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[Albion] Surely we must have some decent free kick takers in this squad?



Guinness Boy

Tofu eating wokerati
Helpful Moderator
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Jul 23, 2003
33,487
Up and Coming Sunny Portslade
Once again, I'm blown away by the fact that, upon being awarded a free kick in a decent attacking position, the players on the pitch (and presumably the coaching staff) are happy to stand back and watch while Lewis Dunk lines it up. Happened on Thursday, happened again today, and has happened on various other occasions over the years. And I genuinely have no idea why.

He once pea-rolled one into the Liverpool net while Alisson was busy sorting out a wall and didn't realise the whistle had gone, and he managed to toe poke one past the West Brom keeper at the Hawthorns, only to be thwarted by a typically abysmal piece of Lee Mason refereeing. But neither of these suggest he's some kind of free-kick maestro. Opponents do not put their hands on their heads despairingly at the very concession of a free kick, fearing a Cristiano Ronaldo special. Or even a James Ward-Prowse or a Kieran Trippier. I just don't understand how we end up concluding that Dunk is the man.

Is he somehow incredible at taking free kicks in training? Is he that much of an ego merchant that nobody dares to say "No thanks, skipper"? I'd be stunned if that was the case, as he certainly doesn't come across as the Big I Am type. So how are we in this position? I know you can take goals conceded back to the Nth degree if you really want to. But the fact is, we had a free kick in a promising location today. Even if you'd given it to somebody who'd curled it up and over the wall and missed the goal by ten feet, it would have been a goal kick, we'd have trotted back into position, and Liverpool wouldn't have been able to counter. Instead, Dunk punts it hopelessly straight into the wall again, it eventually bounces to a Liverpool player, and they break upfield, ultimately resulting in the defensive clusterfuck that created their equaliser. Surely, SURELY you'd back March, Groß, Adingra, Mitoma, Joâo Pedro...in fact any number of players to do better than Dunk did. He did the same towards the end in Marseilles, biffing it into the wall and putting us back under pressure.

It's a total and utter mystery to me that they all stand there and go "Yeah, this one's yours, skip". It's painfully reminiscent of when Roy Hodgson decided his favoured corner taker was Harry Kane.

Love you, Lewis, but please leave the free kicks to somebody else.
You'll have to believe me, because this is after timing, but we were discussing exactly this just before he took it, when it was clear it was probably going to be him hitting it. The conclusion of me, my son and the bloke behind us would be that he'd smash it into the wall, be out of position and Liverpool would break on the rebound. Which is exactly what happened. It's not just that we miss a chance to score from a position that many other teams score from, it's that there's an outright danger of it leading to a goal at the other end.
 

Bozza

You can change this
Helpful Moderator
Jul 4, 2003
55,385
Back in Sussex
As discussed at the game, given the position of that free-kick, and Dunk's free-kick taking "technique" (I'm being kind here), I just don't see how he can score.

I don't think it's possible to get that up, top-spin down again, and hit the target.

The one in Marseille looked to be begging for a right-foot curler - Groß presumably - and again was completely wasted.
 

Jimmy Grimble

Well-known member
When we won the free kick, I was sure Gross would take it as he scored from near enough that exact spot against Everton a few seasons ago.
 


stewart12

Well-known member
Jan 16, 2019
1,434
appreciate it was a long time ago but I'm sure that when we signed Gross he had a reputation as being a free kick specialist
 

Stato

Well-known member
Dec 21, 2011
6,505
Why is anyone except Ward Prowse shooting from them? Analysis at the end of last season shows a reduced number of shots are being taken from direct free kicks in all five of the top European leagues: https://theanalyst.com/eu/2023/04/free-kicks-why-are-teams-not-shooting-as-much/

Only 14 (https://www.premierleague.com/stats/top/players/att_freekick_goal) of 1084 (https://www.premierleague.com/news/3490140#:~:text=The 2022/23 season has,1,072 set in 2018/19.) goals scored in the EPL last year came from direct free kicks. Ward Prowse scored over a fifth of them on his own.

The analysis linked doesn't record how many free kicks are shot and missed. I've had a look around and most places seem to be saying that only 6% of direct free kicks are scored. It isn't clear whether this measurement is recent or just being repeated from old research and I haven't been able to find clarification as to whether that is 6% of all free kicks awarded, or 6% or free kicks where shots were attempted. The reduction in the percentage of shots from direct free kick's being attempted suggests that this would be a significant factor that would give more clarity as to whether anyone should be shooting.

