Gianni Vio: A Career in Set-Pieces (Part 2)

Set Piece Analysis
Stuart Reid

Stuart Reid

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In Part 1 I explored how Gianni Vio made it into professional football and explored his first season (and a bit) – establishing some of the components that make his set-piece routines so effective. In this piece I delve into the 09/10 and 10/11 seasons at Catania, to further chronicle and explore his routines and to see if his philosophy regarding set-pieces evolves slightly.

Catania 09/10 Season

Vs Roma – 27th September 2009 (Corner)

Some of the same principles that we saw in Part 1 back in play here, 2 players towards the back post take a step out and the ball finds one of them immediately and after a scramble, the ball ends up in the night.

Vs Cagliari – 18th October 2009 (free kick)

My favourite routine over the 2 pieces so far – it’s simply beautiful! Both teams line-up as if it’s a generic free-kick to be lofted into the box. Cagliari put up a one man wall that has 2 players behind it. Upon the kick being taken, one of the players in the main wall runs the opposite direction the Cagliari players are expecting him to run. The 2 players behind the single man wall start their run into the box, whilst the player running short receives the ball. A simple flick over the top to the 2 runners to convert. A flawless routine.

Vs Siena – 6th December 2009 (free kick)

Almost a “generic” routine, watch the video above, then watch it again and keep your eye on the goalscorer. He starts closer to the ball than the rest of his team-mates then makes a looping run in front of his marker allowing him to get to the ball first and bury it past the keeper.

Vs Bologna – 6th January 2010 (corner)

A clever use of space gets the goal here. 2 players run towards the front post, taking their markers with them – creating space for the goalscorer (labelled 3 in the picture above) to attack that space. Also note the runner attacking the back-post, a classic Vio component.

Vs Parma – 23rd January 2010 (corner)

Similar to the above corner, players create space for other players to attack, and it works a treat.

Catania 10/11 Season

Vs Cesena – 22nd September 2010 (free kick)

The footage is poor but just about able to see what happens. We see a couple of players make runs away from the box, swapping places with runners – confusing the defence giving Catania a vital few seconds that makes the difference.

Vs Udinese – 10th November 2010 (corner)

The footage is too poor to make out what exactly happens, but Catania score and it’s from a corner, so it’s here.

Vs Palermo – 14th November 2010 (corner)

Just like one of the corners explored earlier, clever runs are the key here. 2 players make towards the near side of the 6-yard box – dragging a majority of the defenders away from the main area. 2 players remain central and we see one of the main components of a Vio set-piece – a runner from deep attacking the back-post.

Vs Bari – 21st November 2010 (free kick)

A pretty routine free-kick that’s actually pretty generic with nothing unusual of note happening (take note of the runner from deep attacking the back post again though!)

Vs Lazio – 28th November 2010 (corner)

Again footage is too poor for me to do any sort of accurate analysis.

Vs Roma – 6th January 2011 (corner)

Perhaps Vio noticed a weakness in the Roma defence, but this looks a bit unlike most of his other corners. Roma zonal mark the edge of the 6-yard area. Catania packs the back post with 3 players, one of whom manages to head home when the ball is played in towards the far post.

Vs Lecce – 13th February 2011 (free kick)

Some interesting movement here from the attacking players, the diagonal line of Catania players make diagonal runs into space right in front of the goalkeeper, leaving the Lecce defenders in no-man’s land and helpless to watch as the chance is easily converted

Vs Lecce – 13th February 2011 (free kick)

An odd one as there’s no classic Vio screen blocking the defenders view, but the chance is converted anyway.

Vs Lecce – 13th February 2011 (free kick)

The screen returns for this free-kick however, with players peeling off as soon as the kick is taken. Once again it’s effective as the ball flies in.

The Analysis

The 09/10 and 10/11 seasons saw Vio carrying on with some of the principles demonstrated in his previous 2 seasons, namely the defensive screen in front of direct free-kicks and runners from deep attacking the back post – most likely due to the ease in which they can lose a marker.

We also saw a couple of new additions to his repertoire. Player movement became more of an important component than in previous seasons more players making clever runs (such as the beautiful free kick against Cagliari), and players dragging their markers away – creating space for others to run into and attack became an important part of Catania’s corner routines

As you can see from the table above, people were starting to take note of Catania’s effectiveness from set-pieces, but it was the 11/12 season where Vio really hit the spotlight, which will be explored in part 3…

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