Talking Tactics

Season trends: Corner goals on the rise

By Adrian Clarke 11 Jun 2023
Martinelli, Arsenal

Adrian Clarke looks at how teams are profiting from dead ball situations more than ever before

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A record number of goals were scored from corner kicks this season, continuing a steady rise in the influence of that type of set-piece situation.

Breaching the 150-mark for the first time in Premier League history, a sizeable 13.9 per cent of all goals stemmed from corners.

While strikes from free-kicks, direct and indirect, were down by 11 on the previous campaign, with 70 such goals in total being scored this season, the art of unlocking opponents from a corner appears to be thriving.

Corner goals last five seasons
Season Goals from corners Goals from corners (%)
2018/19 146 13.6%
2019/20 134 13.0%
2020/21 132 12.9%
2021/22 146 13.6%
2022/23 151 13.9%

Fresh ideas from the influx of new set-piece coaches, coupled with additional time spent working on attacking routines, must be considered a contributing a factor in the glut of goals being scored.

Going back 15-20 years, there was less focus on these types of fine margins, with top-flight teams investing far less time planning ways of scoring from corners.

Data from seasons between 2004 to 2008 and in 2009/10 clearly shows how much productivity has risen since then.

Corner goals 2004-10
Season Goals from corners Goals from corners (%)
2004/05 100 10.3%
2005/06 99 10.5%
2006/07 103 11.1%
2007/08 119 11.9%
2009/10 112 11.9%

They may have experienced contrasting seasons from a results perspective, but Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur were equally the most effective teams at corner kicks.

Both teams found the back of the net 13 times, marginally ahead of last season’s joint leaders Liverpool, on 12.

Goals from corners 2022/23
Club Corner goals
Arsenal 13
Spurs 13
Liverpool 12
Fulham 11

Harry Kane netted an impressive league-high seven goals from corners, often peeling towards the far post to convert flick-ons aimed in his direction.

For Arsenal, centre-back Gabriel was once again their most dangerous presence in the box, converting three goals to add to his five from 2021/22.

What common ground did these two north London clubs share?

Without doubt it was their prolific use of fast inswingers, whipped into a packed six-yard box.

As shown in the tables below, Arsenal and Spurs had clear and consistent strategies where they flooded the area around the opposition 'keeper, before testing opponents with inswinging deliveries.

West Ham United also used this ploy on a regular basis, and for the second season in a row they produced 10 goals from corners.

Total of inswinging corners 2022/23
Club Inswinging corners
Arsenal 154
Everton 138
West Ham 129
Spurs 113
Chelsea 108
Average no. of players in six-yard box
Team Players
Arsenal 3.06
Aston Villa 2.77
Spurs 2.52
West Ham 2.48
Brighton 2.34

If inswingers were the diet of our two most successful clubs from corner kicks in 2022/23, it was outswingers which seemed to produce the most efforts on goal.

The arc of the ball from outswingers takes it away from the target, and this usually leads to attempts being from slightly further out.

To profit from them it helps to have tall players who generate power from their headers.

Liverpool, Newcastle United and Manchester City have plenty of those types of players, with Fabian Schar, Virgil van Dijk and Erling Haaland the standout threats.

Therefore it was interesting to note that these three clubs generated the most chances from corners across the season.

Most efforts from corners
Club Shots from corners
Newcastle 133
Man City 109
Liverpool 104
Arsenal 97

Golden Boot winner Haaland scored five goals from corners, second behind Kane, while Schar (30 efforts) and Van Dijk (20) were ranked 1st and 3rd for the most efforts.

Also in this series

Part 1: Favoured formation emerges
Part 2: Record low number of red cards
Part 3: Comebacks on a high
Part 5: How fast breaks produced a goal rush 

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