Short corners: the perennial waste of time

In the hall of fame of bad decisions, there are quite a few contenders for the number one most annoying decisions from a football player.

In the mix are when a player chooses to hammer a shot over from 40-yards, when a striker kills a counter-attack by playing an awful ball behind his teammate or when an terrible free-kick routine does not go to plan. But nothing is quite as infuriating as when a team plays a short corner, as it invariably comes to nothing.

Of course, in the case of Barcelona, the short corner is not seen as a disappointment. Due to their style of play being one which is predicated on keeping the ball, the short corner makes sense. In conjunction with this is the fact that they are not a team full of tall and physically imposing players that can all attack a cross.

However, for a team with bigger players, especially centre-halves that can attack the ball, a short corner is not the right option to take, especially when a side is chasing a goal.

Of course, there are merits to the short corner; playing a quick one-two with a teammate allows for a change of angles with the cross, meaning a better ball can be played in to the box, putting the pressure on the goalkeeper and defenders with a lofted pass that curls towards the goal.

The position of the cross from the corner itself doesn’t always facilitate a good ball into the box, and so, in one way it does make sense.

However, a short corner invariably come to nothing. When the pass is played, the extra man is likely to have a defender bearing down on him, which means he is unable to turn and take him on. This means a pass is quickly played back to the corner taker, who tries to make some space for himself and put it into the box.

However, this doesn’t always happen and, a lot of the time, it means the ball will be fired backwards towards the players on the halfway line, who then has to launch it into the box from a far worse angle. It is one of the most infuriating things in football, and it sends fans apoplectic with rage.

There are times that a short corner works absolutely perfectly though:

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The short corner is not a tactical move that works particularly well, then. It is reminiscent of a team trying to play the offside trap from a free-kick, but the left-back not getting the memo, and holding his ground, keeping the entire opposition team on-side.

Perhaps there is a middle ground for a team that doesn’t want to throw the ball into the box or take it short then, with a curled lofted pass to the edge of the area another option. However, the chances of this being accurate enough to reach the player, all the while evading the clutches of the opposition are slim. It can have an outrageous outcome though, with a first time volley into the top corner, but, this can also end in an embarrassing strike or missing the ball completely.

It must be said that if a team wins a corner, the fans want to see a ball whipped in with pace for the side to attack. The short corner is everything that is wrong with football today; it is players trying to be too technical and complicated when the simple pass will do.

There isn’t a place in modern football for the short corner unless a team cannot contest in the air, and it is a slap in the face to the fans when it happens.

Of course, actual corners can be useless,  too, and Charlie Adam knows this all too well:

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