Calcio Corner Watch 2September 9, 2016
Aren’t we all happy that the pesky international break is over and we finally can look forward to proper club football? Indeed, the good Lord has been faithful. We’re back on the Serie A corner hunt.
In matchweek 2 of the Serie A just before the break, there was once again a plethora of goals. Italian football continues to defy the commonly peddled (and inaccurate) stereotype of it being all defence and no attack. As in the opening round of fixtures, 32 goals were scored, maintaining the high average of 3.2 goals per game. 6 out of the 10 matches had 3 goals and above and in a similar number of games saw both teams score. Here’s a recap of the results:
Champions Juventus saw off Lazio at the Olimpico 1-0 courtesy of the in-form Sami Khedira; Napoli overran a suicidal Milan 4-2 in that epic six-goal thriller while Inter had to fight back to earn a 1-1 home draw against Palermo. Fiorentina edged Chievo 1-0; Sassuolo were brought back down to earth 3-0 by Pescara, while Genoa were 3-1 winners at new boys Crotone. Udinese beat Empoli 2-0; Torino ran riot 5-1 at home to Bologna; Cagliari held Roma 2-2 while Sampdoria were too good for Atalanta 2-1.
The corner stakes weren’t as fruitful as the goals, sadly. For starters, the 10 games in MW2 produced just 84 corners (average of 8.4/game) compared to 106 in MW1 (10.6/game). That represents a 20.75% drop which obviously didn’t bode well for us. That said, an average count of 8.4 is still decent but not quite at the target of 9 that you and I want.
As usual, games involving both the Milan giants had a healthy corner count; 13 in Milan’s visit to Napoli and 12 in Inter’s clash with Palermo. Over 9.5 or 10.5 proved to be ideal in those two cases then. Our main problem was that we opted for Over 4.5 for Milan alone but then they conspired to leave it at just 4 corners as early as the 70th minute. Our calculation, as you can see, was just on track with Milan chasing Napoli but as it is with football, sometimes shit happens. With Napoli ahead 3-2, Milan midfielder Juraj Kucka was sent off to hand the numerical advantage to the Neapolitans who duly took control and the Rossoneri then just couldn’t attack. Mbaye Niang then followed Kucka to an early shower and that’s how the one corner needed failed to materialize. Bollocks!
Another unforeseen disaster was the usually reliable Sassuolo who were outplayed, outscored, outthought, outfought and outcornered by an irresistible Pescara. I did not see that coming, truth be told. The total corner count was a decent 9, but surprise surprise, 7-2 in favour of Pescara – a ‘facepalm’ moment if there was one. The only positive from that result is that at least now we have another team in the reckoning, Pescara. Let’s keep an eye on them and see whether their purple patch holds out.
Roma is another team that we usually pin our hopes on, but as it happened, not only did they not win the match, they brought home only 3 corners, which was one less than their opponents Cagliari to bring the total to a paltry 7. What this could have confirmed though is my long held fear that the Romans are absolutely useless away from the Eternal City.
Our anti-corner teams true to form did not violate the script, thankfully. For Juve’s visit to Lazio, there were only 6 corners with Lazio grabbing the lion’s share, 4. There’s just a way that the Old Lady of Turin locks up these league games that just warms the heart. Long may it continue. Fiorentina hosted Chievo and even though the corner count was a modest 8, it was still rather surprisingly more than we anticipated. Still, it satisfied the Under 8.5 option and that’s always splendid news.
Onwards onto this weekend’s fixtures then. Juventus face Sassuolo at the J Stadium with one eye on their midweek European assignment. You get a feeling they will want to be professional and see out this match with minimal risk and minimal fuss. For Sassuolo, they face a vastly superior side and will be on the back foot for most of the 90 minutes. Under 8.5 looks solid enough. Milan are at home to Udinese and in desperate need of redemption following that horror show in Naples. They will seek to attack and surely are good enough value for Over 4.5 or even Over 10.5 overall.
Fiorentina are away to Genoa and this too is a game you expect to be bereft of corners. The Viola away are a tad methodical in their play and so the Under 8.5 should be nailed on. Roma host Sampdoria and in as much as I don’t expect too many corners, I fully expect Roma be on the offensive and win the corner count (and the game too). My beloved Inter are away at the hot young things of Pescara and it should be epic considering the hosts can’t seem to put a foot wrong and we’re looking for our first win of the season. There’s also the small matter of Frank De Boer unleashing new signings Joao Mario and the scarily named Gabigol, which should add extra spice, don’t you think? There will be all-out action with the corner count in the region of 12, but just to be safe, let’s go with Over 10.5.
Napoli have forced their way into our thoughts and into this elite group following their haul of 18 corners across their first two games (9 apiece). Apparently their quick attacking football means their opponents must always defend, and the more you defend, the more they throw at you and the more corners you concede. They visit Palermo and in as much as it is debatable as to whether the home side will join in the corner fun, I reckon it’s pretty standard that Napoli will do the attacking and garner more corners than Palermo. This is not conclusive though, so tread carefully.
Alright, that’s about it. Here’s to end to end attacking and corners aplenty. Enjoy your weekend.