Analysis of the goal conceded against QPR (23/9)

Bobby Zamora’s goalSean Wright-Phillips picks up a loose ball following a corner; he drives down the line beyond Defoe, and forces in a cross. It is deflected into the path of Alejandro FaurlĂ­n, who sells Dembele a dummy and slips a clever pass through to Zamora, who lifts the ball over Friedel, who is slow to close the striker down.

The ball is cleared from a corner, and Sean Wright-Phillips drives down the right-hand side. Defoe slides in to try to win the ball back, but Wright-Phillips evades him.

Walker comes over to cover, but Wright-Phillips manages to force a cross in, which deflects off Walker.

Dembele charges in to meet the ball, with Faurlin looking to take possession.

Dembele commits himself, and Faurlin intelligently lets the ball run across his body. Notice the defensive line – they are all looking to push out, with Walker a yard or two deeper in the left-back area.

Faurlin shapes to shoot, but instead slides a clever through-ball into a gap that doesn’t even seem to be there.

As the ball is played in, Walker is playing Zamora onside (with Zamora also level with Bale, who hasn’t stepped up either).

Friedel doesn’t read the pass, and is very slow off his line – note his starting position in the above two pictures, compared with Zamora – Zamora has turned and travelled a yard further than Friedel, who was already facing play.

Zamora is left with the relatively simple task of lifting the ball over Friedel.

Friedel has been heralded for two big saves in the match. Personally, I felt that both were saves that any keeper would expect to make – Hill’s header in particular was straight at him. I was once again concerned by his want to stay on the line at every opportunity – three corners came into the six-yard box, and he didn’t look to claim or punch any of them.

Friedel’s movement off his line for the goal looks even more ponderous when viewing the video rather than screen grabs above. It was notable how quick Julio Cesar was to come off his line in similar situations at the other end. I’ve found Friedel partially responsible for a lot of the goals conceded this year, and am looking forward to seeing the much more pro-active Lloris become our first-choice goalkeeper.

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  1. Still no clean sheet with Friedel in goal... His reflexes are outstanding, but his inability to leave the goal-line (and catch a few crosses) bothers me somewhat...

    Lloris did not have so much to do against Lazio, but it was nice to see him take a few high balls for example. I for one, would like to see Lloris against United.

    Once again you provided a detailed analysis of conceeded goals, alwas a nice read!
    1. Totally agree with your comments!
  2. And I noted another 'Lloris may not get game before xmas' comment in the Guardian today. I do wonder about these football journos.

    On the other hand, I was watching Sunday Supplement the other week and it was mentioned by someone with 'inside knowledge' at WHL that there is an awareness of his unwillingness to come of his line and that having cost us these goals. Unsurprisingly perhaps, the comment wasn't picked up on or discussed further by the others around the table.

    It drives me crazy having Gallas and Friedel in the team at the moment. They're both are or were good/great players, but I want to see Caulker and Lloris in and playing a more modern ball to feet, CB's driving forward style of play. I'm hoping that AVB is just looking to introduce them slowly, and if so good on him. Surely he doesn't think Gallas is the long-term solution (until Kaboul returns)!?

    Watching the Lazio game on Thursday I was just shocked when a cross came in, I heard an audible shout (one that wasn't just 'away') and suddenly this guy in a coloured shirt jumped across and grabbed the ball. It was remarkable!
    1. Really interesting re: Sunday Supplement! I'd have been worried if they'd not noticed - Tony Parks is an excellent coach by all accounts.

      Last paragraph sums it up; Lloris must start soon.
  3. On the way to the match we heard the team changes on the radio and assumed they had it wrong, the team didn't make any sense. Well the radio had it right and so did we - the team didn't make any sense. The difference in the shape and performance in the second half just makes me more than ever concerned about AVB - how on earth did he come up with that starting line-up??? Will AVB learn from this, we have to wait and see. I'm very impressed with Vertonghen, thought Caulker and Dembele looked good but my question from the other week remains, where should Gylfi be played. His awful miss against Reading may have knocked his confidence but he does look poor. Do I remember him playing wide(ish) right for Swansea against us last season and looking rather good?
    1. I think Sigurdsson will look a lot better once Adebayor is in the side - Defoe's hold up play is non-existent. Agree though, he has really struggled so far.
  4. Windy and Chris I agree totally with your comments on the goalkeeping situation - I hope AVB doesn't terminally piss off Lloris.
  5. Jill - Agreed that the first half performance and team shape was awful, but I do think AVB could defend his choices. Which bit of the line-up didn't you think made sense?

    In theory, Bale should work as a left-back in an AVB team, but it turns out he really can't defend. I don't like Defoe starting up front on his own (even though I love the guy) as he just can't hold the ball up - but then with Ade injured we had no other option (Dempsey?).

