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Discussion Starter #1
It's a concept my team has experimented with for set plays and I must admit I am a fan. Basically the zones we use are something like this. X dontes a defender, the ball is coming from the bottom left.

.....................................X5....X6.....................................
......................................................................................
.........................X1.......X2...X3....X4.................................
........................................(GK)........................................
(Ball)-------------------I.................I------------------------


It's a pretty straight foward system. X1 is the front man, and doesn't really have a "true" zone, he just has to stand in front first attacker to cut out the under hit corner. X2, X3 and X4 stand roughly along the edge of the 6 yard box - roughly in line with the front and backs posts, and one in the middle. This is where you want your best headers of the ball, because if the ball drops in these guys' zone they really have to attack in strongly. As for where the zones lie, it's simple really. If it's over the head of X2, X3 attacks the ball. If it's over the head of X3 it's X4's ball. It's not a major problem if you have more than one defender challenging for the ball. X5 and 6 basically have the same job, if the ball drops in their zone.

I believe some teams also like to play with a "free man" who doesn't have a zone and can just help where ever needed, for instance if the attacking team tries to overload one zone.

You can also combine zonal and man marking e.g. you could have the above system, but if there's an opposition player you've identifed as a particullar threat, you can stick a man on him as well. Hardly any teams have a pure man for man system. Professional teams will always put a man in the X1 position for the under hit ball.

As I see it there's a couple of advantages of zonal marking over man marking:

- It's far quicker to organise. Obviously you organinse who will take what zone in training or at least before kick off.

- It allows the defenders to be looking at the ball all the time (rather than at the attacker).

- It should (in theory) reduce the chances of an attacker getting free header as defenders won't get dragged all over the penalty area.

However there's a few big disadvantages:

- In effect it allows the attacking team to choose the match-ups, which contrasts to man marking which allows the defending team to choose. Hence for it to work you need 5 or 6 guys who are strong in the air

- The attackers will get a run at the ball (and hence be able to jump higher) while the defenders will be stationary. However, this can be a problem with any type of marking ass invariably attackers start further away from goal than the defenders

Here endeth the lesson. Discuss.
 

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Winter is Coming.
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good analysis. in the rec leagues i play we do man to man, but I know liverpool play something like a zonal defense. how does yours compare? I am a midfielder so i am interested in what defenders think about this. It can lead to some awkward situations but if properly drilled with a good backline it could be more effective than the man to man systems.
 

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I have the same problem.Is zonal marking better than man to man in rec leagues?
Imo if the midfielder keep their positions and do an average game, zonal marking is better as most of the forwards are not good technically and use their body and strength to come closer to the post.So if you play man to man and fail to stop the attacker he will probably score.
 

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Well in set pieces i think its best to go man to man with one or two on the posts and just one man free to check the midfielder or just try and get at the ball. Usually when my team conceedes corners i play that "free" role and try to get my head and clear as many corners as i can. My defense deals with their players man to man. makes it simpler.
 

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hey in pro youth i did this


its pretty good btw easier to organise and more passing around
 

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Discussion Starter #7
O-NRG said:
good analysis. in the rec leagues i play we do man to man, but I know liverpool play something like a zonal defense. how does yours compare? I am a midfielder so i am interested in what defenders think about this. It can lead to some awkward situations but if properly drilled with a good backline it could be more effective than the man to man systems.
Do you mean in open play?
 

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How many pro teams use zonal marking? It seems like it must be pretty rare because commentators continually point out that Liverpool use zonal marking to defend set pieces.

-Scott
 

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Xtratime's Head of Humour 2007
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skamen said:
How many pro teams use zonal marking? It seems like it must be pretty rare because commentators continually point out that Liverpool use zonal marking to defend set pieces.

-Scott

you mean Andy Gray points it out, anything that Andy ddn't do at Wolves, Villa or Everton he automatically thinks is wrong, he also points out that Arsenal don't centre all the time as if this is a must in football.

Andy Gray is just limited in his thinking.
 

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great disscussion... i would like to extend the point a little further. Many people think also that playing three at the back automatically means playing with one sweeper and two markers. However after watching Italian Football the last few seasons I have noticed that this is no longer the case and that teams usually now just deploy three central defenders who mark zonally when the ball is in thier defensive third. Also the wing backs act as extra cover when defending. I think this is a very effective system of play because

1) All your players are always involved in the buildup
2) Easy to organise, can face the ball and man rather than the man alone.

I noticed Roma using this system especially a couple of years ago, though overall many teams now tend to play with four at the back. What do you think is the best system to play whne playing with three defenders.
 

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It's not about the system you play i.e zonal, marking, but the players you have and their qualities. If you have good man-markers, play that. If you have players who understand the zonal game, play that. Defending starts from the front also, so the roles your forwards & midfielders do without the ball effect how your defenders play, not to forget how the opposition line up too.
 
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