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Our problems with heading


villa4life
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This is just a quick post about something I have observed that would improve our team immeasurably if it were fixed

 

When we make clearing headers between the 18 yard box and the centre circle, pretty much all of our players have a tendency to head the ball back in the direction it has come, as hard as they can.

Particularly frustrating is on occasions when our player has an opposition player near them but is not being physically challenged for the airborne ball

 

Whilst this is a no-nonsense safety first approach, we rarely keep possession of the ball and in many cases allows the opposition to get the ball back far higher up the pitch than we could potentially be allowing

 

If you watch the better defenders (Rio Ferdinand is a good example) and midfielders in the league, the clearance header is not the de-facto choice and they often look to find a teammate who is either in space or is strong enough to control or challenge for the cleared ball

 

This isnt a Lambert criticism as this is something we have been awful at for years now (Same as our throw-ins)

 

What do our players lack that mean we arent doing this. Is it general composure, confidence in teammates, heading technique or oversights by successive defensive coaching staff?

 

Thoughts?  

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Honestly don't think we specifically have a problem with heading. Pretty much any centre half will clear a header as far as they can. Trying to place it would be suicide....

 

Think our midfield are actually pretty competitive when challenging for the second ball which is probably more important IMHO.

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It's a good observation Avflife but what you tend to find with most Premiership defenders is that when dealing with an aerial ball whether  challenged or unchallenged they are taught to clear their lines as quickly as possible & then push up the pitch in order to squeeze the space & the play. If they are playing against one of the rich 4 they will probably just clear it & then sit in so as not to leave any space in behind & the midfield will also be deep & as compact as possible leaving the opposition with plenty of the ball but with a well organised & theoretically difficult defence to have to break down. Quality teams will destroy you if you play a high back line against them. This is why I feel we will score so many goals away from home on the counter attack with the power, pace, movement & prowess of our front 3 & the runs from deep from others a la Luna at Arsenal. At Villa Park teams will sit in which is why we will need that elusive AM but again I have every confidence in our front 3 reaping havoc.

 

Also, I think you have correctly identified that it is the hallmark of a technically gifted player that has the confidence to try & find a team mate as opposed to just heading it aimlessly forward. This is an aspect that Baker will need to improve. in his game & I'm sure he will in time.

 

Will be interesting to see what the introduction of Okore brings to our much maligned defence. I suggest it will be a big, big improvement.

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OK points all taken but in our own half, just outside the centre circle, the default setting for all of our defenders is just to clear it into the opponents half regardless of whether a team mate is free

 

There has to be a better way, especially if our football is ever to evolve from counter-attacking which is pretty much been our style of play since MON first came in

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I haven't noticed this myself - but it wouldn't surprise me. However lets not forget we don't purchase the top class defenders you mention - Vlaar is IMO a mostly steady player @ £3m - The rest are up and coming guys learning there trade - in time they may learn the techniques you suggest.

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