Free-kick takers are, in an era of extreme specialization, a prized commodity for any important club. A good set-piece taker can guarantee a number of goals per season and extra points.
Similarly, a good free-kick taker will reward the fantasy football managers who choose them for their team.
Let’s look at the very best free-kick takers in the Premier League in 2023 and how they can improve your squad.
James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
James Ward-Prowse is, once again, the best thing about Southampton. Some might argue that he’s the only good thing.
The true heir to David Beckham’s free-kicks, Ward-Prowse has scored three times this way during the 2022/23 season.
James Ward-Prowse is a true master of free-kick taking. His technique, accuracy and consistency have been an absolute delight to watch this year as Southampton have taken many points solely based on set pieces due to his skill.
Sir Alex Ferguson, former Manchester United manager, once declared Ward-Prowse to possess “one of the finest techniques in soccer” when it comes to free-kicks.
Ward-Prowse’s goalscoring prowess isn’t the only reason he’s so lethal from set pieces. His delivery is impeccable, often finding a teammate in an advantageous position.
James Maddison (Leicester City)
James Maddison is another masterful midfielder whose abilities sometimes go under the radar. Much of this owes to Leicester’s often fluctuating form.
This season, Maddison has scored twice from free kicks and, generally, enjoyed a good campaign.
Maddison has a distinctive technique when it comes to free-kicks. He approaches the ball with assurance and strikes it with his right foot, often leaving goalkeepers helpless as the ball flies into their net.
Former Liverpool and England midfielder Jamie Redknapp once said that Maddison possessed “one of the sweetest right feet in the game” when it comes to free-kicks.
With Leicester dangling just above relegation once again, Brendan Rodgers will need the very best from Maddison to enjoy a successful season.
Christian Eriksen (Manchester United)
Prior to his injury, Christian Eriksen was earning a reputation as one of Manchester United’s best transfers in years. Much of this has to do with his exceptional skill, which also translated toward his free-kicking abilities.
Eriksen’s free-kick-taking ability is distinguished by his excellent technique, which involves a short run-up and precise strike with his right foot. He can generate tremendous spin and dip on the ball, making it difficult for goalkeepers to judge its trajectory accurately.
His return from injury will likely coincide with Eriksen, once again, becoming the de-facto set-piece taker for Manchester United, something that can greatly increase Erik Ten Haag’s team’s chances.
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
At the domestic level, Kevin de Bruyne has enjoyed a sensational number of recent seasons playing for Manchester City. The midfielder’s passing and shooting abilities are exceptional.
These also translate into the midfielder being a genuine threat from free-kicks. He’s scored one goal this way this season, and we wouldn’t be surprised if more were to follow.
While it is true that KDB scored only about a dozen goals for City from set pieces, his excellent technique and ability to influence the game in important moments, earn him a spot on our list.
Kieran Trippier (Newcastle)
The former Tottenham wing-back’s arrival to Newcastle was the first clear sign that the club’s new owners truly meant business.
Trippier is not just an experienced player with a number of international tournaments under his belt. He is also a player still looking to build upon his reputation.
While he’s only scored one goal from a set piece this season, Trippier is generally recognized as one of the most skilled free-kick takers in the Premier League.
Trippier has scored a few goals from free-kicks at the club level throughout his career, including two during his time with Tottenham Hotspur.
However, his primary contribution from set pieces has been as an assist provider; his excellent delivery from free-kicks and corners has resulted in numerous goals for teammates over the years.
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