Why Are Aston Villa Set Pieces No Longer Any Threat?

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Time for Villa to Lower the Odds on Set Pieces?

 

Does anyone else remember a time under the reins of Martin O’Neill when Villa led the league in goals from set pieces?

Laursen, Dunne, Collins, Zak Knight and Carew, all  used get their head on deliveries from Young, Downing and Milner consistently to provide a high-yielding route to goals. So why is it only Norwich has scored fewer goals from set pieces than the Villa this season?

 

Premier League Situational Statistics

Goal Types

(Best viewed on bigger screen devices)

R

Team

Open Play

C-Attack

Set Piece

Penalty

Own Goal

1

Liverpool

44

8

19

8

3

2

Manchester City

47

3

17

5

4

3

Fulham

13

1

12

2

2

4

Southampton

29

2

12

2

0

5

Everton

28

1

12

2

0

6

Chelsea

39

4

12

5

2

7

Cardiff

14

0

11

0

1

8

Hull

17

2

9

2

2

9

Tottenham

21

4

8

4

3

10

Sunderland

11

3

8

4

0

11

Manchester United

35

1

8

3

1

12

Swansea

24

0

7

2

7

13

Stoke

24

1

7

3

1

14

Arsenal

41

3

6

3

0

15

Newcastle United

26

3

6

2

1

16

West Ham

22

2

6

1

1

17

West Bromwich Albion

23

0

6

2

2

18

Aston Villa

21

4

5

2

1

19

Crystal Palace

9

1

5

4

0

20

Norwich

20

1

4

1

0

Courtesy of http://www.whoscored.com/

 

The present day Villa don’t exactly have a small team either with the likes of Baker, Vlaar, Clark, Benteke, and for a time this season Kozák, all ranging from 6ft to 6ft 4”. So then why are we not the set piece threat of old?

Part of the reason may be down to the fact that only Man City gets fouled fewer than the Villa. Gone are the days when we had Ashley ‘swan dive’ Young flinging himself everywhere to earn free kicks. Even so, with the pace our team possesses you would think we would be getting fouled a lot more. Maybe Villa’s players are too earnest or the referees aren’t always too obliging – after all, it seems poor old Benteke needs to be punched square in the face before the referee will even consider giving a foul.

The biggest reason for the lack of goals from set pieces though lies in the standard of delivery. In years gone by, the likes Young and Downing would whip vicious balls into the area just begging to be attacked. With Young especially, if there wasn’t a Villa player on the end of it, there was always a chance of an own goal or the ball going directly in due to the melee his deliveries would cause. Now however, the corners and free kicks are floated in by Westwood and are a lot easier to defend and you’d have a better chance of success spinning a roulette wheel.

In fact, Westwood’s deliveries seem designed for his teammates to win the second ball rather than attacking the first, which certainly lengthens the odds for success.

I am not slating Westwood at all, as I believe he is brilliant at what he does and keeps the Villa ticking over. But the set piece department is not where he should ply his trade. It was the same story with the deliveries of little Barry Bannan which were gently floated into the area too.

Annoyingly the solution for this problem lies in the current Villa squad. Amazingly Villa has a dead ball specialist playing week in week out; I don’t know if you’ve noticed that Bacuna is actually quite good at free kicks. So surely a player that can scream a ball top corner from a free kick can whip a deadly ball into the box from a corner to make the most out of Villa’s big men? In open play only perhaps Lowton and Albrighton can conjure up balls with any attacking intent, so the importance of gaining increased advantage from deadball situations is of paramount importance.

So please Lambert put our little Dutch dead ball specialist on all set pieces from now on and let’s create a new attacking threat. Give us fans some general belief that when we roar for a corner that there’s a chance we actually might get something from it. It’ll also give opposing defences something to think about once again and the added pressure is always likely to lead to mistakes too.

With Manchester United’s defence less than assured in recent weeks, Saturday would be a good time to start.

UTV

 

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid

Follow Ashley on Twitter – @bannyboy95

 

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