. I believe they’re trying to play a corner along the ground for someone, most likely Propper (#24) to take a first time shot at goal. It’s not a terrible strategy and it’s one I’ve seen Chelsea use a few times this season with varying degrees of success. In order to pull off this corner successfully though, you need a decent degree of preparation, namely reducing the chances of the opposition intercepting the ball. There are numerous ways of doing this, such as grouping players or making runs towards the back post (which should create space towards the front post for the ball to be played into). Brighton have done none of this and instead play the ball into the area that contains the largest amount of West Brom players, meaning the chance of interception was high.

Vs West Brom – 13/1/18

Another poorly delivered corner, not helped by only 2 players attacking the 6-yard box from deep and only 4 players sent into the box to attack. 5 is the average amount of players sent into the box from corners, with 6 also used quite frequently. Any less than that and you are significantly impacting your chances of scoring – especially against a team that are good at defending set-pieces like West Brom. This may, however, be the plan, essentially trading the chance of scoring to reduce the chances of a counter attack, although is probably not advised when trailing 1-0.

Vs West Brom – 13/1/18

Again the corner is played into the area with the most opponents in, with limited movement from the Brighton players. A bad corner all round.

Vs Bournemouth – 1/1/18

I like the grouping of players on the penalty spot – a slightly under-rated tactic that can cause plenty of problems with the right movement, but that never comes. You want the players to change direction whilst moving at speed to cause unrest and uncertainty in the defence but instead, the movement is slow and predictable. Another thing I don’t like is having 2 Brighton players in the 6-yard box, doing this will likely force the opponent to man-mark – essentially crowding the most important area that you’d probably want relatively clear. This would be a good tactic however if the Brighton players in the 6-yard box were to make runs out of the box which would weaken that area – but again that doesn’t happen.

Vs Bournemouth – 1/1/18

Very similar to the above corner with the exact same strategy, but Bournemouth’s defensive set-up is good with players in the right area to defend the corner perfectly, and it’s cleared with little fuss.

Vs Bournemouth – 1/1/18

Again the same as the previous corners. A bad set-up.

Vs Newcastle – 30/12/17

We see a similar strategy to the Bournemouth game with 2 players in the 6-yard box and 3 players grouped together who then split and attack different parts of the 6-yard box. The ball lands in the 6-yard box meaning the 2 Brighton players are even less effective as they lose the momentum they’d gain from attacking the ball from deep – and hinder their own players runs into this area.

Vs Newcastle – 30/12/17

The same as the previous corner, pretty odd that they employed the exact same strategy for at least 2 games with not even so much of a sniff of a decent chance.

Vs Newcastle – 30/12/17

A terrible delivery doesn’t help, but with the same set-up as the previous 2 corners, Brighton were never likely to see much success anyway.

Summary

Brighton recruited 2 of the best set-piece takers around over the summer in Markus Suttner and Pascal Gross which perhaps hinted towards a set-piece orientated approach however as the statistics show – this hasn’t been the case. Many faults in their setups both offensively and defensively will raise a massive red flag over their chances of survival. The Premier League is incredibly tight towards the bottom of the table and with just 3 points separating 11th and 19th – every goal conceded from a set-piece and every corner taken that is not maximised could cost Brighton a second season in the Premier League.

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