Cornering the xG market

Man United concede the most xG per corner in the Premier League. Chelsea the least.

In practical terms it means that United should be expecting to concede a goal from a corner situation once every three games. For Chelsea it’s more like every six games. Considering they both concede corners at similar rates, that’s quite a big deal.

How does that look? Like this:

You can see the glut of chances that United concede firmly in their 6 yard box. Chelsea have conceded just one.

I look at this and immediately think: Thibaut

So I check the numbers and find that on average, keepers have come and got something on the ball at corner situations around 8% of the time this season in the Premier League.

Courtois has done this 11% of the time this season and De Gea 5%. But in reality that works out to just 7 extra corners from around 130 of the buggers for both of them.

I had a quick look at some footage of them against Everton. Everton have a pretty standard pattern of having 3 or 4 vertically lining up to start with just to the right side of the penalty spot.

There’s similarities between United and Chelsea dealing with it (a fairly standard 3 man zonal set up at the near post area) but for me there’s a big difference in defensive starting positions and shape between the 6 yard box and penalty spot.

United go tighter man for man straight away, and get themselves into some weird higgledy piggeldy positions from the off (sometimes even in a vertical line) and at least half of them are eyeing man instead of ball. The body shape goes off for when the delivery comes in, and their blocking is ineffective. It all ends in a mess pretty regularly, making it extremely difficult to attack the ball. The starting positions are easier to see in stills:

Contrast this with Chelsea getting themselves in a nice line (going man for man numbers wise) and giving themselves room to attack the ball.

Because Chelsea are not stupidly tight from the off, following the Everton players all over, the Everton attackers are less inclined to starburst as they’d have to go into wider areas. Chelsea retain control of the situation.

This post was intended to be about Everton v Brighton this weekend but I got distracted. However, Brighton are god awful at defending corners too. They’ve been dismal at preventing good shots on target from opposition on corners

So how do Brighton set up defensively at corners? Like United or Chelsea?

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