In a recent discussion by Sky Sports on Monday Night Football, it was disclosed that Everton has faced more short corners than any other Premier League team this season. Of the 27 corners Everton has encountered, a staggering 63 percent have been played short, as opposed to being swung into the penalty area, relays the GoodisonNews. This statistic has raised eyebrows and questions regarding Everton’s vulnerability to this strategy.
Jarrad Branthwaite bore the brunt of criticism for his role in one of the goals conceded due to a short corner. Tom Lockyer was able to capitalize on the situation, with Branthwaite’s defensive efforts drawing ridicule.
Jamie Carragher, a football pundit and former player, shed light on why teams have been opting for short corners against Everton. He explained that opposing teams have been meticulously analyzing Everton’s set-piece defending. Everton is known for its prowess in attacking set pieces, and to counter this, teams are opting for short corners. Carragher pointed out that Everton’s manager, Sean Dyche, employs a defensive setup with all 11 players behind the ball, two on the post, and everyone positioned within the two six-yard boxes.
Carragher stated, “They [Luton] acted like they were defending, if you look at the Luton players, especially Morris there at number nine, he’s trying to create space for Lockyer, and they’re just too powerful and too strong for Everton. The center-forward has got two Everton players holding him back to create space.”
The tactic employed by Dyche has effectively made it incredibly challenging for opposing teams to score from set pieces against Everton, as it clogs the penalty area with defenders, leaving little room for maneuvering. However, Arsenal and Luton have managed to exploit Everton’s set-piece vulnerability using contrasting approaches.
Arsenal, like most Premier League teams, opted for short corners to neutralize Everton’s physical dominance. This tactic paid off as they secured a crucial victory. On the other hand, Luton matched Everton’s physicality and capitalized on their relative inexperience in dealing with crosses from corners, also managing to score.
This revelation should concern Everton fans, as it suggests that their team can be vulnerable to various strategies when defending corners. Even if Everton wins the initial header from a corner, they are left with all 11 players inside the penalty area, offering no outlet for a clearance to relieve pressure.
As Everton analyzes its defensive vulnerabilities, it remains to be seen how they will adapt to counter these tactics and shore up their set-piece defending.