Champions League: Inter Milan’s corner kicks are their most dangerous weapon against Liverpool


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Inter Milan have improved in several ways this season under coach Simone Inzaghi. During the previous two years under Antonio Conte the Nerazzurri were very attentive to tactics, to the point where player movements were almost automatic, but now the former Lazio coach has given his players more freedom and improved some aspects of their game. One of these is undoubtedly the effectiveness on corner kicks. During the current Serie A season, Inter Milan have scored seven goals from corners, more than any other team in the league. But goals can be misleading on their own, with luck and skill mixing to often provide a muddy picture. The question is, are Inter Milan actually the best team in Serie A this season from corners?

Comparing data from last season under Antonio Conte and this one with Simone Inzaghi we can absolutely see a marked improvement in performance and results on the pitch when it comes to corners. During the 2020-21 season, Inter Milan scored ten goals from corner kick situations during the whole season, a strong number to be sure. That was the second highest total in the league. But, looking a little deeper we see that their expected goals from corner situations was only 7.89, which was the sixth best total in Serie A. Similarly Inter’s total of 89 shots on the season was only 5th best. Considering the fact that Antonio Conte’s team won the Scudetto at the end of the season, Inter Milan were a very average team in terms of corners. Being fifth or sixth best isn’t anything to sneeze at, but when you’re the best team in the league it suggests that corner kicks were not a central part of their repertoire. Last season’s most prolific shooter were the imposing defensive duo of Milan Skriniar and Stefan De Vrij, who got their heads on everything taking 10 and nine shots respectively and perhaps more surprisingly Nicolo Barella who also had nine shots from corner situations.

Moving to the current 2021-22 Serie A season, Inter Milan improved in many aspects from corners. Let’s start with the easiest number to read; Nerazzurri have already scored nine goals this season directly from corners, basically on par with last season’s total through only 24 matches. 


Stats Perform/TruMedia

On a per game basis, Inter are second in Serie A with 3.1 shots per match from corner situations, and also second in xG per match with 0.3. In both shots and xG only Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma have more with 3.3 shots and 0.4 xG. The main reason why Inter Milan have improved this season is the arrival of new assist men on the ball. New signings Hakan Calhanoglu and Federico Dimarco provided more assists than the players who were in charge before and proved to be a new resource for Simone Inzaghi. Between the two of them they have taken 131 of Inter’s 144 corners this season. Though their arrival has come with an interesting wrinkle. Both Calhanoglu and Dimarco are considerably better at taking right sided corners than left sided ones. They are successful on 56.3% and 66.67% of their corner deliveries from the right side respectively but only 32.5% and 56.3% from the left side of the pitch.

The most important thing to understand about Inter’s corners this season is that the side has increased their reliance on them for creating good chances. This season so far roughly 15% of their total xG comes from corner kick situations. Last season, they only generated 10% of their xG from similar situations. So, if Liverpool can take that weapon away from Inzaghi and his team they will be that much closer to walking out of San Siro with a victory.





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