Sky Sports’ tactical expert Danny Higginbotham explains the relative merits of zonal and man-to-man marking before offering a solution to the problem… The familiar debate about the merits of zonal marking has flared up again following a spate of defensive errors from set-pieces. Authentic Gerald Henderson Jersey .A summer directive to referees put the spotlight on shirt-pulling from corners and Stoke were twice punished with penalties for fouls committed as the ball made its way into their area. Those infringements forced Mark Hughes to consider switching to zonal marking but Liverpool are among a number of clubs already struggling at the back using that method.Indeed, at the current rate, the 2016/17 campaign is set to see more goals conceded from set-pieces than any of the previous five seasons. So whats the solution?As former Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham explains, its not necessarily a case of one method or the other. Both have their benefits - but getting the balance right is the tricky part.Managers are worried about players holding shirts, getting blocked and opponents getting into areas that are really troublesome for defenders, says Higginbotham. Danny Higginbotham discusses the pros and cons of zonal marking What weve seen is that teams are going with zonal marking and its causing a lot of problems.The problem that you have is that these players are more or less stood in a line. When youre doing zonal youll tell the person stood next to you to stretch their hands out.You should then be touching their hands. What thats supposed to do is stop gaps appearing for the opposition players to run through.But as weve seen with a few teams this season, with Stoke City and even Leicester City at times, is that opposition players are getting into positions that can cause real problems. If youve got a man and he scores then you know youre in for it at half-time. When you play zonal, players will go into the dressing room and say, Hes gone out of my zone. Danny Higginbotham I know as a defender if Im marking zonal, Ive got a standing start. The opponents are giving themselves a run and so theres only going to be one winner.Higginbotham believes that there is a benefit in giving players responsibility to mark another individual rather than allow excuses to be made.In the dressing room before a game you know the man you are going to mark, he says. If youve got a man and he scores then you know youre in for it at half-time. Premier League goals from set-pieces Season Set-piece goals 2012/13 227 2013/14 225 2014/15 217 2015/16 226 2016/17 45 *projected at 244 When you play zonal, players will go into the dressing room, whether at half-time or full-time, and are going to be saying, Hes gone out of my zone, hes gone out of my area.However, Higginbotham believes there are advantages to zonal marking. What zonal will stop is people pulling shirts and stuff like that, he adds. The other thing it will do is stop people being blocked.As a result, Higginbothams preference is for a hybrid system that fuses elements of both the zonal and man-to-man systems.Thats what Stoke used during his time at the club, conceding only 16 goals from set-pieces in 2010/11 - in contrast to the seven conceded in their opening six games of 2016/17.The way we used to do it at Stoke City, we were quite successful at it in terms of not conceding many goals, says Higginbotham. Christian Benteke explains why zonal marking makes it easier for him Tony Pulis Stoke would have three zonal men - one at the front, one at the centre making sure that the man cant get close to your goalkeeper and another one at the far post.What Id be saying is that we go back to the first scenario where you have a few zonal markers, he adds.If theres a problem where you have a player in your team who is prone to pulling shirts, you let him become the zonal one and give him the space to run into and attack the ball.Its another situation for teams to resolve and its just a case of getting the best of both worlds without confusing players too much. Also See: Europes best young player Cruyff legacy lives on Mason Plumlee Blazers Jersey . - Zac Leslie scored two goals and assisted on two more, and Justin Nichols made 34 saves as the Guelph Storm blanked the Kitchener Rangers 6-0 in Ontario Hockey League action on Sunday. Brandon Roy Blazers Jersey . "I love the game, its the best job you can have," he explained Tuesday as the players left Joe Louis Arena for the summer. "Ill sit down with my wife and well go from there.DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Defending champion Stephen Gallacher had seven birdies and an eagle on the back nine Saturday to surge past Rory McIlroy and take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic. Gallacher equaled the European Tour record for the lowest nine-hole score with an inward 28 for a 9-under 63. That gave him a 16-under total of 200, with McIlroy in second after 69. Tiger Woods was 11 shots back after a 70. "This is the best back nine Ive had in my career by far," said Gallacher, who started the day four shots behind McIlroy. "So to get myself back into contention when I needed to, and given the stature of this tournament, it feels good." Gallacher started with seven straight pars before a bogey on the eighth. But he birdied the next four holes before an eagle on the par-5 13th, where he hit a 7-iron to within three inches with his second shot. After another par on the next hole, he finished with four straight birdies. "I struggled at the start and played the first four holes a bit ropey," the Scot said. "But I then hit a beautiful drive and 7-iron (at the ninth) to about 3 foot, and from then on I never missed a shot." The Desert Classic is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and Gallacher now has a chance to become the first person to win back-to-back titles at the event.Gerald Henderson Jersey. McIlroy earned his first European Tour victory here in 2009 and is still very much in the hunt despite battling food poisoning during the second round on Friday. McIlroy, who had his lowest score in three years with a 63 in the opening round, mixed three birdies and an eagle with two bogeys on Saturday. "My stomach is better today, still not 100 per cent but its better than it was yesterday," McIlroy said. "I feel like I can catch him (Gallacher) up tomorrow. I dont really want to focus on what hes doing -- try to focus on my own thing." Woods, who won here in 2006 and 2008, failed to get back in contention after a disappointing day on the greens. The top-ranked American had two bogeys and four birdies but missed a number of opportunities to pull closer. "I only hit a couple of bad shots, (but) missed a ton of putts," said Woods, who was in a tie for 37th. "Really hit it good but just threw away a lot of shots." Thorbjoern Olesen of Denmark shot a 65 to sit tied for third with Brooks Koepka of the United States, another two shots behind Gallacher. Race to Dubai winner Henrik Stenson fell out of contention with a 75 that included two double bogeys and left him 12 shots back. 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