Score more goals from set pieces
Last time, we considered what to do when your free kick is in front of goal, but most of your free kicks are likely to come from wider positions as your wingers take on the opposition’s full-backs, or from further away from the box. If you’re further out than 25 yards, or in a wide area, you should get a cross into the box. Some of the key tips are the same, like having a specialist free kick taker and concentrating on accuracy, but here are a few extra pointers:
Exploit the space behind the defensive line
The space between the defenders and the goalkeeper is vulnerable because the defenders are running back towards their own goal and aren’t always sure if they should clear the ball or leave it for the keeper. You should aim your crosses into this space, so your attackers can run onto them and get a shot on goal.
Get the delivery right
As I mentioned, getting the cross into the right area behind the defensive line is key. Too close to the goal and the keeper will claim it, too far out and it’ll be hard for your attackers to get a good attempt on goal. The cross should also be as flat and fast as possible to maximise your chances of a good shot. If you take inswinging crosses, there’s also a chance it could go in if no one gets a touch on it!
Make clever attacking runs
There are two main areas your attackers should run for: the front post, and the back post. Your players should time their runs and angle them so they have more chance of meeting the cross at the right moment.
Get the first touch
Like at a corner, the first touch is key – if your players can beat the defenders to the ball you are likely to score. Normally, the player who wants the ball most will get there first, so it helps if your players really want to score. Be alert for rebounds too, as a lot of free kick goals are scored from the second ball, not the first touch!
These tips should help your team score more goals from free kicks, whether they’re from wide positions or directly in front of goal. Next we will cover how best to defend against them.