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Villa Set-Pieces - Conceded From 9!

Villa Set-Pieces - Conceded From 9!

Villa Set-Pieces - Conceded From 9!

Thought this was worth a mention in an article because it is a big matter that needs addressing!

Aston Villa were known for being the 'Set-Piece Kings' not too long ago and suddenly we have lost our ability to defend a set-piece. I just wondered if it was just me or if anybody else has realised the following:

1) Andy Carroll Goal - From a corner kick we failed to clear a headed knock-down, Dunne's miss kick fell to Carroll who made it 3-0.

2) Kevin Nolan Goal - From another corner in the same game the ball came in and headed down, Dunne was too slow to react and Nolan's foot beat Dunne's to the ball and poked it in.

3) Nuhiu Goal - From another corner the ball is whipped in and Heskey is beaten in the air on the near post, the resulting header goes into the box where Albrighton is beaten in the air by Nuhiu and Vienna score to pull a goal back.

4) Huth Goal - Pennant's dive resulted in a free kick in the last minute for Stoke to get the winner. Pennant whipped it in, neither Collins or Dunne called out to claim the header and both jumped for the same ball resulting in Stoke picking it up in the area and after a few touches it fell to Huth to slot home from the result of Villa failing to make a simple clearance.

5) Givet Goal - A long throw-in in the Carling Cup from Pederson saw Carlos Cuellar beaten in the air by N'Zonzi with his knock-down falling to an unmarked Givet to power home.

6) Carlisle Goal - Burnley's free kick in the last minute is worked into the box with a high ball where Lichaj and Heskey are beaten in the air by Carlisle who sends Burnley into extra time in the Carling Cup.

7) Hangeland Goal - 94th Minute free kick against Fulham sees the ball come in from Danny Murphy and Ciaran Clarke beaten in the air by Brede Hangeland who equalises with the last touch of the game.

8) Pederson Goal - A carbon copy of Pederson's goal past Wigan a fortnight ago sees a free kick in the same position on the right hand side whipped in by Pederson at the perfect height that is just too high for a keeper to claim but low enough to just creep under the bar (something Pederson has admitted he has worked on) and although Wigan's keeper did not get a touch on the ball when it came in, Friedel did. It just wasn't enough and the ball hit the back of the net.

9) Pederson Goal - Another corner and Agbonlahor, Clarke and Luke Young all fail to win the header on the near post and the ball bounces down for Blackburn to shoot. Dunne and Clarke fail to clear but Villa do block the shot only for the ball to bounce to Blackburn again, when the ball is drove in Pederson is quicker to react than any Villa player and puts the ball in the net. Villa failed to clear the danger on three separate occasions and deserved to concede. This worries me.

We used to be extremely good at defending set plays but this season we have conceded from 9 already, but we should have conceded more because along the way oppositions such as Spurs (e.g. Crouch from the corner), Blackburn, Burnley, Stoke, Everton, Blackpool, Chelsea and Birmingham have all missed so many sitters against us from set plays (mostly from corners). What has happened to Villa? Attacking set plays we are improving; Collins and Dunne have improved their heading from corners and their work on the training pitch is showing, but defensively we are incredibly poor with everybody beating us in the air.


Our players are mostly known for good aerial ability! With Arsenal (e.g. Squilaci and Koscielny) and Birmingham (e.g. Zigic, Jerome, Johnson and Dann) attacking their set plays in the next 2 games and with Villa so unorganised (e.g. HAVING BARRY BANNAN ON THE FAR POST) it makes you think it's only a matter of time until we concede from a tenth set play and this can be prevented! Houllier, please do a lot more work on defending set-pieces, clearly it is needed!

Anyone got any comments to add?

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Tuesday November 23 2010
Time: 10:18AM


Good article, but I think Stu is right, a large amount of this could be placed a Friedels door. He has never been keen to come off his line while at Villa but it seems to be getting worse. I wish it weren't the case because I love him, but I think he might be past his best and his lack of confidence is infecting our defence.
23/11/2010 11:02:00
You can't just blame Friedel though because the majority of the goals above have seen a Villa player beaten in the air which leads to a knockdown for the opposition to score. Friedel has made so many important stops this year we are in great debt to him, but surely work needs to be done on set plays. Collins, Dunne, Heskey, Carew, Agbonlahor and Cuellar should be winning every header but they are always beaten in the air this season. And why is Bannan on the post? I don't understand the logic in that. Something has to be done about set plays otherwise at St Andrews Zigic is going to give us a nightmare!
23/11/2010 12:38:00
Well we leave Gabby or Young up the field to aim for to hold the ball up. Why not leave Bannan up there and have Gabby and Albrighton on the posts. Remember Agbonlahor on the post last year away at Birmingham, saved us the game with that clearance of the line!
23/11/2010 13:34:00
Its not even that we have a small team or that we are poor at set-pieces... it stems from the lads being too happy to just kick it out for corners and give away stupid free kicks... Our defence isnt a strong as we all think.. needless freekicks and corners are the route of our problems...
23/11/2010 13:57:00
The main problem is why are we conceding the set piece in the first place (eg Albrighton at Fulham, Warnock at Blackburn)? Of those 9 mentioned, I count 5 which were needlessly given away, and the other 4 were conceded because of the reactions of our defenders being too slow. It's also noticeable that James Collins has only been on the pitch when two of these goals were conceded.
23/11/2010 14:02:00
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