Assisting goals is as important as scoring goals. Assists can be from any area on the field. One of the most common ways to assist a goal is by crossing the ball into the opponent’s 18-yard box. Crossing the ball simply involves one player delivering a pass to another player or into a dangerous area of the 18-yard box.
Most crosses into the box typically come from the wide attacking players on the field. Like wingers or outside midfielders. As the speed of the game gets faster, other players on the field also serve crosses into the box.
Statistics of Crosses by the Pros
In the 2021-2022 Premier League Season, Liverpool crossed the ball into the box 897 times with a 25% accuracy rate. Trent Alexander-Arnold, a right back, crossed the ball 273 times with a 30% accuracy rate in a total of 32 appearances this season. Andrew Robertson, a left back, crossed the ball 195 times with a 23% accuracy rate in 29 appearances. Liverpool central midfielder Jordan Henderson crossed the ball 56 times in 35 appearances. Sadio Mane, a left winger, only crossed the ball 50 times in 34 appearances.
Liverpool is a great example of a team that relies heavily on its outside defenders to be the most dangerous and effective crossers on the team. Remember though that Liverpool finished second to Manchester City this season.
In total, Manchester City had 869 crosses delivered at a 19% accuracy rate. Joao Cancelo plays both right and left back and crossed the ball 124 times with a 16% cross accuracy. Right back Kyle Walker crossed the ball only 35 times in 20 appearances with a 17% accuracy rate. Kevin De Bruyne, the central midfielder, crossed the ball 180 times with a 17% accuracy rate in 30 appearances. Riyad Mahrez played 28 games as a right winger and crossed the ball a total of 97 times in 28 appearances. Finally, striker Gabriel Jesus only crossed the ball 24 times in 28 appearances.
Looking at these statistics from the top two teams in the premier league this season, it is clear that different teams rely on different players and positions to deliver crosses into the box. Both teams crossed the ball a similar number of times. Manchester City seems to rely more heavily on their central midfielders to serve crosses into the box while Liverpool relies more on their outside defenders.
Ultimately what seems to matter most from the data is each player’s crossing accuracy. Trent Alexander-Arnold had a 30% crossing accuracy which led to a total of 12 assists. Andrew Robertson has a 23% accuracy rate leading to a total of 10 assists.
How to Improve Your Crosses Into the Box
The main takeaway from this article should be that anyone and everyone on the field should be able to deliver crosses into the box. If you can master the ability to send accurate crosses to your teammates, you are more likely to earn more assists. This will always help your team towards a win.
Not sure how you can start improving your crossing accuracy on your own? Check out some of Coach Mike’s favorite drills for improving your crossing technique and accuracy.
3 Drills for Improving Crossing Into the Box
Crosses to Near Post - Both Feet
Set up a marker around the near post just inside the 6-yard box. Start with a ball in the wide right or left channel behind two cones. Push the ball between the cones and serve a cross into the near post, trying to hit your marker or target. Focus on hitting the ball with pace and in an area that might be tough for the keeper to read. Repeat on both feet and try crossing from different angles.
Crosses to Middle of Box - Both Feet
Set up a marker around the middle of the 18-yard box near the penalty spot. Start with a ball in the wide right or left channel behind two cones. Push the ball between the cones and serve a cross into the middle of the box, trying to hit your marker or target. Focus on hitting the ball with a little bit of height to clear any defenders. Repeat on both feet and try curling or driving the ball with your laces from different angles.
Crosses to Top of Box - Both Feet
Set up a marker around the top of the 18-yard box near the half-circle. Start with a ball in the wide right or left channel behind two cones. Push the ball between the cones and serve a cross to the top of the box, trying to hit your marker or target. Focus on hitting the ball low with a good pace. Repeat on both feet and try curling or driving the ball with your laces from different angles.
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