Bu yazı, 25 mayıs 2018’de yazılmış olan “Fenerbahçe kornerleri neden iki kişi kullandı?” adlı yazının ingilizce tercümesidir.
2017/18 Super League Season is now over. While Galatasaray claimed the championship, Fenerbahce took the 2nd place and Basaksehir followed them in the 3rd. Out of these three teams, Fenerbahce emerged as the most criticized team, not only on their game plan on the pitch but also on the performance of their players. One of the main criticisms pointed at the club was the corner kicks taken by two separate players. Valbuena and Mehmet Ekici took the corners together when they were in the game, landing in the penalty area, and as an alternative Aatif & Hasan Ali took the corners together when Valbuena & Mehmet Ekici were out.
Before getting into the details, I would like to point out that the aim of the article is not to praise and redeem anyone, nor it is to criticize and defame anyone. I believe that the league ending is the best time to express different point of views. And I will be sharing my observations & evaluations as much as possible.
Upon the completion of leagues, I had enough time to look back and review all the corner kicks taken by Fenerbahce throughout the season of 2017-18. We especially know how effective Valbuena can be when he sends corner kicks directly into the box. When we look at the details of the corners taken by Valbuena below, we see that out of 114 corner kicks, he has an accuracy of 53%. In fact, the 52% accuracy of Hasan Ali is interesting and the 60% accuracy of Aatif is significant, as well. However, while 9 goals was scored after the corner kicks taken by Valbuena, only 7 goals was scored after the corner kicks taken by Giuliano, Hasan Ali, Aatif and Ismail altogether.
Out of these corner kicks, Josef was the player who interacted with the ball the most. While Josef scored 2 goals, Skrtel managed to find the net only 3 times despite his 24 interactions with the ball.
Especially with Aykut Kocaman’s strategy using Valbuena as a late substitute for a variety of reasons, there might have been the need to devise a different plan for the corner kicks. Whenever this strategy was used, Hasan Ali and Aatif took the corner kicks most of the time.
But, was there a purpose of this strategy? If so, what was it?
If you don’t have a player like Valbuena who takes the corner kicks directly into the box and create opportunities, I find it very reasonable to try out different strategies. By taking corner kicks with two players;
1 – Two players can utilize the ball among themselves and create scoring opportunities completely independent from the corner kick by creating 2 versus 1 or 3 versus 2 positions.
2 – Two players can attract at least 2 opponents out of the box. It is already overcrowded in the box when corner kicks are taken. It may seem a trivial detail sometimes, but these trivial details can solve the whole problem.
3 – With two players who can use their both feet, you can create the possibility of a direct corner kick into the box and thus, you can disrupt the positioning abilities of the defenders.
From this point onward, I will underline all the corner kicks taken by two players with images without regard to the teams league rankings. Let’s start with Fenerbahce – Galatasaray game;
Taking advantage of the fact that Galatasaray had only one player close to the corner point, Fenerbahce players utilized the ball among themselves and put their opponent in a 2 versus 1 situation. Even if that player was reinforced with a player out of the box, the situation was still a 3 versus 2.
Another corner kick, but this time it was taken from the left. Again, only one Galatasaray player faced two Fenerbahce players. In the next frame, Fenerbahce players made it into the box and create a 3 versus 2 position.
Two examples are taken from the Trabzonspor game;
Another example from Karabukspor game;
Another corner kick from the same game;
I will share all the two-player corner kicks of Fenerbahce. But before that, is there any other team in the world using this strategy? Was this an “invention” of Aykut Kocaman or not? Of course, not. Different teams already have been trying to implement this strategy with different variations for quite some time. Here, the purpose of this strategy is not to leave it up to chance when the ball is sent to a teammate who is in the box. The purpose is to utilize the ball and create an option when the team is struggling to reach the rival team’s box.
Let’s take a look at S.S.C. Napoli… I watched several hours of videos and it was the most beautiful corner kick variation. Two players made diagonal runs around the player who had the ball and they tried to confuse their opponents. It may not have ended with a goal but the opponents will be more vary of this situation the next time.
Another corner kick of Napoli; two players at the corner spot but this time they sent it directly into the box instead of utilizing among themselves.
Two players were at the corner spot in two separate corner kicks. The possibility of utilizing the ball is always imminent and it is always an option. But the ball was sent into the box in these two examples.
Let’s look at Manchester City;
A bit of Barcelona;
We can multiply these examples indefinitely for different teams. When we look at the corner kicks in our league, we see Galatasaray having no intention of carrying out this strategy except a few attempts. They may not have tried any other routes, as they might have believed that they already have players who are strong in corner kicks. I also know that Besiktas often utilized the ball among themselves like Fenerbahce, having watched all the corner kicks taken this season.
Football is always in progress, new drills and new strategies being implemented all the time. The purpose is always to surprise the opponent and to catch them off guard by trying out different tactics in the field. From time to time, such different tactics must be tried instead of sending the ball into the box and expect a goal to be scored, especially when it is so valuable to have the ball.
These tactics have been fruitful for Fenerbahce in the past, but not so much in this season. Even if almost every utilized ball created a position in the opponent’s box, for me, the quality of the team was an obstacle in the success of these tactics.
Galatasaray – Fenerbahçe
Fenerbahçe – Antalyaspor
Fenerbahce – Alanyaspor
The goal that Fenerbahce scored with the Valbuena-Hasan Ali duo from a corner kick. Hasan passed the ball directly to Giuliano who is near the box. Alanyaspor met them with two players; one of them responding to Hasan running into the box and other one proceeding to meet Giuliano. Valbuena found an opportunity where he could dribble and beat some players in a dangerous area. But he chose to send the ball to Janssen who was in the box and a goal was scored.
This use of corner kick reminds me of the sets used in basketball. A short ball sent directly to a player. Alper sprinted from the penalty spot to the sideline of the box and received the ball. He dribbled to the end of the pitch and sent a ground ball into the box. It looks like the defenders were caught off guard against this tactic and they put in a 4V4 situation in a dangerous area.
Alanyaspor – Fenerbahçe
Adanademirspor – Fenerbahçe
Bursaspor – Fenerbahçe
Fenerbahçe – Adanademirspor
Fenerbahçe – Giresunspor
Fenerbahçe – İstanbulspor
Fenerbahçe – Karabükspor
Fenerbahçe – Kasımpaşa
Fenerbahçe – Yeni Malatyaspor
Fenerbahçe – Sivasspor
Gençlerbirliği – Fenerbahçe
Giresunspor – Fenerbahçe
Akhisarspor – Fenerbahçe
Fenerbahçe – İstanbulspor
Kasımpaşa – Fenerbahçe
Sivasspor – Fenerbahçe
Trabzonspor – Fenerbahçe
Vardar – Fenerbahçe