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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Stuttgart should be shorter in corners battle with Bremen

Things that seem odd at first can make sense in context

Stuttgart results have improved under head coach Tayfun Korkut
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Stuttgart v Werder Bremen
Bundesliga, 2.30pm Saturday

It is possible that bet365 have underestimated the chance of Stuttgart taking most corners in their Bundesliga match at home to Werder Bremen.

Back Stuttgart on an Asian handicap corners line of 0 at decimal odds of 1.85 – slightly better than fractional odds of 5-6. If Stuttgart take most corners the bet will win, if both teams take the same number stakes will be returned, and if Bremen take most corners the bet will lose.

The starting point when considering any bet on what might happen during a match should be an appraisal of how play is likely to unfold. Everything in a football match is connected in some way to everything else.

Stuttgart are tenth in the table with 39 points, two places and two points above Bremen. Both have achieved their best results in recent months under a new manager. Stuttgart appointed Tayfun Korkut in January, three months after Bremen had appointed Florian Kohfeldt.

Bremen today are seven points above the relegation playoff place.

This looks like a match between two teams who overall have performed at a broadly similar level. The result-related markets agree, suggesting that Stuttgart are more likely than Bremen to score most goals, but not by much. That seems to be a reasonable conclusion.

In such games the home team would normally be a stronger favourite to take most corners. Because they are likely to score most goals they are likely to spend longer with the ball near the opposition goal, meaning there should be more opportunities in their favour for the ball to bounce off a defender and out for a corner.

There is a reason, though, why expectations in this game should be a bit different than in most others. Stuttgart have taken an unusually small share of the corners in their home games and Bremen have taken an unusually large share of the corners in their away games. Such things tend to return toward normal in time, but it can take time. Some allowance should be made.

Even so, there are grounds for thinking that on an Asian handicap line of 0 Stuttgart should still be shorter than 1.85.

Stuttgart 0 Asian handicap corners
0.5pt 1.85 bet365

Bet on this match at

Bundesliga standings 

Thought for the day

Which Premier League player has completed most passes this season? You may be surprised by the answer. I was not, but only because of something I discovered by accident a long time ago. Things that seem odd at first might not do so once they have been put into their proper context.

Twenty-five years ago I did bits and pieces for a magazine called Football Monthly. One of my jobs was to compile what they called a formscope for important games such as England internationals and FA Cup finals.

A formscope was a record of every pass, tackle and shot by every player. Producing one was a laborious task that involved much rewinding of video.

I remember particularly the 1993 FA Cup final between Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday that went to a replay then extra time. The next edition of the magazine was to be printed the following day. I worked through the night and faxed my copy as it was getting light outside.

One thing that leapt out at me from these formscopes was that the players who attempted and completed most passes were defenders. I was surprised at first then realised I should not have been. Other people I told went through the same reactions.

Even today when aggressive pressing is more common defenders generally have more time and space in which to play than midfielders or forwards.

So I was not surprised to learn that the Premier League player who has completed most passes this season is a centre-back, though I did not know it would be Manchester City’s Nicolas Otamendi.

Not only has Otamendi completed more passes than Kevin De Bruyne or David Silva (2,665 compared to 2,010 and 1,961) but his completed passes also represent a higher proportion of his total passes (92 per cent compared to 84 per cent and 89 per cent).

In other words his passes have been more accurate. The player with the highest passing accuracy is another Manchester City centre-back –John Stones at 96 per cent.

Things that seem odd at first can make sense when put into their proper context.

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A formscope was a record of every pass, tackle and shot by every player. Producing one was a laborious task that involved much rewinding of video
E.W. Terms
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