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Zombies and some other mobs (slimes, silverfish, endermites...) sometimes don't succeed in hitting you if you aren't in the middle of a block. Instead they will try to hit the middle of the block.
Steps to reproduce:
- Create a superflat world with cheats enabled
- Run the command /tp @p 0 ~ 0.9
- Run the command /gamerule doMobSpawning false
- Run the command /time set night
- Run the command /summon Zombie ~ ~ ~-5
This does not always seem to work, tough.
Or an easier method:
- Place down a wall an walk as close to it as you can
- Spawn a zombie in front of you and note how it doesn't succeed in hitting you