Corners may have been overestimated in Rome
Wise words from the Soccer Boffin
Serie A: Roma v Udinese
The second-highest corners total in Serie A this season was 18 when Roma played at home to Inter. Roma’s home games have produced big corners make-ups unusually often for an unusually long time.
Even so it is just possible that the chance of a low number of flag- kicks in Roma’s game at home to Udinese has been underestimated by bet365.
Back under 12 Asian total corners at decimal odds of 1.95 – equivalent to fractional odds of 19-20. If the make-up is below 12 the bet will win, if it is 12 stakes will be returned and if it is above 12 the bet will lose.
Roma’s home game against Inter saw their old coach return with his new team. Luciano Spalletti’s players became involved in an uncommonly large number of high corners make-ups in both his spells with Roma and have been in his early days at Inter.
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With or without Spalletti on a Stadio Olimpico bench, Roma’s home games have featured an unusually big number of high corners totals across 12 and a bit seasons – not in every one, but in nearly all.
This can probably be attributed to a combination of styles of play and random influences. It cannot be attributed to the pitch. Lazio also play in the Stadio Olimpico and over the same long period their home games have yielded about the same number of corners as the home games of other Serie A teams – slightly more, but not many.
Odds of 1.95 imply a 51 per cent chance of a bet being successful. Since the start of season 2005-06 corners make-ups in Roma’s home games have occurred as follows: under 12 in 49 per cent of games, 12 in 12 per cent and over 12 in 39 per cent. The ratio of low to high makeups was 56 to 44.
If anything the proportion of low make-ups is more likely to go up in future than go down. Because that is the way such things tend to work. The chance of something abnormal becoming more normal is greater than the chance of it becoming even more abnormal – though of course either can happen.
New Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco watched flag-kick after flag-kick fly in last season from the sidelines of Sassuolo’s games, but that was unusual for him. Udinese coach Luigi Delneri does not have any meaningful history of preparing teams whose games require a lot of corner kicks.
Under 12 Asian total corners Roma v Udinese
1pt 19-20 bet365
Thought of the day
Manchester City and Manchester United are joint-top of the Premier League. Both have won four, drawn one and lost none, scoring 16 goals and conceding two. If they have identical records after 38 games, and are still above everyone else, the title will be decided by a playoff or playoffs. The Premier League will decide which if it has to.
Teams are more likely to be locked together near the start of a season than at the end. But six times in what we now call the Premier League a season has finished with the top two level on points, though never yet on everything else.
The most recent occasion was in 2012 involving the same two teams. City won the title instead of United on goal difference.
The first four times the top two finished level on points the champions were chosen by goal average. That happened in 1924 (when Huddersfield were placed above Cardiff), in 1950 (Portsmouth above Wolves), 1953 (Arsenal above Preston) and 1965 (Manchester United above Leeds).
Goal average was goals scored divided by goals conceded. It was replaced by goal difference from season 1976-77 because it encouraged low-scoring games. Imagine two teams: one scored 70 and conceded 40, the other scored 69 and conceded 39.
They have the same goal difference. The first scored more and would now be placed higher. The second, though, has a better goal average – 1.77 compared with 1.75, to save you the trouble of reaching for a calculator.
The last four times the top two finished level on points they had identical won-drawn-lost records. That happened in 1953, 1965 and 2012 – all three have already been discussed – and in 1989, which was the closest title race yet.
Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 in the last game to move level with them on points and goal difference, but ahead on goals scored.
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