MTaking a direct free kick is one of the most difficult ways to beat a goalkeeper. In general, you need to overcome the barrier and be able to place a set ball in a part of the goal that an alert and prepared goalkeeper cannot reach. There have always been good specialists, but the current reality is that Direct free-kick goals are becoming an endangered species. They are seen less and less.
In La Liga this season, 11 goals have been scored. The nine achieved in the entire past campaign has already been surpassed, the worst in the past decade. but The decline is noticeable since 2020-2021. Before (since 2014-15) they used to do that Numbers about 30. More than doubled.
It is more painful to know that in this period It was the highest scoring tournament in the “Big Five” on three occasions (2016-17, 2018-19, and 2019-2020) and The second in two others (2015-16 and 2017-18). The previous cycle was really the worst and at the moment it’s with Serie A.
This campaign has already been improved, but it does not lead us to believe that it will return to pre-pandemic numbers. It’s true that Leo Messi is no longer relied uponthat collected a large portion of the pie, But it wasn’t the only component. In his last year at Pará, the drop was half: from 33 to 15 goals.
What happens in the rest of the major European leagues? Well, the trend is the same. Of the 146 achieved in 2016-17, 71 are from last season (last completed). They are 75 goals lessreduced by more than half.
This year there is an aura of hope. Their number is 66 and there is still a third way to go. It would be strange if these 71 were not exceeded but would be Hard to get to 78 in 2020-21. And we are no longer talking about the former (117 or 124 closest).
Fewer teams score
It is also remarkable to appreciate how The number of scoring teams decreased. in La Liga has not dropped from 13 teams in the past decadeto become 18 in the season when the epidemic broke out.
Two seasons ago they stopped at 11, for the next seven, Where Betis and Real Sociedad were the top scorers… with two each. Currently, there are eight Also, without any team exceeding the two goals currently scored by Real Madrid, Getafe and Rayo Vallecano.
This trend too He is appreciated in the rest of the tournamentsalbeit in a less obvious way, except in the case of Serie A, which is going at an even worse pace.
The reasons may be multiple, but there is one obvious one: Fewer direct free kicks are taken. If you don’t shoot, you won’t score. naturally. And if you reduce the frequency of attempts, the most natural thing is that the repeated goals will do as well.
Since at least the 2014-15 season The decline in the number of attempts was unstoppable. From 2377 shots he went to 1612 in 2021-22. a Landing 765.
Spain has gone from having 500 free visits to just over 300. But as can be seen, all tournaments are on the same path.
So, the fairest thing, at this point, is to try it Weight the number of goals achieved based on the number of attempts, which also allows the Bundesliga, which has two fewer teams, to measure itself on an equal footing with the other four leagues. And don’t ignore the 2019-20 Ligue 1 campaign, which was suspended following the outbreak of the pandemic. in this meaning, The percentage change is somewhat more volatile. That is, the fall is not evident in all cases and there are fluctuations.
Italy is, on average, the best place for the goals-to-try ratio, leading four of the last eight full seasons. Spain has done it in three other countries. Ironically, this year they are the worst yet. LaLiga has had five consecutive years above 6% accuracy, something it’s trying to recover now after two seasons around 4.5%..
Hitting is bouncing in Bundesliga This campaign. 9.35% have converted direct errors, Best average seen so far in this date range, surpassing Serie A’s 8.88 in the 2017-18 season. It remains to be seen if he will be able to sustain it until the end, although his development is on the rise.
Why is less thrown?
That’s a good question. The evolution of soccer has led to the desire to take less risk in the shot. There is a trend (which is another topic of study) that leads players (and thus teams) to Shoot closer and closer.
The number of shots being produced from outside the area has gradually decreased. Direct free kicks are included in this equation. According to FBref data, In the 2017-2018 campaign average shooting distance (the first to collect this data) In the five major championships, it was 17.02 meters. This campaign is 16.08. one meter less. It may seem trivial, but it is not.
In an era where everything is analyzed down to the millimeter and where data is used more and more, the chances of scoring a goal increase the closer you get to the opponent’s goal. Ah, there is no place for error
Another reason is Greater preparation for those who advocate this type of work. Barriers work more. It is now more normal to place a player lying flat on the ground to avoid the low blow passing between the legs of those forming the barrier. Goalkeepers also study specialists a lot and know how to sense their intentions at the right time.
It also enters the equation The tendency to convert a direct free kick into a cross into the penalty area. The rehearsed play became more important. Scoring chances are increased by putting the ball in the center of the area and all the coaching staff know that.
And of course, Fouls made at the edge of the area have been reduced. Teams know that they give their opponents a lot of advantage if they commit offenses in the vicinity of their own. The evidence is the low number of launches from that sphere of influence. in the league. They’ve gone from 463 stadiums in 2017-18 to 321 in 2021-22.
There are still specialists
What the quality does not seem to have deteriorated. There are those who are reluctant to leave an action in oblivion, and who generally make a pleasant impression when they end with some purpose. It’s about all of us Leo Messi, who since 2014-15 has scored more than anyone else. There are 30 goals.
Barcelona noticed his absence. During the last six sessions of the Argentine star in Barcelona, Barcelona leads the transformations in La Liga. the total, 29 goals, of which 26 are signed by Leo.
He was destined to go to Paris, and the Catalans did not convert a single one. What’s more, Only one of his attempts went into the goal. He was from Memphis last season against the Athletic.
Without disparaging the Argentinian, we have to put everything in context and see who they are Those with the best success rate. Because of course, Leo scores more than anyone else, but he also tries more than anyone else. In this period there were 316 launches. The second oldest Cristiano in the world: 150.
If we look at the ratio between attempts and successes, With at least 45 rounds (average of five for each of the past nine seasons) The best ratio is… Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman achieved 15.22%. Seven out of 46 fouls.
Very close to the Atlético player, and considered by many, best of the day (with permission Liu): Incoming surfing. Southampton player became free kick champion. His effectiveness has increased in the last three seasons, in which he scored 11 goals out of 17 goalsand turn his team into Top scorer in the premiership.
In January 2022, I celebrated my twelfth day. In just 13 months he achieved five more, an incomparable percentage. The Englishman has scored all but one of his team’s goals since he was at the W club He is one goal away from the 18-year-old King of Beckham, the absolute king of competition.
So, we can conclude that The general development of football also affects direct free kicks. Due to various factors, they get less. And this does not seem to be due to the lack of specialists. There are very good things. Practicality seems to gain strength over plasticity.