It is hard to score from a cross, perhaps more difficult than you think.
- 4 out of 5 crosses lead to a turnover in possession
- 1 in 92 successful crosses are converted into a goal
- In the top 4 leagues teams are crossing less and less
With the season drawing to a close, I have spent the majority of 2015/16 looking at crosses and their value to create goal scoring opportunities, this part is more subjective but might be of interest.
Crossing for the sake of it is generally a waste of time, if the opposition are in "balance" and prepared for the cross the chance of scoring is really low. Traditional crosses still work if we have superiority, through a numerical advantage or if our quality is better than the opposition, think Zlatan against a 5ft 6' full back, but generally scoring from crosses is difficult.
Where we can get success is through cut back and box crosses, or what the kids might call a "sweaty". These crosses are low, either once we have broken the defensive line or cutting back to eliminate the defenders.
The obvious advantages here are;
- They happen closer to the goal, which we know increases the success rate
- Its easier to score with feet than with a header
- Its encourages 1 touch finishes, 70% of goals scored are with a 1 touch finish
- From a cut back the striker can see the whole goal
- Cut back gets the crosser in the box which has benefits such as penalties and rebounds
- Its easier to eliminate defenders than wide crosses
Further Reading and stats;