Zonal marking and VAR

by   |   03/07/2019  32 Comments  [Jump to last]

I was pondering Marco Silva's persistence with zonal marking when defending set pieces last season. In spite of all the stats suggesting it wasn’t working, and in the face of mounting criticism, he fundamentally stuck to this tactic.

I remember being struck by the quantity of VAR penalties given at the 2018 World Cup. Many of these were a result of defenders getting too tight to their opponents, pushing, pulling and in some cases wrestling them to the ground. These were offences that referees were reluctant to punish without VAR but found it easier to give with the VAR replay (England had at least two penalties from this route from memory).

It's clear that VAR will result in lots more penalties next season in the Premier League. However, the type described above become less of a possibility with zonal marking as fundamentally defenders defend space rather than the attacking players. Is it possible that, in sticking with and ultimately successfully implementing a zonal marking system, that Marco Silva was preparing the ground for VAR being introduced this season? Could this perhaps now give Everton a small advantage over opponents who mark man-to-man?

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Mike Allison
1 Posted 03/07/2019 at 19:13:20
Zonal marking and VAR in the same thread? Everybody play nice.

Defenders should never be grappling and wrestling attackers anyway, I've never understood it. Watch the ball and head it away; defending really can be that simple. If you complicate it by trying to tell yourself to control another variable (the attacker) that doesn't actually need to be controlled, then that's where things go wrong.

The advantage is so much with the defender anyway that you don't even have to win the header, you just have to compete competently enough to make it difficult for an attacker. Maybe defenders and coaches will be forced to become more intelligent and we'll see fewer goals from corners.

Andy Crooks
2 Posted 03/07/2019 at 20:45:16
The FA should instruct referees to punish every, absolutely every penalty box infringement with penalties, yellow cards and red cards. Every shove, every shirt tug. Should it bring it down to five a side, keep doing it. Deduct points from clubs who don't get that cheating is over.

The cheating that occurs at every single corner is a blight on the game that can be removed only with will, not with VAR. This is filtering down to kids football who watch these shameless cheating fuckers and seek to emulate them.

From the World Cup going to Qatar, to the diving, feigning of injury, brandishing of imaginary yellow cards our game is rotten to the core. Administered by thieves and played by cheats much of the time. It can be saved starting at home and making a stand. VAR papers over the cracks and we all sometimes collude in it by turning a blind eye when our own cheats do it.

I have read ToffeeWebers calling out these cheats. Time for the FA to start the cleanup. We will all be behind them.
Brian Williams
3 Posted 03/07/2019 at 20:57:47
Hope you've calmed down by August, Andy... lol. 😳
Dave Abrahams
4 Posted 03/07/2019 at 21:03:41
By the way, Andy and Brian, there is a thread in The General Forum and Messages Column about the meeting in The Excelsior for the Watford game in August.
Brian Williams
5 Posted 03/07/2019 at 21:07:21
Cheers Dave.
Brian Harrison
6 Posted 03/07/2019 at 21:31:18
I thought VAR was to address any clear and obvious mistakes by the referee, but it has gone way beyond from clear and obvious to every goal being monitored. Now I am not against that but that is not what we were led to believe VAR would be used for. But how come that all other sports that use a similar system, all their paying customers can see what they are reviewing. But in football someone suggests to the ref via his headset that they are reviewing why the goal may not be given. So the ref makes the signal to let the crowd know VAR are looking at something, but why arent we allowed to see on the screen what they are reviewing. Now those watching on Sky will see what they are looking at, so why not let the crowd see the same thing.

I heard someone the other day saying that the ones looking at the VAR are not actually at the stadium, but based somewhere in the Midlands, surely this cant be true. So I would suggest to the authorities involved, once a VAR has been called show the crowd what your reviewing. I will be interested to see how fans will now react when a goal is scored will we wait for 30 seconds before celebrating just in case VAR are reviewing it.

David Pearl
7 Posted 03/07/2019 at 21:39:40
Hmm and on the flip side, let's hope if we do get more penalties this season that Siggy is a bit more successful. I've no doubt that Pickford will always save his fair share.
Keith Dolan
8 Posted 04/07/2019 at 10:44:06

Yes that was also my thought. Penalties will become much more prevalent with VAR, adding extra importance to having a decent penalty taker / penalty saving goalkeeper. I'm ok with Pickford less so with Siggy!

David Pearl
9 Posted 04/07/2019 at 10:51:14
Yes I think a lot of people would like to see Digne given the chance. He’s probably the cleanest striker of a ball in the squad. Although we’ve done well with penalty taking left backs!
Kevin Prytherch
10 Posted 04/07/2019 at 11:21:01
Brian 6

Taken from the BBC website...
(Note - the only 2 teams without a big screen are Liverpool and Man Utd at present)

Some decisions that go to the video assistant referee are to be shown on big screens at Premier League grounds.

