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Author: Mattia Fontana

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“Why not kicking direct from a corner kick ?” So many fans end up asking this question every time their team plays, proving how difficult is to understand coaches strategies on set-pieces.

The variety of offensive ways goes hand in hand with the careful analysis of the best defence modalities available to a team . So, you often end up wondering why they choose an option instead of another more traditional solution.

Considering the growing importance of place kicks, this is an interesting tactical battle among coaches.

Regarding corners, in the top five Leagues in Europe (Bundesliga, Liga, Ligue 1, A League and Premier League)  we find out that nobody did better than Real Madrid with 11 goals scored from corners. Crystal Palace, Montpellier and Tottenham (10)follow , whilst Athletic Bilbao is slightly detached in third place (9).

Let’s try to understand which attacking options have been mostly adopted during the season, by analysing some of the best teams and the way they attack the opposition zone.
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REAL MADRID – CELTA VIGO

Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal in Real Madrid-Celta Vigo. Galicians do zone marking with 7 men (large rectangle) and man to man marking with two other men(small rectangle). Merengues kick in a classic way, right-foot towards the target.
Likewise, in a traditional way Cristiano Ronaldo is able to free himself from the marking, to enter the large rectangle and to hit an header, taking advantage of the run-up given by the defense of Celta. His movement is decisive, as well as the movement of the three teammates  in front of him before the corner.
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INTER – LAZIO

Often the zonal marking offers to the team kicking the corner the chance to shot directly with a player from outside the penalty box. An example? Candreva’s goal in Inter-Lazio.
Biabiany remains too close to teammates inside the area, so Lazio has three players available: Radu, Felipe Anderson and Candreva. Candreva is the one.
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INTER – BOLOGNA

Inter has scored 7 goals on corner, being the best team in Serie A. Against Bologna Inter scored  even twice. How? In both cases they adopted a scheme that bypasses the mixed zone of Bologna.
Corner kick directly kicked  to a player (in this case, Miranda) who passes the ball to the player in charge of scoring (D’Ambrosio). The best way to beat a rearguard that until the challenge of San Siro never suffered from corners.
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ATLETICO MADRID – BETIS SEVILLA

Gimenez’ goals in Atletico Madrid-Sevilla. Simeone has always been a master in taking advantage of  set pieces. A good example comes from the game against Betis Sevilla. Betis Sevilla creates scrum in the penalty box to prevent Atletico players from moving. So here is the winning option. They don’t kick the corner towards the penalty box, but on a free player outside the box, who kicks the ball in the middle and finds a new situation. Gimenez hits and score.
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SERIE A:
Inter 7
Milan 6
Atalanta, Roma, Verona 5

PREMIER LEAGUE:
Crystal Palace and Tottenham 10
Manchester City and WBA 8
Bournemouth, Everton and Norwich 7
Liverpool and Southampton 6
Leicester 5

LIGA:
Real Madrid 11
Athletic Bilbao 9
Atletico Madrid 7
Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano 6
Betis Seville, Eibar and Las Palmas 5

LIGUE 1:
Montpellier 10
Bordeaux 8
St. Etienne 7
Monaco and Olympique Marisglia 6
Angers, Ajaccio, Bastia and Lyon 5

BUNDESLIGA:
Darmstadt and Stuttgart 7
Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen 6
Borussia Dortmund and Hannover 5
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Mattia Fontana
Mattia Fontana, Eurosport Italia editor.
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