Only a select number of bookmakers bet on individual team corner kicks but one thinks that it is doing business with Bwin to back Lyon to go over four and a half corners in its UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg against Ajax.
UEFA has wiped the slate clean for UEFA Europa League stars who had incurred yellow cards leading into the semi-finals but the governing body has not let off anyone who accrued bans in the quarter-finals. That means that Ajax must line up without two of its regular defenders, Joel Veltman and Nick Viergever. Veltman and Viergever tend to play on the flanks of Ajax’s defence so the Sons of Gods will have to field reserves in those areas and one thinks that Lyon may pin their hopes of scoring a priceless UEFA Europa League away goal by testing out the hosts in wide areas.
Lyon ranks second in French Ligue 1 for corner kicks taken, averaging 7.2 corners across its 33 games. And Lyon has no French Ligue 1 superior when it comes to corner kicks taken on the road, having a mean of 6.4 corners in its 16 away matches. Lyon has taken part in six UEFA Europa League games since it exited the UEFA Champions League after the group stage and it has averaged 6.3 corner kicks in those matches, with its road mean being slightly lower than its home one.
Bwin is offering odds of -111 that Lyon goes over four and a half corner kicks in its UEFA Europa League game at Ajax on Wednesday. Ajax has won each of its last 10 home matches across all competitions and it has not tasted defeat at the Amsterdam Arena since August but Lyon’s visit represents its toughest assignment in all that time. One cannot get excited about Ajax because the Sons of Gods are unproven at the very highest level and, as highlighted above, their defence will be without two of its most important members. Lyon has risen up the French Ligue 1 ladder after making a horrible start but the Kids are 1-3-4 in their seven divisional games versus the other teams in the tournament’s top eight. In short, one does not see anything of interest in the main market pertaining to the UEFA Europa League match.
Thursday’s UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg between Celta and Manchester United is equally unappealing when it comes to recommending a bet on the result of the game. Celta is 1-0-13 in its 14 Spanish Primera Division matches against the sides ranked in the top eight so one understand why the bookmaking fraternity has installed the Sky Blues at fairly long odds to beat Manchester United. As for Manchester United, the Red Devils have strung together 25 English Premier League games without defeat but their list of absentees makes backing them as road favourites very difficult. So one is again drawn to an exotic option.
Celta is an attack-minded team but, strangely, it does not rack up lots of corner kicks generally. That explains why Bet365 is willing to lay wagers at odds of -120 that Celta goes over four and a half corner kicks. One thinks that Jose Mourinho, Manchester United’s cautious coach, will instruct his Red Devils players to sit in and allow Celta to dominate possession. Four and a half corner kicks is not a high line for a side that one expects to have lots of possession and, with Manchester United fielding an unfamiliar defence, one expects those Red Players players to take few risks versus Celta, including putting the ball out of play.
Lyon over 4.5 corners
Wednesday 3rd May, 17:45 GMT
Celta Vigo over 4.5 corners
Thursday 4th May, 20:05 GMT