Graphics will explain any VAR-related delay to a match, and any overturned decision, from next season.

Any video clip which helps explain an overturned decision will be broadcast, and they could potentially be viewed via an app on mobile phones.

Messages on scoreboards and PA announcements will be made at grounds which do not have giant screens.

VAR checks will be for "clear and obvious errors" relating to four match-changing situations: goals, mistaken identity, red cards and incidents in the penalty area.

It debuts in the Premier League next season, having been used at the 2018 World Cup, in this season's Champions League knockout stages and in selected FA Cup and Carabao Cup ties.

For clubs that do not have giant screens in their stadium, VAR communications will be made via a combination of PA announcements and messages on scoreboards.

"If the VAR believes there is a definitive video clip which helps explain an overturned decision to fans, it will be broadcast on giant screens," the Premier League said in a statement.

The Premier League says it is also looking at ways for supporters to view the clips on handheld devices via an app.

Steve Carse
11 Posted 04/07/2019 at 12:08:36
Keith (8), there will indeed be more penaties next season. Unfortunately there will also be fewer goals from open play. Case in point, Richarlison's overhead kick against Utd.
Steve Carse
12 Posted 04/07/2019 at 12:08:36
Keith (8), there will indeed be more penaties next season. Unfortunately there will also be fewer goals from open play. Case in point, Richarlison's overhead kick against Utd.
Ron Sear
13 Posted 04/07/2019 at 23:23:45
Given the fact that due to cost VAR will be limited to the Premier League, are we likely to see a bigger gap in the type of football played between the rich and the rest? Does make you wonder what will happen to the teams who are promoted with their players unused to the detailed attention to their every move.

Personally I loathe VAR, I feel that is going to lead to an abysmal atmosphere with hardly anybody feeling free to celebrate until they have been given permission and unfortunately was bought in to assauge the financial downside of poor decisions.

Jack Convery
14 Posted 04/07/2019 at 23:34:24
I wonder how many penalties the RS will get next season? How often will Salah be booked for simulation? Season 19-20 will be one we'll all remember - when it eventually finishes as games will go on and on and on and on....
John Pierce
15 Posted 05/07/2019 at 00:09:12
The 2018 World Cup threads did talk about the unintended consequences of VAR. Coaches will undoubtedly adapt tactics to reflect VAR. I think defenders who are ‘touch tight shovers' may find it harder, ahem, Mina for example.
Don Alexander
16 Posted 05/07/2019 at 00:55:39
Andy Crooks (#2) echoes my opinion on the depths our game has plumbed as those "in" the Premier League "game" ensure their own fortunes above all, repeat, all, else.

Most games in the League are poor if truth be told. Teams work to hide their own true shortcomings by resorting to whatever they hope to get away with against any team they fear getting a hammering from, and those hammerers will stoop, despite their prodigious wealth, to exactly the same depths against the minnow teams.

Living in the North I compare the endeavour of rugby league teams, and cricket too, where nobody goes missing in action, or else. Most matches are full-blooded from the start right through to the end, with no cheating delaying anything. The players respect the ref's decision albeit VAR now proliferates in RL (and given the effort those players expend they probably need regular VAR breaks to prevent themselves suffering heart attacks).

Personally I'd initially like to limit to two the number of VAR appeals that any football team can make in a football match, the appeal to come from the manager. Whether or not the manager chooses to send his players out wearing electronic notification equipment, as refs these days wear, for them to immediately indicate to him a dodgy decision would be up to them. Just two appeals would really make players/managers think hard about squandering/cheating from bogus appeals.

Derek Thomas
17 Posted 05/07/2019 at 01:25:41
Don @ 16; Exellent Idea. Limit the number of appeals...it'll never happen though as the VAR / Sky tail wants total control of their brand of footballing dog.
Si Cooper
18 Posted 05/07/2019 at 02:01:03
“Administered by thieves and played by cheats much of the time” – a reflection of the times I'm afraid. Government and unregulated businesses, vested interests everywhere. If you are successful enough, how you are successful doesn't seem to be as important as it once was. ‘If we didn't profit from it, somebody else would' seems justification enough for most.

As for Marco Silva instigating zonal marking and sticking with it, I tend to think it was more about what he believes is the better system than looking to possible changes in the way those dead ball situations are reffed. It all boils down to someone assessing the situation quickly and reacting quicker than the attackers and that is what he had to wait for the players to fully grasp.

Jack Convery
19 Posted 05/07/2019 at 16:12:04
I posted this on another thread but better here I reckon.

