The Roar
The Roar



Our undeserving obsession with corners

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Roar Rookie
5th January, 2023

It’s the last minute of a must-win game. Your team have a corner. As the cross comes in, you’re shaking with nerves. It’s got to go in, right?

A whole article about corners is probably not what you were looking for, nor what you were expecting, but here we are.

A lot of you have probably experienced what I just described; I certainly have. Those crosses seem destined to land on the lanky no.5s head, and power into the back of the net.

It’s not just at the end of games, though. Any corner awarded will lead to a rampant applause from the fans, and bums slowly lifting out of seats in expectation.

Corners feel like golden opportunities, precious moments that seem like a culmination of pressure, that will surely provide a great chance. Yet, how much of this is actually likely to happen, or is it just wishful thinking?

When I researched the internet for solid data on corners, information was sparse. A non-existent site here, a dodgy website there.

There was, however, a Washington Post article from 2014 that had a bit of promise. Opta statistics showed that from 2011-13 in the Premier League, over 12,000 corners were taken, with over 10,969 resulting in a direct cross, with the others taken short.


Just 12 percent of those 10,969 corners produced a shot directly from the corner. Yep, just 12%! That means the vast majority of corners are wasted, with the attacking chance completely squandered. So maybe that corner you team has is not so likely to go in after all.

1,362 shots were the direct result of corners (i.e. the shot was the second touch of the play), and of those less than 2 percent were put in the back of the net.

Roar and Wanderers.

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Although, goals from corners aren’t always as simple as that. If you include goal mouth scrambles that resulted in a goal, the figure for goals from corners rises to slightly over 2 percent.

On average, it takes about 30 attempts for a corner to go in, that’s a lot of wasted opportunities. So why is so much weight put on corners if they so rarely deliver?

Well, it might be due to the fact that at a first glance, corners look easy to score, and when the ball is put in the net, it looks very simple. Cross, header, goal. Easy. Yet so few corners work that way. It must be remembered that opposition sides could not be more prepared for a corner, it’s not like a cross from a quick counter-attack.

The cross must be good enough for the ball to be contestable, and that is not always a guarantee, think how often corners are overhit or angled miles away from the intended target.


Teams also have an equal chance of winning the ball, so 50 percent of the time it will be cleared away. It then must be a great header for the ball to finally nestle satisfyingly in the back of the net.

So remember this, when your side next has a corner. Don’t get too excited, or very often, you’ll end up disappointed.