Call this karma for John Carew’s offside opener if you like, but the defending on Wolves equaliser yesterday was just comical. I’m all for zonal marking, but let’s have some common sense – there’s absolutely no point having two quality centre backs like Collins and Cuellar marking thin air.
I apologise for the poor quality pics here, I’m working with screen caps of the first replays available online, better quality video may be available by the time you read this. I’ll put the video that I’ve used at the bottom so you can at least see it in motion.
Here’s the original broadcast angle of the goal. I’ve paused the video just before the free kick is struck so you can see the starting positions. Carlos Cuellar is nearest the camera with James Collins just in front of him. Ronald Zubar, who strikes the ball so far off target that it falls neatly to Jody Craddock is between Collins and Richard Dunne.
Two seconds later (on-screen clock) you can see that Zubar has got goal side of Dunne. Collins and Cuellar are now marking thin air. I’ve marked the rough flight of the ball and the ball itself with red. The one Villan that you might be able to make out as airborne and making some sort of a challenge is everyone’s favourite striker, Emile Heskey. There’s something very wrong about this.
Two more seconds on the on-screen clock and the ball has just crossed the line from Craddock’s neat shot. Brad Friedel has been completely wrong footed by Zubar’s atrocious shot leaving an invitingly empty net.
Now, because of an optical illusion known as foreshortening, Collins and Cuellar might not seems so distant from this angle at first glance. If you’ve spent enough time either on or around football pitches then you’ll realise their position relative to where the ball is, but if not, check out this angle from behind the goal at the opposite end of the pitch.
Oh, I’m sorry, they’re not even in the frame! Worst. Defending. Evah!
Here’s the video, watch this horror show for yourself. In many ways this is a freak goal and maybe they’ll argue that they did everything technically correctly, but I can almost guarantee you that they’ll be watching this video a few times themselves in training this week. Urgh!!