Modern Attacking Play

Score. Celebrate. Repeat.

“You never get fed up of scoring goals”

Alan Shearer

In the last section, we focused on Andros Townsend’s shooting choices. It’s important to remember that information provided is focusing on the absolute elite-level of professional football in one of the world’s top leagues. Andros Townsend is a top level footballer, who has many great qualities.

To experience the career Andros Townsend has achieved takes an enormous amount of  effort, dedication and skill. The principles pointed out here simply aim suggest how he could be even better.

Townsend’s Crystal Palace teammate Wilfred Zaha was highlighted as a perfect example of what Andros Townsend could possibly be, with some changes to his decision-making.

This section will be used to demonstrate these differences

The first video in this section compares Wilfred Zaha and Andros Townsend picking up the ball towards the centre of the pitch.

In the first clip, Townsend comes inside onto his right foot and makes the decision to shoot from long-range from an area where about only 1 in every 100 shots are scored from (1%).

In the following clips, Wilfred Zaha receives the ball in almost identical positions and situations, but has no intention of shooting. He decided to drive forward before passing the ball to a teammate.

In both clips, notice how much more dangerous the resulting attack is for Crystal Palace instead of a 1% chance of the shot being scored.

The next video focuses on counter attack situations. In this set of clips, both players receive the ball centrally with plenty of space to drive forward at the opposition defence.

Andros Townsend chooses again to shoot from distance while ignoring passing options to his left.

Zaha instead decides to use this passing option to his left, despite there being more space to run forward into.

The final video example shows both players receiving the ball in wider areas and cutting inside off the wing.

In both examples, Zaha chooses to pass, which creates a more dangerous opportunity for his teammate who eventually wins a penalty.

Townsend on the other hand chooses to shoot from long range. Both of Townsend’s shots are comfortably blocked by the defenders and the opportunity to attack is wasted.

What can we take away from this section?

Wilfred Zaha and Andros Townsend often find themselves in similar situations when receiving the ball for Crystal Palace

Townsend often looks to shoot, and loses the ability to consider other options when doing so. Zaha looks to dribble and combine with teammates

Zaha creates better opportunities for himself and others, and is a more effective player, despite having many similar opportunities to Townsend