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Cutbacks & Crosses

Cutbacks & crosses are an effective and clinical way of creating and scoring goals. UEFA A licensed academy coach, Dan Wright shares his excellent video analysis of the key factors that contribute to success from cutbacks & discusses whether traditional crossing & finishing is the future.




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

I 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 can be found at the links below:

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