Which Teams were Most Effective from their Set Piece Crosses in Europe’s Top 5 Leagues?

With the European football league season now finished, SportsMatrix examined the effectiveness of teams from the top five leagues to see which posed the greatest and least threat from corner kicks and from free kick crosses taken from the final third.

For the purpose of this report, a goal from a corner kick is defined as one that was scored directly following the corner kick or following a rebound or second ball; but excludes any goal scored after the attacking team failed to score from the initial corner kick, but then scored with the start of a new attacking move. In the case of free kicks, only those crossed into the penalty area from the final third are included.

Unsurprisingly the teams averaging most corner kicks per game tended to be teams sitting near the top of their respective leagues, whilst the teams averaging fewest corners were generally mid-table teams.

Guingamp, Werder Bremen, Southampton, Olympique Lyonnais and Augsburg delivered the highest percentage of corner kicks leading to goal scoring chances, with only Southampton delivering a higher than average number of corner kicks per game and Augsburg averaging amongst the fewest corner kicks of all teams in the top five leagues. Olympique Lyonnais, Werder Bremen and Southampton scored an above average number of goals from their corner kicks, whilst Guingamp and especially Augsburg were poor at converting their corner kicks into goals, despite creating a high number of chances.
Girondins Bordeaux created a slightly above average number of chances from their corner kicks, but were the most effective team scoring 14 goals and averaging the highest percentage of goals (7.4%) from their corner kicks. Hamburger, who averaged a below average number of corner kicks per game were however very effective at converting their corner kicks (6.2%) into goals; whilst Real Madrid posed a significant threat from corner kicks, scoring one fewer than Bordeaux from the third highest number of corner kicks per game.
The teams delivering the lowest percentage of corner kicks leading to a chance were Empoli, Getafe, Fiorentina, Newcastle United and Nantes; with Nantes along with Carpi being the only teams not to score from a corner kick during the entire season. Sampdoria and Borussia Monchengladbach both scored only once from a corner kick, with Stoke City from the Premier League perhaps surprisingly only managing a single goal.

Corners

Borussia Dortmund were ranked first for the highest percentage of short corners (44.3%), followed closely by Serie A’s Sassuolo (43.8%) and Atalanta (42.1%) and Celta Vigo (41.2%) from La Liga. A third of all of the corners delivered by Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Bournemouth were short corners. Meanwhile Darmstadt who delivered the highest percentage of corner kick crosses (96.6%), averaged fewest corner kicks per game (3.4) of any of the teams in this report, but still managed to score an average number of goals (5).

When it comes to free kicks, Barcelona averaged amongst the fewest free kick crosses of all the teams in Europe’s top five leagues; but the highest percentage (35.9%) of free kick crosses ending in a goal scoring chance. Inter Milan, Sevilla, AC Milan and Gazelec Ajaccio all reached a high number of chances from their free kick crosses, with all but AC Milan delivering a below average number of free kick crosses. None were effective when it came to converting their free kick crosses into goals, with both Inter Milan and Ajaccio scoring three times.

Sevilla, who were ineffective at converting their corner kicks into goals, were even worse from free kick crosses, failing to score despite delivering the third highest percentage of dangerous free kicks.
Whilst Hellas Verona scored the highest percentage of goals (7.1%) from their free kick crosses, slightly better than AS Roma, Rayo Vallecano and Sunderland; it was two French teams, Angers and Stade de Reims who scored most goals (7) from free kick crosses.

Sassuolo, Sporting Gijon, Torino and Napoli all averaged the lowest percentage of free kick crosses ending in a goal scoring chance, with all failing to score, alongside Atletico Madrid, Everton, Manchester United, Celta Vigo and Lazio.

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