There's probably a bit of cognitive bias about the likely outcome. I do wonder whether Dunky is just still remembering this and how joyful it was:

 


AK74

Bright-eyed. Bushy-tailed. GSOH.
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Jan 19, 2010
1,183
Dunk's most recent contract contains a clause which guarantees him five free kicks per season.
 


durrington gull

Well-known member
Aug 29, 2004
2,319
Worthing
Once again, I'm blown away by the fact that, upon being awarded a free kick in a decent attacking position, the players on the pitch (and presumably the coaching staff) are happy to stand back and watch while Lewis Dunk lines it up. Happened on Thursday, happened again today, and has happened on various other occasions over the years. And I genuinely have no idea why.

He once pea-rolled one into the Liverpool net while Alisson was busy sorting out a wall and didn't realise the whistle had gone, and he managed to toe poke one past the West Brom keeper at the Hawthorns, only to be thwarted by a typically abysmal piece of Lee Mason refereeing. But neither of these suggest he's some kind of free-kick maestro. Opponents do not put their hands on their heads despairingly at the very concession of a free kick, fearing a Cristiano Ronaldo special. Or even a James Ward-Prowse or a Kieran Trippier. I just don't understand how we end up concluding that Dunk is the man.

Is he somehow incredible at taking free kicks in training? Is he that much of an ego merchant that nobody dares to say "No thanks, skipper"? I'd be stunned if that was the case, as he certainly doesn't come across as the Big I Am type. So how are we in this position? I know you can take goals conceded back to the Nth degree if you really want to. But the fact is, we had a free kick in a promising location today. Even if you'd given it to somebody who'd curled it up and over the wall and missed the goal by ten feet, it would have been a goal kick, we'd have trotted back into position, and Liverpool wouldn't have been able to counter. Instead, Dunk punts it hopelessly straight into the wall again, it eventually bounces to a Liverpool player, and they break upfield, ultimately resulting in the defensive clusterfuck that created their equaliser. Surely, SURELY you'd back March, Groß, Adingra, Mitoma, Joâo Pedro...in fact any number of players to do better than Dunk did. He did the same towards the end in Marseilles, biffing it into the wall and putting us back under pressure.

It's a total and utter mystery to me that they all stand there and go "Yeah, this one's yours, skip". It's painfully reminiscent of when Roy Hodgson decided his favoured corner taker was Harry Kane.

Love you, Lewis, but please leave the free kicks to somebody else.
absolutely spot on - its embarrassing we have literally no-one else able to take a decent Free kick - baffling
 

Tom Hark Preston Park

Will Post For Cash
Jul 6, 2003
69,688
João Pedro is totally clinical with his penalties. Maybe he's the same at free-kicks? Has anybody actually asked? Sounds like 'ability to take decent free kick' could be added to the fabled Starlizard metrics when contemplating future signings?
 

7dialssouthpaw

Active member
Sep 10, 2022
109
I'd love to see Igor crack one off (oo-err). Left footed with a deft touch, Brazilian and those thighs. If I was in the wall, I'd be planning to duck.
 


Nobby Cybergoat

Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
6,572
I'd add Gilmour to the list of players who look like they should be able to take a good free kick

Certainly he puts a bit of whip and bend on a corner.

And as an aside, what's happened to the good old fashioned roll it a yard to the side and bang it? Apart from the fact the wall will have encroached so much they might reach the ball before the player shooting at goal
 

Easy 10

Brain dead MUG SHEEP
Jul 5, 2003
61,600
Location Location
Lewis Dunk is about as adept at taking free kicks as I am at doing DIY.

You wouldn't want Jimmy Savile babysitting your kids, so why give the ball to Lewis when the wall is lining up ? Its just rank poor decision-making.
 

Kalimantan Gull

Well-known member
Aug 13, 2003
12,835
Central Borneo / the Lizard
Are Gross, March and Dunk the only players in our squad to have scored for us directly from a free kick?
Guess so, the rest have not much more than a handful of games for us, not sure any of them have even had a go.

Obviously Mac scored a beauty last year, did Trossard ever whack one in? I feel like Bissouma did but maybe in a friendly? Anyone else in the premier league? Don't recall Knockaert doing it.
 


Taybha

Whalewhine
Oct 8, 2008
27,078
Uwantsumorwat
Ronaldo,Messi,JWP, Trippier, and then I'm struggling with who else who regularly bang free kicks in the net, specialist free kick takers with better than average goals are not that common, keep banging away Dunky, the law of averages suggests one will fly in off a defenders arse eventually.
 

herecomesaregular

We're in the pipe, 5 by 5
Oct 27, 2008
4,142
Still in Brighton
It is groan inducing (not yet "#9, Ashley Barnes" level but even so). Can only think there is a conspiracy or that Dunk will beat the living daylights out of anyone who picks the ball up. Wouldn't matter if it's just a wasted attacking chance but would agree the randomness of the (highly likely) rebound off the wall, leading to a breakway attack that is the concern here. Obviously, De Zerbi must use the break in play for a quick wee break too though..
 

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