Set piece analysis: Toulouse’s threat from second contact in attacking corners vs Ajaccio

The Ligue 2 season has started again! Although we are just 4 games into the new season, I had a look at one of the main contenders: Toulouse. Next to Toulouse, Paris FC is another big contender for the title/promotion. In this article however I wanted to focus on a specific element of Toulouse’s promotion push to the Ligue 1.

In this set piece analysis I will have a look at the attacking set pieces by Toulouse, with a special focus on the second balls or second contacts in those corners. I will analyse how many second contacts are won or result in a shot, and how dangerous they are considering all the aspects. The data and video are from Wyscout and Instat.

Toulouse vs Ajaccio
Toulouse played their game against Ajaccio and it ended in a 2-2 draw with a red card on both side. It was an exciting match were both teams could have gone on and win, but in the end it was a draw. Toulouse had 11 shots in this particular game of which 4 were on target with a corresponding xG of 0,99. This tells us that they attempted many low xG shots, rather than high xG chances. In the analysis below we look at how dangerous Toulouse was with attacking corners against Ajaccio.

First and second contacts

In the image above you can see all corners taken from the right in their game against Ajaccio. The majority of the corners were taken by Branco van den Boomen – a right-footed player – meaning the ball would swing away from goal rather than swing in. As you can see only 1 first contact was one and 7 were lost. 3 second contacts were lost and f5 second contacts were won, with 2 of those corners resulting in a shot. These two shots were taking from outside the penalty area, with the note that 5 second balls were won outside the penalty area and the 3 second balls in the penalty area were lost.

In the image above you can see all corners taken from the left in their game against Ajaccio. The majority of the corners were taken by Branco van den Boomen – a right-footed player – meaning the ball would swing in to goal rather than swing-out. As you can see no first contact was won and only 1 of the 2 corners resulted in a second contact won. All the second contacts were outside the penalty.

Shots from second contact

As you can see from the images above, two attacking corners led to shots at the second contact. Below you will see the two videos.

In the video above you see that the majority of the players make runs into the six-yard box, with their man-markers with them. This means that the six-yard box is crowded and defended well, but there is a lot of space in the deep penalty area and just outside it. Toulouse employ two players outside the penalty area for the second ball/clearance and/or break the first line of a counter-attack.

In this particular example, Van den Boomen’s corner is defended and the second ball falls outside the penalty area, after which Adli collects it. He not only collects it, but tries to shoot on goal from there and eventually the shot is blocked. The xG of this particular shot is 0,03 xG.

In the video above you see that the majority of the players make runs into the six-yard box, with their man-markers with them. This means that the six-yard box is crowded and defended well, but there is a lot of space in the deep penalty area and just outside it. This is also because the corner is swinging in and therefore the players’ start position is closer to goal. Toulouse employs one player outside the penalty area for the second ball/clearance and/or break the first line of a counter-attack.

In this particular example, quite the same to the video above, the corner is defended and the second ball falls outside the penalty area, after which Spiering collects it. He not only collects it, but tries to shoot on goal from there, and eventually, the shot goes wide. This time the ball lands closer to the corner, meaning the shot will have more of a curve, than just firing it in one line at goal. The xG of this particular shot is 0,02 xG.

Final thoughts
The idea was to see how many corners fall into second balls and second contacts won or lost. Only of the corners analysed above was won at the first contact, which means that the second contact is vital in progressing the attack. Two shots were created from those second balls and the question is now: what do you chance? Do you want to make sure you overload in areas where the second ball/second is, or do you make sure the first contact is won more easily? The first contact often is in the front post zone, which is also known as the golden zone and therefore it will be defended as such as well, because there is where the most chances are created for an attacking.

In the case of Toulouse they would do well to look at the delivery of the corners into the goalkeeper zone and far post zone, and always having two players outside the penalty area to attack the second balls after first contact was lost, or not handled well.

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