A successful nutmeg elicits cheers and oohs and ahhs from the crowd, but when it’s unsuccessful, it’s often a big let down to one’s team in general and can lead to a counter attack or even change in the momentum of the game.
A nutmeg is demoralizing to the player who’s the victim of the nutmeg, but can revitalize a team that’s successful megged a player. It is the move of a showoff or a genius. The meg could be the most crowd-pleasing move besides a goal, and sometimes animates people more than a goal itself. It is right up there in terms of excitement level with the diving header, the bicycle kick and the first time volley.
If you are going to try to nutmeg someone it better work, it’s as simple as that. There are ways to hedge the nutmeg though. One way is to try for the nutmeg when you are along the sidelines, so if the ball doesn’t go through the opponent’s legs then it will go out of bounds and you’ll win a throw-in or a corner. You’ll see a lot of players do this as the game is winding down and they’re trying to kill off the game down in the corners of the field. What’s frustrating though is if someone goes for the meg and it doesn’t work and they just as easily could have played the ball back to a teammate and maintained possession.
But when it works, the meg is a beautiful part of the beautiful game.
Lead the defender away from where you want to go
Catch them off balance or diving in
See if they are coming in too fast and will over commit
Setup the player by beating them a certain way a few times before
Don’t get predictable and try the meg all the time
Of course, the best time to nutmeg someone is when the defender least expects it. And the situation where this most often arises is when a defender over commits. When they’re so eager to win the ball they dive in. They come charging at you or stretch their legs and reach to block a cross or shot.
A nutmeg is really like a very wise cut back. To accomplish a nutmeg you have to lead the defender one why when you really want to go the other direction. Give the impression that they can reach and win the ball. When the defender reaches to tackle or win the ball you slip the ball through their legs.
Unbalanced defender, reaching or diving to block a pass or shot
To make a pass when the players legs are open
The Best Nutmeg Artists In The Game:
The nutmeg can also be done to make a pass or score a goal. I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of goals scored where the ball goes through the keeper’s legs. More often than not though this is an accident and not the intention of the scorer – they just hit the ball low and hard and they’re just happy the ball went in the back of the net. The keeper can't really do anything about it.
Watch Jose Antonio Reyes nutmeg Gary Neville not once but twice:
Warning: Too many players try to nutmeg players when they should just go by them. It’s very frustrating for your team if you lose the ball trying something that is difficult and doesn't always come off successfully. The nutmeg is something that's done when there’s no chance of failure, or if there’s, the ball will go out of bounds for a corner or a throw-in. So don’t try for a meg when you can just go by the players – take what the game gives you and don’t make it more difficult than it is.