Ipswich could dominate corner count in face of Wolves attack
Tractor Boys may have to chase game
Ipswich v Wolves
Sky Bet Championship
Kick-off 3pm Saturday
The chance of Ipswich taking most corners in their Sky Bet Championship game at home to Wolves may be higher than estimated by Betfair and Paddy Power. Back the hosts to flight most flag kicks at 23-10.
Although Ipswich are likely to see less of the ball and do less of the attacking, there are still reasons for thinking that the chance of them forcing most corners might be better than the 30 per cent implied by odds of 23-10.
Wolves are runaway leaders of the Championship, nine points ahead of second-place Derby. They have been funded by Chinese investment company Fosun International and are managed by Nuno Espirito Santo, whose previous two jobs were with Porto and Valencia. They ought to be pretty good and they are.
By any reckoning Wolves are the team likely to score most goals at Portman Road. Odds in the home/draw/away market, stripped of their overrounds, imply an 18 per cent chance of an Ipswich win, a 26 per cent chance of a draw and a 56 per cent chance of a Wolves win. So they are heavily stacked toward an away win, but understandably so.
How are corners split usually in such a game? Over the previous 20 seasons in the Football League the proportion of such games in which the home team took more corners was 40 per cent. That is a lot more than 30 per cent.
Admittedly Ipswich have taken an unusually small share of the corners in their home games over the last season and a half. This season, though, Wolves have also forced an unusually small share of the corners, home and away, considering the number of goals they have scored and conceded, how much attacking they have done and how long they have controlled the ball.
In fact Wolves have lost the corners match bet in half of their 14 away games. That does not matter to them, of course. In most of those games they scored more goals.
How many corners Ipswich and Wolves take today will be influenced by how the score develops. If Wolves take an early lead Ipswich will have to go after an equaliser, during which time the number of corners they are likely to take will rise. The longer in the game that Wolves are level, or behind, the longer they will have to spend attacking intensely, and during that time the number of corners they are likely to take will rise.
Overall the chance of Ipswich taking most corners may be higher than envisaged by Betfair and Paddy Power.
Ipswich corner match bet
0.5pt 23-10 Betfair, Paddy Power
Thought for the day
Geoffrey Green, a football writer with a poet’s turn of phrase, was asked in 1960 to write The Official History of the FA Cup.
“There is a charm about this great competition,” Green wrote. “It lies in the fact that it is the most democratic of contests. The giants cannot disport themselves in their own class; they must be prepared to face the dwarfs of lower spheres, and sometimes – indeed, very often – they come down with a resounding crash.”
“Proverbially, a good big one can always beat a good little one, but the fact that sometimes he does not adds a spice to life.”
There is perhaps less spice in life than Green thought he had tasted.
It is not surprising that the FA Cup is known as a scene of giant killings. Only in knockout competitions do lower-level teams play higher-level opponents, so it is only in a knockout competition that a lower-level team can beat a higher-division opponent. And sometimes they do, but perhaps not as often as we think we remember.
Arthur Drewry, then FA chairman, wrote an introduction to Green’s book. Drewry also described the FA Cup as a democratic competition, though one in which “the prize goes regularly to one of our famous and powerful League clubs”. It still does.
There was a sprinkle of surprises earlier this month in the third round. Holders Arsenal were knocked out by Championship Nottingham Forest. Bournemouth went out after a replay with League One Wigan. Stoke were beaten by League Two Coventry. Three other Premier League teams lost to Premier League opponents.
What we are left with is not unusual, though. When the fourth round draw was finalised there were 14 teams from the Premier League, ten from the Championship, four from League One and four from League Two.
Over the previous 25 seasons a typical fourth round draw comprised 15 teams from the Premier League, ten or 11 from the Championship, four from League One, two from League Two and one or none from below the Football League. Hardly any difference.
Typically there were nine or ten Premier League teams in the fifth round, six in the quarter-finals, three or four in the semi-finals and two in the final.
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