Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Heroes & Villains: Goals scored (8-19)

Another look at how Forest are scoring their goals, always useful when we're arguing about team selection. Over the season I'll try to build a picture of not only who is contributing, but how they are, and ultimately how the team tend to create. This is subjective stuff an thus my opinion.

All diagrams can be enlarged when clicked.

8. Barnsley (1-0) Simon Cox

This is the kind of goal Forest specialise in and, in my opinion, makes us something special in this division, because we do this kind of flowing move so consistently. Barnsley are defending in their own half, presenting The Reds with a packed and organised defence willing to press the ball, but Forest simply pass their way through it. The reason they're able to do this is not only the control and passing, but it's the subtle movement of the players in not only finding the space, but creating it. I want to highlight the awkward movement of Simon Cox in creating this opening - as Forest come over the half-way line he is being marked by Barnsley player Mvoto - he makes a diversionary run towards the ball away from the back four, dragging Mvoto with him until the defender gives up - he is now out of position. Cox appearing among the Barnsley midfielders distracts them - they now have an extra man to think about. As Forest pass the ball forward, from Cohen to Reid to Lansbury, all suddenly finding room (partly because Cox's presence has added an extra man in midfield), the Forest striker runs back towars the defenders, who don't close him down because there is confusion as to whether a mifielder should be marking him. Cox then finds the space in front of the back four to play in Mackie. Typically for Forest Mackie's shot is saved, but Cox is still the man with the initiative and swoops in for the rebound. Great movement from Cox, he deserved the goal.

Goal: Cox
Assist: Mackie
Key contributions: Cohen, Reid & Lansbury (passing move).

9. Barnsley (2-1) Own Goal

Andy Reid's free-kick from the right wing causes this own goal. Simon Cox draws the foul, the Barnsley defender roughing him off the ball. Reid's in-swinging free-kick is a great delivery into a dangerous area.

Goal: O.G.
Assist: Reid
Key contribution: Cox

10. Barnsley (3-2) Darius Henderson

Henderson, always dangerous in the air, meets a perfectly placed corner from Andy Reid. He's just too strong for the Barnsley defender (Wiseman - he got a lot of stick post match from the Barnsley fans, but I have sympathy for him, Henderson was too strong). The corner is resultant from a good piece of work and a cross from Djamel Abdoun.

Goal: Henderson.
Assist: Reid.
Key contribution: Abdoun.

11. Middlesbrough (1-2) Matt Derbyshire

As Forest pile on the pressure Middlesbrough finally crack - Reid (again) with a pinpoint cross straight onto the head of well positioned Matt Derbyshire. Nothing complicated in this goal, just Forest besieging and breaching a determined defence, who fall apart under the constant pressure.

Goal: Derbyshire.
Assist: Reid.
Key contribution: Abdoun.

12. Middlesbrough (2-2) Darius Henderson

Forest are still squeezing their opponents, putting in cross after cross and they eventually gets the equaliser as The Smoggies crumble under the cumulative attacks. Similar to the goal Forest conceded against Charlton recently, when you put a team under pressure after pressure, they will get loose - it's just a case of not being to instantly re-organise and pick up every threat time after time after time. After another cross from Cohen, the ball falls to Lichaj in the area, his low cross finds Henderson who stabs in. By now 'Boro are no longer marking - they have stopped organising momentarily - Forest have other players in the box also unmarked, notably Jamie Mackie stood lonely near the penalty spot.

I've not noted this in the credits below, but this is really a team goal, since the whole team were responsible for the continual pressure, which in my opinion caused Middlesbrough's organisation to collapse.

Goal: Henderson.
Assist: Lichaj.
Key contribution: Cohen.

13. Doncaster (1-1) Chris Cohen

In my article on goals conceded, I point out that we're vulnerable because our full-backs push forward so much - a tactical feature of Forest since the return of Billy Davies. This goal is an example of why we do this, and why it's more beneficial than harmful. Left-back Chris Cohen pushed further more often than most in his position - his being a midfielder helps in this respect, I think it makes him more confident to enter uncharted territory. Against Doncaster he does this again, making himself available in the box and with just one thing on his mind, he receives the ball from Andy Reid and knocks in a pearler.

Goal: Cohen
Assist: Reid
Minor contribution: Lichaj - only a minor contribution because his cross was over-hit and collected by Reid, who teed up Cohen

14. Doncaster (2-2) Andy Reid

A gap in the Rovers midfield allowed Reidy to smash home from range. Doncaster had been leaving space in front of their defence quite a lot throughout the game, and Reid had picked up on this, often making himself available here. We've seen before how lethal he can be if allowed space to look up - here is another example. It's an interesting goals from a tactical point of view because Donny were winning at the time - why weren't they defending this space more vigilantly? A costly error.

It's a decisive piece of play with Forest playing a ball into one of the forwards who lays it off well to Reid, the goal only worked because we used the ball very efficiently.

Goal: Reid
Assist: Henderson with the lay off. I'm only 80% sure it was Henderson, and the footage isn't conclusive either but it looks like him - shout up if this is wrong.

15. Derby (1-0) Jack Hobbs

The Goal of the Season so far (until the next time we play Derby) was scored from another Andy Reid corner following good work and a deflected shot from Eric Lichaj. Hobbs runs onto Reid's perfect cross at the near post.

