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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Reading can boss the corner count against Derby

Wise words from the Soccer Boffin

Reading ace Yann Kermorgant
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
3pm Saturday

Reading v Derby
Back Reading to take most corners in their Sky Bet Championship game at home to Derby. Betfair and Paddy Power may have underestimated the chance of that happening with a quote of 5-4.

Reading have had a tough season. They are only four points above the relegation line, though five of the six teams below them have played one game more. Derby are in the playoff places and will be hoping either to stay there or, preferably, move up into the automatic promotion spots.

Understandably, and rightly, bookmakers consider Derby more likely than Reading to score more goals at the Madejski Stadium. The odds, stripped of their overrounds, imply something like a 41 per cent chance of a Derby win, a 30 per cent chance of a draw and a 29 per cent chance of a Reading win.

In other Football League games with similar win-draw-loss expectations, however, the chance of the home team taking most corners is typically just under 48 per cent, which implies fair odds of 11-10.

And so far this season Reading have forced a bigger share of the corners in their games than we would have anticipated, while for Derby it has been the other way round. Do not read too much into those team-specific stats, though. Such things tend to ebb and flow.

Consider Reading. This season results have been worse than they would have expected them to be, so there have been longer periods in games when they needed a goal. And it is during times when a team are pushing for a goal that they are most likely to pile up corners.

Last season for Reading things were the other way round. They had a good campaign and were ahead in a lot of games, so there were shorter periods in matches when they still needed to score. Last season Reading forced a smaller share of the corners in their fixtures than we should have anticipated.

So their performance in corners-related markets varied with their achievements in goals-related markets.

If Reading score in the first minute then hold out while Derby come after them with wave after wave of attacks, the chance of Reading taking most corners will not be so good.

That is just one of many possible scenarios that could be played out. Each would have an impact on the chance of Reading forcing most flag-kicks. Overall that chance might be better than implied by odds of 5-4.

Reading to take more corners
1pt 5-4 Betfair, Paddy Power

Sky Bet Championship standings

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Thought for the day

How much difference does a red card make? Ten red cards were shown last Sunday in a game between Vitoria and Bahia in one of the state championships in Brazil.

Three were shown to substitutes. In most bookings markets cards shown to substitutes do not count – rightly in my view. This would not have mattered if any bookmaker did offer odds for a bookings market on Vitoria v Bahia. The seven reds and eight yellows shown to players on the pitch would have broken any line.

Five reds were shown to players on the pitch in the 65th minute after a free-for-all – three to Vitoria players and two to Bahio players. Play continued with eight against nine.

In the 79th minute referee Jailson Macedo Freitas sent off two more Vitoria players then abandoned the match because Law 3 of Association Football says: “A match may not start or continue if either team has fewer than seven players.”

Despite all that mayhem the number of players on each team only ever differed by one, and during that time no goals were scored. In most matches that do not finish with 22 players on the pitch only one player is sent off. Being one player down can be a huge disadvantage, though.

I studied Premier League games from the last 20 seasons – 1997-98 to 2016-17 – in which one player was sent off. I noted goals for each team before and after the red card.

Teams who would be reduced to ten players were responsible for 40 per cent of all goals scored before the dismissal but only 25 per cent of all goals scored after.

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Last season Reading forced a smaller share of the corners in their fixtures than we should have anticipated
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