Defensive Duties

Defensive Duties Zonal Marking

Many managers in the Premiership are adopting zonal marking defending as opposed to the well versed penalty area man to man marking which takes place inside the penalty area, with the man marking not widely used in open play, as opposed to twenty years before. Set pieces are a key part of a manager’s tactics, incorporating corner kicks where the zonal marking concept comes into play. Managers will highlight to defenders of room for improvement, a softly, softly, approach will not be taken by the manager who will look to create possible match situations on the training pitch. The days of defending the goalposts on corner kicks is a distant memory with managers taking charge of a goalkeepers preference with the need to fill the penalty box with extra defenders to concer, the Manero prefers defenders defending the goalposts on both sides at corner kicks. Defending on set pieces in particular must be touch tight and must display an aggressive urgent tone of defending without committing a foul, defending must not be of a passive intent and the players must create a vocal, defensive intensity. Man marking within the penalty area is self explanatory, mark any unmarked player, where the attacker goes, the defender does likewise, many managers designate players to mark a particular opposition player within the penalty area. Zonal marking is a different concept, where defending at the corner kicks is marked down with players defending withing grid zones and not moving outside of those areas, the players know where to position themselves, obviously the grid markings are not laid down, it becomes the player’s mindset taken from training sessions with the aid of a diagram the zonal marking defending will be explained.

Zonal Marking – The Penalty Area

indicates the defenders who are designated areas to mark, the defenders markings are shown as a grid area, it becomes a visual effect within the defender’s mindset, theory wise they could be marking an empty space. Any opposition players which come into their grid mindset zone, they will defend against, players outside of their grid will cause no movement from the defenders, they will remain in position so in relation, a forward could remain unmarked.

indicates the forwards and the team’s attacking play, on the corner kick set piece, possible free movement by the forwards would be of danger due to the state position of the defenders remain in, a free header could lead to a goal. The attackers as illustrated, come midfield players positioned withing the penalty area markings can attack the spaces either side of the zonal marking as arrowed. The pace of the forwarders with a strong stride pattern can gather momentum into their jump for a header on goal, this makes defending very difficult with the defence trying to pick up the runners. Managers are spot on the use of zonal marking on most occasions. The statman regards zonal marking as more successful than man marking, the Manero questions that stats the term used in many quarters is robotic defending, perhaps the code is R2-D2.

Zoned Out

The zoned out wife of a football manager was quoted “I want a divorce. You are football crazy.” The manager replied “You cannot divorce me, we have been together for ten seasons.”