Friday, February 20, 2015

The Target Man

It came to my attention lately that the target man in football gets a lot of criticism from football fans. “He doesn’t score enough” “he’s 8 foot tall why isn’t he in the box?”. I came to the conclusion that a lot of football fans don’t understand the role of the target man.

The target man needs to be able to play with his back to goal. Holding up the ball, playing midfielders in behind the defense and basically causing problems for the oppositions defense is what this player does. Continuing play is the main job of this player but for him to be effective he needs good midfield runners.

Most fans see this giant up front and assume “he’ll be there for the flick on and the ‘little man’ will pace onto it”. This is a very simple thing to say but when it comes to putting that tactic into practise you will find that the ball wasn’t perfectly unto the big lads head or the flick on was straight on through to the keeper or the little player didn’t anticipate the flick.

This is why you find bigger players needing a better touch to help with the game plan. Peter Crouch is a prime example of this. He has a good touch and which shows why he’s been playing at the top of English football for the majority career
~ Side note: the phrase ‘he has a good touch for a big man’ makes no sense to me; just cause he’s a foot taller doesn’t mean his brain takes longer to communicate with his feet does it? but I digress ~

Goals scored are always looked at when talking about a striker but with a target man it isn’t exactly a necessity. With the right runners around him you will see your Peter Crouch or your Andy Carroll getting around 10+ assists a season.
Don’t want to get statistical but last season Andy Carroll had 4 assists and 2 goals from 12 starts and still had an above average match rating of 7.23...who needs Messi or Ronaldo.

Getting back to hassling defenses, I personally think that every team should have that kind of player in their squad. Whether it be Crystal Palace with Chamakh or Manchester United with Fellaini every team could do with that one lump they can just shove up front to challenge everything in the air and hopefully get a flick on or even nick a goal. When Matt Smith left Leeds I know a lot of Leeds United fans were annoyed because he was different to the Italian C League rubbish they had on their bench.
~ Side note: when Wednesday beat Leeds 6-0 and Matt Smith was sent off I didn’t think it was a red card and it soured the game for you. We were the better team but not by 6. But hey ho WAWAW ~

Into the later stages of the game the target man is a good tactic to have as defenders concentration begins to dwindle. Play in a decent cross to Crouch’s head and he’ll drag 3 defenders over to challenge him, as if he has some kind of defender magnet tucked in his sock. Third time I’ve said it but all it’d take is an intelllligent midfielder gambling into the space left behind and you could have a goal. Whether the target man got a touch or not that is just as good as an assist.

Anyway I’ve bored you enough on the subject. I hope you enjoyed and understood what I was trying to get across.
Cheers for reading.

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