City continue to fall foul of the ‘c’ word…

With Pep Guardiola at the helm, a reputed £250m transfer budget to be invested this summer and an abundance of talent already at the Etihad, it’s widely acknowledged that City could – even should – corner the market in domestic trophies next season.

Why do City appear to ‘bottle it’ when it comes to scoring from corners?

As Pep heeds the lessons of his debut Premier League season, and his players  – existing and incoming – become ever more familiar with his playing philosophy and high intensity demands, City will spring from the traps as the main challengers to Chelsea’s supremacy.

But Pep’s life, and City’s quest, would be a darn sight easier if only they could master performing in – and from – the small quarter segments on the field of play.

The topic in question is City’s constant failings when it comes to the ‘c’ word – corners.

Corner kick calamities – City are bottom of the corner kicks-converted-into-goals Premier League table.

It’ll come as little or no surprise to City supporters that their beloved Blues have THE WORST conversion rate of corner kicks leading to goals in the Premier League.

Most City fans tend not to get over excited when the team wins a corner, and now there’s proof – if proof were needed – that the instincts of the City faithful are bang on – unlike the corner kicks of the players.

New analysis of the percentage of corner kicks converted into goals in top flight English football places City firmly at the bottom of the table.

Rock Bottom – One look at this table explains why City fans don’t get over excited when the team wins a corner.

A meagre 1.5% of City’s 259 corners this season have resulted in a goal – a sum total of four.

Contrast that with corner kick table-toppers WBA – who’ve scored 15 times from 149 corners at a rate of 10.1% – and you have a perverse football conundrum – do you take Baggies boss Tony Pulis over Pep?

One for the training ground ‘To Do’ list – Pep needs to get his players practicing corners!

The answer is obviously a resounding ‘no’ but, if City could match Albion’s scoring prowess at corners, Guardiola’s team would be 22 goals better off and God knows how many points to the good?

Bloody hell, even Sunderland, equipped with David ‘Football Genius’ Moyes, have a better strike rate at 2% with three goals from 147 corners.

Sweet strike – Yaya Toure hits a dead ball better than most City players, yet hardly ever – if ever – takes a corner. Why?

Of course there’s lies, damned lies and statistics, but every City fan will bear witness to the all too often insipid delivery as the City corner fails to beat the first man, is headed away with consummate ease by a defender or glides effortlessly into the arms of the opposing keeper.

It’s even more alarming and perplexing when City have the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Yaya Toure, Aleks Kolarov and others who can strike a dead ball so sweetly.

Align that to players who are regarded as great headers of a ball – Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi even John Stones – and you find yourself asking why are City so poor at corners?

Inspirational leader – Vincent Kompany headed in direct from a corner in City’s 3-0 win at Southampton last month.

Admittedly, corner kicks are but one facet of play, but it’s one which is generally regarded as a distinct advantage for the attacking team. You only have to hear the ripple, sometimes crescendo, of anticipation from fans of opposing teams as they get Willy Caballero or Claudio Bravo’s goal in their crosshairs.

City fans are somewhat more restrained, and with good reason.

City’s relative impotence when it comes to corners isn’t some strange phenomenon under Guardiola.

Rare event – Martin Demichelis scored direct from a corner against Arsenal in September 2014…and then came a six month drought!

Cast your minds back to when Martin Demichelis headed in an 83rd minute equaliser at the Emirates direct from a corner, in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal on 13th September 2014.

Incredibly it took more than six months before City scored again as a result of a corner kick when Fernando bundled in a scrappy 40th minute goal, ironically against of all teams, WBA on 21st March 2015. There was even a bespoke Twitter account – by a City fan – dedicated to the months, weeks, days, minutes, seconds and failed attempts during that period.

Praise The Lord – miracles can happen…Fernando scored…and from a corner against WBA in March 2015.

It appears City have been fully paid up members of the CCKC (Crappy Corner Kick Club) for far too long – it’s time to get it sorted – and another item to put on Pep’s ‘To Do’ List this summer.

 

By David Walker

 Statistics and percentages courtesy of The Times. Manchester City embellishments by RNBR.

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

 

6 Comments

  1. May 10, 2017  9:53 pm by Geoff Blake Reply

    Hi David, thanks for this interesting confirmation of what we already know! Incredible that we have actually won the most corners on that list...
    Is there any similar research to show how many goals are conceded from corners at the other end?
    Always look forward to your slightly off-beat look at City life- one thing is that you sure are unpredictable - we never know what topic you are going to home in on for your next article
    Thanks again
    Best Rgds
    Geoff, Dunstable

    • May 10, 2017  11:28 pm by David Walker Reply

      Offbeat? Blimey you'll have me on the road to the Home for the Bewildered & Befuddled before too long :-) In all seriousness thanks for the feedback and, in answer to your question, I have no idea if the stats are out there analysing defensive performances at corner kicks - might make for interesting reading.

      As for being unpredictable, I have no idea what I'm going to write about from one blog to the next, so what chance does that give you? All I can say is thanks for your feedback and for taking an interest in RBNR.

  2. May 10, 2017  10:34 pm by Ian Barton Reply

    Genuinely believe that we should be taking inswinging corners with some pace on them, the slightest touch can bring a goal. Seem to remember we did this under Bobby Manc & although I don't have the facts to support it I believe that we were far more successful.
    Back in the 70's when Sheffield United were decent they were devastating from corners, Woodward on one side & Currie on the other striking them in with pace, always looked like scoring. No surprise that West Brom do well given the quality of ball striking that Brunt gives them. Surely KDB could match that for us with inswingers from the left & Kolorov doing the same from the right???

    • May 10, 2017  11:20 pm by David Walker Reply

      A friend of mine on Twitter @AlanThistle quoted the fact that in 2011-12 under Mancini, we scored 15 goals from corners, predominantly from inswinging corners. You're absolutely spot on. Lest we forget our final home game of the season is against WBA - let's hope we don't concede too many corners that night. Yes, I remember the Blades having that threat from Currie and Woodward and Pep really should be addressing City's corner kicking issues - it's a pathetic return isn't it? Really glad this comment made it through cyberspace - I still have absolutely no idea what happened to the essay you penned after the FA Cup semi final. Thanks fella.

  3. May 22, 2017  3:30 pm by David Richards Reply

    Remembering further back to the beginning of a season where Andy Hinchcliffe inswinging corners were being put away by David White at the far post. As long as you don't hit the first defender as we kept doing a few years ago, that is infuriating.

    • May 25, 2017  1:53 pm by David Walker Reply

      Let's hope for inswingers in 2017/18.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

On song or off key? Chelsea v Man City

There’s a fat lady in London SW 6 preparing to break into song tonight. If the obese vocalist is moved to belt out a chorus in the wake of a Chelsea win, it’ll mean Jose Mourin[...]