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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Atletico Madrid should boss Getafe corners battle

Long-term trends point to a bet at Wanda Metropolitano

Koke's Atletico Madrid are hot favourites for the derby against Getafe
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Atletico Madrid v Getafe
La Liga, midday Saturday

In only two out of seven games in their new stadium have Atletico Madrid won the corners count by more than two. That is surprisingly few. The chance of those figures becoming three out of eight on Saturday may be better than bet365 anticipate.

In their televised La Liga game at home to Getafe, back Atletico on an Asian corners handicap of –2 at decimal odds of 1.95 – equivalent to fractional odds of 19-20. If Atletico win the corner count by three or more the bet will succeed, if they win it by two stakes will be refunded and if anything else happens the bet will fail.

Atleti moved into the Wanda Metropolitano this season. Their results have been comparable to those in the Vicente Calderon. The points- per-game ratio is a bit lower, but two of the seven matches have been against Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Even in the other fixtures, though, Atletico took only slightly more corners than their opponents. That is strange and unlikely to continue.

The pitch at the Wanda Metropolitano measures 105 x 68 metres. At Vicente Calderon it measured 105 x 70. So the playing area is the same length and only two metres narrower – one pace either side. There is no reason why Atletico’s play should be fundamentally different in the new stadium from how it was in the old one.

For the last five-and-a-half seasons Atletico have been one of the best three teams in Spain, along with Barcelona and Real Madrid. Coached by Diego Simeone they have not often had a lot of possession, but when they did get the ball they tended to move it quickly into the attacking third.

So there is no reason why they should have a persistently low share of the corners, and in the past they did not.

Without the ball when they are at their best, Atleti are superb at keeping opponents in front of them.

Atletico v Getafe is a derby, though one that will mean more to the visitors than the hosts, which is not a good thing when you are backing the home team to force corner after corner. However this is a comparatively small consideration.

The result-related markets imply something like a 77 per cent chance of Atletico scoring each goal that is scored. In their last five seasons at Vicente Calderon they scored 79 per cent of all goals.

During that time a fair price about Atletico beating an Asian corners handicap of -2 would generally have been shorter than 1.95. And there are reasons for thinking it would be in the clash with Getafe.

Atletico Madrid -2 Asian handicap corners
1pt 1.95 bet365

Bet on this game at

La Liga standings

Thought for the day

Arsene Wenger was wrong to say that Premier League referees who make mistakes should be relegated to the Championship. What good would it do?

Referees will get a percentage of their decisions wrong. What purpose would be served by punishing them when they make a mistake? A striker will miss a percentage of his shots. Criticising him when he misses would be as senseless as praising him when he scores – though plenty of people still do both.

Even machines have error-rates. Goods coming off a production line are not identical. There is variation, some of which a manufacturer will accept and some of which, if it is spotted, they will not.

The machine is the same at all times, though – when it is making a near-perfect specimen and when it is spitting out a rogue item that should be binned.

Errors are a natural but randomly occurring consequence of imperfect things, whether those things are human or human-made machines.

Wenger was angry that Mike Dean had awarded West Bromwich a penalty against Arsenal on New Year’s Eve. Dean thought he saw Calum Chambers raise an arm and block the ball. He was mistaken. That did not happen.

But human perception is imperfect, so referees will sometimes see things that did not happen. Like everyone else. And just because a referee was fooled by an optical illusion last time does not mean he will be next time.

On Wednesday Anthony Taylor awarded Chelsea a penalty against Arsenal. Wenger complained about that decision, too, but it was correct.

If a referee makes many more mistakes than his colleagues over a long period perhaps he should be demoted, but that has not happened.

On Tuesday assistant referee Marc Perry apologised to Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal for wrongly keeping his flag down when Fernando Llorente scored for Tottenham while offside. Carvalhal said: “The linesman apologised. It’s part of the game. I do make mistakes also.”

Saying that when you have been wronged is hard, but it is right.

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There is no reason why they should have a persistently low share of the corners, and in the past they did not
E.W. Terms
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