Talking Tactics

How Spurs free Kane to score from corners

By Adrian Clarke 11 Dec 2022
Harry Kane, Spurs v Wolves

Adrian Clarke casts the spotlight on Tottenham Hotspur as he highlights clubs' set-piece strengths

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Adrian Clarke analyses the Premier League's most successful teams in creating goals from corner kicks in 2022/23.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs have been the strongest side from corners, scoring 10 goals in their 15 league matches.

Inspired by fresh ideas from their new Italian set-piece coach Gianni Vio, they are superb at spotting areas of space to exploit.

Their most successful ploy has been to load the near-post domain with bodies, in order to get Harry Kane in a 1v1 situation at the far post.

This approach has been particularly fruitful against opponents who opt for primarily man-marking set-ups.

Spurs' winner against Wolves

Below is a reminder of how Antonio Conte's side scored the only goal of the match at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in August. 

Their plan was to produce a flick-on in front of Wolves' first near-post zonal marker (circled yellow), giving Kane (circled red) a ball to attack in the empty space at the far post.

Spurs TOTWOL 1

The movement of Spurs' players was all purposely directed towards the front post, dragging a clutch of man-markers with them.

Ivan Perisic stole in front to nod the ball on for Kane, who escaped his marker's attentions to score from two yards out.

Spurs TOTWOL 2

At home to Newcastle United, Conte's side came up with a very similar ploy, and the outcome was just as successful.

This time they located a hole between the visitors' near-post zonal marker (circled red) and the next-closest Magpies player.

Spurs TOTNEW 1

From a floating position around the goalkeeper, Clement Lenglet (circled yellow, above) made a clever late run into that pocket, along with several team-mates.

Drawing almost the entire Newcastle defence towards the near post, one simple Lenglet flick was rewarded when Kane (circled red, below) anticipated the flight of the ball to score from close range.

Spurs TOTNEW 2

Leaving that area empty at the far post has worked for Spurs on several occasions this term, with half of their goals from corners coming from this part of the box.

Look how Spurs focus almost every run towards the near post against AFC Bournemouth. But their plan was to release Ben Davies (circled yellow), who spun away from his marker Jordan Zemura (circled green) towards the empty space at the far post.

Spurs BOUTOT 1

Running through a crowded box, Zemura was all at sea and in no position to prevent Davies from heading home.

Spurs BOUTOT 2

Spurs have also had some joy in scoring directly from a near-post header this season.

The key ingredient is to recognise where the gap lies before making a late move to catch zonal near-post defenders off guard.

Eric Dier caught Leicester City napping in exactly this way.

Dier (circled yellow at the bottom) was one of a number of Spurs players who could have scored as they all made a run into this empty space, catching the Foxes on their heels.


Spurs' opponents will need to watch out for their prowess at attacking the near post, either for a flick-on or a header straight at goal, when the season resumes.

Also in this series

Part 1: Why goals from corners are heading for a record high
Part 3: How Fulham use blockers to capitalise from corners
Part 4: How Man City use short corners to feed Haaland
Part 5: Why Liverpool are the kings of the outswinging corner
Part 6: Why Arsenal are a nightmare for goalkeepers from corners
Part 7: Which clubs are best at defending corners and why

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