At first glance this appears simple, but under further study it appears to be a well orchestrated, very deliberate training ground routine. Hobbs runs around the melee occurring in front of goal, into space and scores, but he is being marked. However, Lansbury is acting as a blocker, allowing Hobbs to run into this pre-determined spot to which Reid is aiming for (see diagram). Lansbury is not interested in the ball, he's interested in stopping defenders bothering Hobbs. Mackie is also probably just acting as a diversion, and he's also there to make it more difficult for Derby players to get out to where the cross 'lands'. It's a better goal than it looks first off - made even better by the fact it's Derby.

Goal: Hobbs
Assist: Reid
Key contribution: Lansbury (block)
Minor contribution: Mackie (positional)

16. Charlton (1-0) Andy Reid

It's Reidy again making a nuisance of himself. As I've talked about in a recent article - this one for Seat Pitch, here if you've not read it, Forest this season are more concerned with getting crosses into the box, and they do this by wrestling for possession in the wide areas. Here Reid is just battling for the ball with the Charlton left-back, and draws a foul. You will see Forest doing this a lot, because if they manage to get a free-kick in these areas they can fulfil their objective; get a cross in. This is exactly what happens here, and Reid takes the free-kick himself, the cross going straight in. You would have to say it's a fortunate goal, however the cross is perfect - it deserved something. The Andy Reid Goal Factory goes from strength to strength.

Goal: Reid.

17. Brighton (1-1) Henri Lansbury

Another goal from a corner, with Henri Lansbury making a similar run to the one Hobbs scored with against Derby. We're now getting some real evidence of Forest working successfully on their corner routines, as this one is also a pre-planned manoeuvre. The three attackers (Hobbs, Lansbury and Henderson) form three prongs of attack, with Lansbury heading for the near post, and scoring with a great header. Forest seem usually to go for these near post corners (how many times have you been sat there chuntering to yourself about it not beating the first man? I know I have. It seems on reflection that they are aiming for the first man's area, at the near post - so the defender will win a lot of these).

Goal: Lansbury
Assist: Majewski (corner taker).
Key contribution: Cohen (created the corner).
Minor contribution: Henderson (possible block, certainly a distraction).

18. Brighton (2-1) Darius Henderson

Forest's second goal against Brighton is a contender for Goal of the Season, because of the difficulty in stopping this very decisive piece of play. A direct ball is played in to Henderson, who lays it off to Cohen on the left-wing. Cohen crosses to Cox, who produces a brilliant piece of technique to lay the ball into Henderson's path. The big man knocks it in on the half volley. Forest touch the ball only 5 times in the Brighton half.

I can't produce a diagram able to do this goal justice, watch it if you've not seen.

This goal highlights a couple of issues, firstly the benefit of having a (in my opinion) a midfielder playing at left-back - Cohen is able to over-lap the Forest midfield and get in the cross - and also the creativity of Simon Cox, whose contribution to the team has been under question recently.

Goal: Henderson
Assist: Cox
Key contribution: Cohen

19. Brighton (3-1) Henri Lansbury

Henri Lansbury's penalty finished off Brighton after some good work by himself and Simon Cox in the lead-up. Cox makes a run as the Brighton defence is totally out of shape, and is brought down in the area.

There has been hot debate as to the worth of Cox - this is another instance that hints at his true role, because of his behaviour in gaining the penalty. As with the second goal against Brighton, Cox does not try to get an attempt on goal himself - when receiving the pass, with one man to beat, he pivots his body to turn away from goal in an effort to consolidate possession in this dangerous position. Once again his remit is to work with his back to goal to help Forest keep possession high up the pitch, in my opinion this is what he's attempting here, presumably he was about to lay the ball off to Henderson, who would have been baring down on goal with an easy chance.

This is a good example of poor defending - see the diagram to see the skewwhiff shape of the Brighton back four. The player marking Cox is totally out of position, which makes the ball played by Lansbury ridiculously easy, both to spot, and to play.

In light of recent misses, it's interesting that Lansbury took, and scored the spot-kick. It wasn't the best penalty, but he sent the keeper the wrong way and scored. We've missed the odd penalty this season, and it seems undecided who is to take them, which is odd from a layman's point of view - I'd have thought your best penalty taker would take all of them, but in the ego-driven world of professional football, who that is that may be debatable issue.

Goal: Lansbury
Assist: Cox

This edition on Heroes & Villains (goals scored) is long in coming - I've not had time due to work commitments so am a little behind as I like to be as detailed as I reasonably can. I thought it would be better to break it off here, before the Bournemouth & Yeovil games.

It does show that before the international break, we were scoring more than our fair share of goals. Since then we've been punished a couple of times for not being clinical - but the examples above prove that we can finish. It also shows the high amount of crosses that are leading to goals, as talked about in the Seat Pitch article, linked above.

Thanks for reading. There will be a detailed analysis of who is making what contribution in the next edition of Heroes & Villains, so look out for that as it shows the actual contribution that some of the less regarded players are making. Any suggestions or alterations would be warmly received here.

Heroes & Villains: Goals 1-7

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