The soccer world has got defending free kicks all wrong
Why don’t teams put a man on the post when defending a free kick? Week after week I see free kicks fly into the corner of the net with the keeper helpless at the other side of the goal.
The match winner from Owen Hargreaves in Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal on Sunday is a case in point. Here in Italy at least one free kick is scored like that every weekend.
Top players are getting so good at whipping the lighter balls up and down over a wall that a free kick near the box is almost like a penalty. Yet I think a man on the post would halve the number of free kicks that go in.
The reason teams don’t put a man on the post is because this would negate any possibility of offside. Currently attackers have to stay roundabout level with the wall to avoid being offside.
But why would allowing the attackers to mill around the box make it more likely the opposition would score from the free kick? Surely more players close to the keeper in the box blocks the path of the free kick taker.
Yes, the goalkeeper may become unsighted, but he can never be as unsighted as he is now when he has five men stood in a line infront of him.
I’ve never been that convinced on the need for a wall either…but we’ll leave that for another day.
Mark Meadows, Milan
PHOTO: Manchester United’s Owen Hargreaves scores a free kick against Arsenal, April 13. REUTERS/Darren Staples