Theo: You’re Running the Wrong Way, Man

From today’s game. Apologies for the awkward size of pictures as I am writing this from my tablet. I had to point this out though, as this had me screaming obscenities at the TV until the final whistle. Unbelievable opportunity late-on spurned by poor decision making. Let’s go to the replay…

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Gervinho cleverly skip past his man. Theo has open country straight in front of him and yards before the offside line. A ball ahead of him, Theo’s lightning pace, and he’s going one-on-one with the keeper. Instead…

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Theo runs not forward into open space, not towards the ball, but away and into double coverage. Gervinho moves out wide for the cross.

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By the time the cross is delivered, Theo and Giroud (who have moved into the same position on the pitch) are now easily marked by two or three active defenders and are basically attacking the same ball, meaning the cross is only going to come into one possible area (making defending it simple).

My question is: Why would you run on an angle towards the centre of the box where two defenders are? Why would you move to the exact position your centre forward is in?

I don’t claim to be a proficient player (I’m not good) nor an astute tactician (I never played at a high level, because I’m awful) but this seems like 101 stuff. Theo should have blasted straight forward, Gervinho should have put a weighted pass in front of him, and Theo should have got us three undeserved points late-on.

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