The team managers should have 2 reviews per game and keep each review they request unless its a wrong intervention ie what they are claiming happened actually did not. This prevents the VAR people stopping the ref and telling them to look at something as only the managers would be responsible. If a player really believes someone was offside or they should have had a penalty then the manager has a decision to make not someone sitting in a camper van in the Midlands. A wrong intervention could be penalised by giving the opposition a corner to stop bogus reviews. A review would only be granted once the ball had gone dead. As Sergie says SIMPLEs.

Si Smith
20 Posted 06/07/2019 at 10:02:56
VAR is poor imo, but this article is particularly interesting as I agree that VAR will definitely benefit teams using zonal marking.

I'd also agree that even though I was expecting zonal marking to get Silva the sack by half way through last season, it actually looks like its beginning to work and the lads are buying into it.

14 clean sheets !

Don Alexander
21 Posted 06/07/2019 at 10:44:07
Jack (#19), that seems to me to be a better version of what I posted. I think the introduction of the "two-VAR" idea could force more basic honesty on all parties, honesty having massively eroded for decades IMO.
James Marshall
22 Posted 08/07/2019 at 14:14:21
One thing I want to know about VAR at Goodison is this: where the hell are they going to put the big VAR booth/screen thing? You can't swing a cat in our tunnel, let alone set that thing up.

Answers on a postcard.

Dennis Stevens
23 Posted 08/07/2019 at 15:02:19
James #22 - In the Winslow, perhaps?
John McFarlane Snr
24 Posted 08/07/2019 at 15:08:27
Hi James [22] presumably, the customary 200 miles away.
James Marshall
25 Posted 09/07/2019 at 09:56:22
John - that's a long walk for the referee every time isn't it? I'm not a fan of VAR for literally every reason you can imagine, but to add in a 200 mile walk would really spoil games in my view..

Seriously though - where are they going to put the booth thing that the ref walks over to check? I don't mean the room where the other refs sit (or whatever they're called), I mean the stand-up booth thing that the ref goes and looks at. So far I've seen it stood at the mouth of the tunnel in every game, but our tunnel is way too narrow so where will it go at Goodison?

Michael Lynch
26 Posted 09/07/2019 at 11:36:27
James, I read somewhere (possibly on this website, which makes it unlikely to be true ;-) ) that the PL are not going to have a booth for the ref, but the VAR decisions will be imposed on him remotely by the VAR committee, which will presumably consist of Jamie Carragher, Danny Murphy, Stevie Wonder, and Stevie G's nan.

Sounds reasonable (apart from the committee) because it will save time and also protect the ref from our fans shoving their programmes up his arse when he's at the booth ruling out our legitimate goals.

Update: I've googled it, and it seems like booths will be available, but refs will be encouraged not to use them unless Carra and his mates give him advice which seems complete out of whack with reality. For example, if Carra says Mo Salah didn't dive, the ref would be advised to check for himself.

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 09/07/2019 at 11:54:23
The only room at Goodison Would be between the park end and the paddock, so right between the home and away fans. This might bring back scenes from the eighties, who knows...?
Brian Harrison
28 Posted 09/07/2019 at 14:14:48
I think I will ask my local Ladbrokes for a price for the first team to either concede a penalty via VAR or the first team to have a goal disallowed via VAR.

I mean, we know it will be Everton, we always seem to be the scapegoat when it comes to new rules being introduced.

Ray Roche
29 Posted 09/07/2019 at 14:19:59
James Marshall @22

And I have it on good authority that you CAN swing a cat in our tunnel..

The cat, however, would suffer life-threatening injuries.

James Marshall
30 Posted 09/07/2019 at 16:28:33
So the question remains huh? Maybe they'll just have someone pass the ref an iPad or something until we can get a bigger tunnel.

Or maybe a bigger stadium.

Dave Abrahams
31 Posted 10/07/2019 at 21:08:29
Don (16), I always liked the way VAR is used in Rugby League games so I was surprised to read, only the other day, that VAR is only used in Rugby when that particular game is being televised, it doesn’t apply to every game that is played, don’t know how true this is,

Maybe some rugby fan, who reads ToffeeWeb, could elaborate.

Joe Corgan
32 Posted 22/07/2019 at 21:23:11
Late to the party but, yes Dave #31 - that's true. Video referees are only used in Superleague when the match is being televised although Catalans Dragons have most of their matches televised in France.

It's used at every match in the Australian league and there have been calls to introduce it at every Superleague match due to the perceived unfairness of some teams having it more often than others. Presumably it's due to the fact that it uses the TV cameras and having a full TV outfit at every Superleague game would be cost prohibitive.

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