Defending from set pieces has been the downfall for Sydney FC with the Sky Blues failing to contain their opponents’ routine free kicks and corners in recent times.

Over the course of the last month Sydney have recorded four defeats, two draws and one win with their sole victory arriving in the A-League against rivals Western Sydney Wanderers at the back end of February.

The Sky Blues’ last three matches have been of concern with Graham Arnold’s men conceding a staggering four goals from set pieces.

Japanese heavyweights Kashima Antlers exploited Sydney’s defensive frailties in their recent 2-0 victory at Allianz Stadium with both goals arriving from errors in the Sky Blues’ defensive third.

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The defensive performance from the league leaders in last night’s defeat to Brisbane Roar highlighted that they had not learnt from their mistakes in the AFC Champions League.

Matt McKay and Jacob Pepper pounced on Sydney’s lack of concentration as they secured the all-important goals for John Aloisi’s side.

The Brisbane coach was well aware that he could target Sydney from set pieces with much of the side’s training in the lead up to the match based on dead ball situations.

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“Set pieces, we knew we could hurt them. As we’ve seen in the last few games in the Champions League, they’ve been hurt off some set pieces,” Aloisi said.

“We’ve got two players that can deliver the ball really well, Khalfallah and Bautheac and then there’s also the timings of the runs and making spaces. The delivery and the timing was good.”

Lapses at the back and poor marking off set pieces has become a bad habit for the league leaders however Arnold is working hard to address the issue.

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“We work on them at training, it’s concentration and focus. Set pieces are a big part of modern football,” Arnold said.

Arnold’s side have switched off in the defensive third on an alarming amount of occasions over their last couple of matches while to add to their issues, their attacking displays have lacked the usual conviction that they have displayed throughout the course of the season.

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With only three goals from their last four matches, Sydney’s attacking force has become predictable.

The Sydney coach would benefit from rotating his attacking line-up to provide some of his players with much needed rest in between their ACL and A-League matches.

After his midweek exploits in Japan, Adrian Mierzejewski was not at his usual best in last night’s encounter and Fabio Ferreira is a prime example of a player who could have stepped in and provided Sydney with an alternative style as they looked to breakdown their opponents.

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Studying Journalism at UTS. Obsessed with football and a die hard supporter of Sydney FC and Liverpool FC in the EPL