The perfect team goal?
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 16 October 2019 at 7:31pm
Written by : George
Fluid, dynamic and composed. The shining light from a disappointing performance against Palace was our lone goal, where genuine talent, execution, ability and composure led to a sublime 14-pass goal. Admittedly, there were other chances in the game, but this moment of brilliance can inspire hope in the side that we have only seen glimpses of before.
The move began with Anderson stealing the ball well inside his own half – something he must be given credit for. His defensive work rate has improved massively since he arrived in London and he now has the characteristics of a top, top winger. The interception saw the ball falling at Cresswell’s feet, where it was quickly given to Rice, completing a short and crisp triangle. Rice then delivers a one-touch pass backwards to the offering Lanzini, relieving any pressure and leaving Zaha chasing shadows. Choosing not to distribute away from the traffic, Lanzini passes back into Cress – to Rice – to Anderson – all playing one-two-touch football the way they are facing. Simple, easy and effective and they have drawn in four Palace defenders. After a characteristic Anderson nutmeg, Rice receives the ball again and looks to drive away from our left flank and switch the play.
After Masuaku’s red card and suspension, some of us were worried about how Cresswell would fit in to the side, with Anderson and Masuaku having performed so well together. Without a doubt, he has been fantastic, and it appears regardless of our choice of left-back, our left hand-side is a strength.
Rice passes the ball through the middle of the pitch, bisecting two defenders and the ball is immediately laid off by Noble – again, playing the way he is facing – to the forward-striding Anderson, who had started the move inside his own half. Driving down the touchline, he pulls out and finds a simple option in Lanzini, much like the best sides do. Seasons ago, in the same situation, we might have lumped a hopeful ball into the box, to lose possession immediately. Lanzini spreads the ball laterally to Rice, who controls excellently and fizzes a ball into Yarmolenko on the edge of the box. With composure, Yarmo waits and spreads wide again – to the right this time – to the overlapping Fredericks. He drives into the box, commits his defender and coolly finds Haller who taps in for a regulation finish. (Easy!)
Excluding both centre-halves and goalkeeper, every player in the side had a touch in the build-up. It is clear to see that we now have a side capable of playing fluid, modern football and doing so quite consistently. This can be attributed to the composure and effective distribution of Rice and Noble but also to the talent and skills of our wider players and front-men. What we need to work on is our precision around the box and being clinical in front of goal – if we can do this then confidence will trickle down, the quality and length of our possession will improve and we may just see many more goals of this kind.