There’s heated debate in the stats community about the real value of corner kicks in soccer.
Traditionally, corners are looked at as goal-scoring opportunities.
But a few years ago, authors Chris Anderson and David Sally wrote a book where they broke down the data and concluded that corners don’t really matter, and lead to a statistically insignificant number of goals. The average EPL team only scores on a corner once every 10 games, for example.
Now, University of Colorado professor Roger Piekle Jr. has done his own maths and concluded that corners are SUPER valuable.
He found that corners are 200% as valuable as the average pass.
- Anderson and Sally found that 20.5% of corners lead to a shot within three passes, and 11% of those shots go in. So every corner is worth 0.022 goals.
- Piekle found that there were 285,482 passes completed in the 2012/13 Premier League season. 3,024 of those passes led to a goal (“led to” meaning came within three passes of the goal being scored). Therefore the average pass is worth 0.011 goals.
- So a corner kick (worth 0.022 goals) is actually twice as valuable as an average pass (0.011 goals).
There are some caveats here. How much is the average pass in the final third of the field worth? And is that it much different than a corner?
But it’s intriguing.
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