    I assume AVB has told Lloris that he's the number 1 and that the plan is just to introduce him slowly rather than throw him in and have him turn into another Gomes.
    1. Chris I think you have at least partly answered your own question. Personally I think Bale at LB just hugely weakens the defence and attack. If you think back a few years he never could defend!! I would have moved Vertonghen to LB when BAE was injured, as we saw in the second half he's equally as good there as at CB and Caulker gets to play. I think Caulker is a far stronger CB than Naughton is a LB and with Naughton out yesterday that was a no brainer. Then in midfield what on earth were Dempsey and Gylfi meant to be doing? After 45 minutes of football I have very little idea of the answer and neither I think did the players. With the possible exception of Sandro the midfield(ish) players were just getting in each other way. Oh and poor Defoe upfront on his own, I do feel sorry for him in that role it's just not what he does. In other words the formation effectively weakened the defence the midfield and the attack. Now personally I don't rate Dempsey at all but putting him upfront with JD and Bale back wide left just made everything make sense. The players knew what they were doing and it worked. It wasn't a great half of football but compared to the first 45 it was genius. Oh and honestly I'm not being wise after the event, as I said in my original post as soon as we saw the team it was just obvious that it wouldn't work so I'm afraid nil points to AVB for selection.
    2. I think the criticism of Friedel is a bit harsh although I understand the points made. It could equally be argued that some goalies are rash when coming off their line and it may be that it can cause confusion amongst the defenders. Gomes a case in point, and look at Lescott's goal agianst the goons. We have defended the first ball when defending corners much better this season, our problem is not clearing the second loose ball and dropping too deap. agree with all the comments about Bale out of position. I think there is still room for Gallas at the moment but with Caulker being phased in.
    3. Yep, it's hard to disagree with all of that. I was a little worried when I saw the changes, but also encouraged as I would actually like to see Bale at left-back. When we press high up it's almost like we play with a back three - Sandro dropping back to slot into the middle with both BAE and Walker pushed up to the half-way line. So really Bale playing in the AVB-BAE role would be in pretty much the same position as when he has been playing in a Harry midfield. He does seem to lack the confidence to just go past people on the outside at the moment. I'm not sure if this is due to instructions, lack of confidence, or just the fact that defenders are covering that side so well. There's certainly no point in him coming inside if Dempsey and half the opposition team are standing there.

      It really just occured to me that Vert as left-back was really playing how I would like to think Bale could play there. Getting the ball and just bombing downfield, plus having a bit of a defending brain to stay goal-side of people and track back. Ahh well.

      Bets on us ending the season with a back-four of Walker-Caulker-Kaboul-Vert ? ;)

      TBH, I haven't really even started to think about what was going on up front with Sig & Dempsey as I was so shocked by the back. But I do hope Sig does settle in, he is class and good to watch on the ball when he is playing well. Mind you, I also hope the Hudd starts getting more game time too. So many decent players!
    4. With you on Hudd, for me he is our best chance of recovering from the loss of Modric and VDV
    5. Chris, I think you're right about Sandro dropping back to make a back 3 and the backs pushing up - that flexibility is one of the strengths of the 4-3-3 system. One interesting possibility (when everyone's fit) is to play Vertonghen as DM so when we switch to 3-4-3, we have 3 genuine CBs in defence
  6. AVB's starting line-up is actually what I would have picked, so I guess I'd better defend it. Bale started out as a LB, can tackle and is a decent header of the ball. If we'd dominated possesion, the backs would've pushed up and, as Dempsey's natural tendency is to cut inside from the left, Bale would have space to run past him on the outside, so his attacking role would have been very similar to last season as an out-and-out winger. That's the theory anyway...
    1. Personally really don't like Bale as a LB; don't think he's a particularly good defender, and although he's running from deep - which he does well - it's that bit too deep.
  7. Given Vertonghen's seemingly endless array of talents, I wonder if AVB's considered playing him as the lone striker. It would certainly give Bale and Lennon something to aim at!
    1. Wonder if he's got good hands... heh
  8. wtf is defoe doing there ? why aint he and lennon on the half way line? they offer nothing in the way of defending at corners. every goal we've conceded has more to do with having too many men back and no one taking responsibilty. the goals aint friedals fault, they are tactical errors caused by defending too deep with too many players. if this dont change, we will keep conceding and it wont matter who's in goal.
  9. we look a lot better with caulker in the team from set pieces at both ends of the pitch...
  10. Shouldn't Friedel be standing up to Zamora?

    I'm a Lloris man but you are a little unfair to Friedel here.
    Two good saves that LLoris might or might not have made or it would have been the velvet drapes for us by half-time

    What is Walker doing in that position anyway?
    Sad to see Sean WP finishing his career at QPR.
    Another player broken on the wheel of money and glory.
  11. Wouldn't be too worried about the Lloris situation. If he wasnt prepared to earn his place as number one at club level, he never would have made it to number one at international level. Too many people assume these are delicate personalities that have been surrounded in cotton wool since they first kicked a ball. In reality becoming a footballer is about facing up to 99% of the people you meet telling you you will never make it and don't deserve to be there. Seriousley, he will have had worse, notice he himself is not making a big fuss about it, or his agent, or his parents, or anyone who isnt engineering agendas in his home country
  12. windy likes it deep


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