Updated: Dec 14, 2021
Set pieces are an incredibly important part of football, with between 25% and 33% of goals scored coming from a set piece. They are equally important in Fantrax EPL, and in these articles we will highlight the trends in set pieces that will lead to player value fluctuation.
Gameweek 16 Set Piece Takers
With ESR still out injured, we again saw Martinelli taking right-footed corners (6 of them). Unlike last game, there were some left-footed corners to be taken as well, and interestingly Saka was preferred to take them over Odegaard. Saka took 3 corners and Arsenal did not have any free kicks close to the goal. Odegaard is likely still the preferred free kick taker, but losing left-footed corners to Saka further hurts his floor (although he's been getting returns as of late anyways).
Just like the past two weeks, it was McGinn and Luiz splitting set pieces for Villa. Luiz took 1 corner and 1 free kick shot and McGinn took 2 corners. Buendia did not start, but still, it appears that Luiz is preferred over him for corner taking duties.
Jensen got a rare start and split corners with Janelt (4 to 3). Janelt played CB but still took Brentford's 2 free kick crosses. Ghoddos also subbed on for Jensen and got 1 corner and 1 free kick cross late in the game. Canos did not play as he was suspended. Mbeumo took and scored a penalty, while Toney was not in the squad.
Did not play, as game was postponed
McNeil and Westwood split both corners (3 and 3) and free kicks (2 and 1). Cornet did not start.
Like last week, Mount took 4 corners. Unlike last week, Ziyech did not start, so Reece James also got 1 corner. Again, previous taker Marcos Alonso had 0! Alarming signs for Alonso managers. He did, however, take 3 free kicks (1 shot) as did Reece James. Jorginho took and scored 2 penalty kicks, including 1 while Lukaku was on the pitch.
Another new challenger approaches! Despite Olise, Eze, and Mili all not starting, Gallagher did not have the set piece monopoly some might have expected. No it wasn't Tyrick Mitchell this time (he had 0). It was Will Hughes who took 4 corners. Gallagher still had the other 3 corners and 1 free kick shot (on target). Gallagher has maintained his output despite his fluctuating set pieces, but it's a constantly evolving situation that still deserves to be monitored.
Gray and Townsend split corner duties (1 each) and free kicks (1 each). Digne looks to have even bigger problems than not taking sets now that Rafa has dropped him altogether 2 games in a row. The hope remains that Rafa gets sacked or forgives him and starts him. The former may happen sooner rather than later after a shambolic performance vs Palace. According to the oddsmakers, Benitez is about 66% likely to be the next EPL manager sacked, so likely a matter of time.
The in-form James Maddison took 3 corners and 2 free kicks for Leicester. Albrighton subbed on and took 1 corner, whilst Tielemans had 0. Albrighton looks to be the only threat to Maddison's monopoly these days, and when Lookman is healthy again, he looks to be in the clear. Tielemans took and scored a penalty, while Vardy was not on the pitch.
As usual by now Dallas and Raphinha split set pieces. Dallas had 1 corner and Raph had 1 corner and 2 free kicks. For the second week in a row, Raphinha took and scored a penalty.
As almost always Alexander-Arnold and Robertson split corners. Outside of 1 of them missing time, that should always be the case. Salah took and scored a penalty.
Without KDB and Mahrez starting, Foden, Bilva, Gundo, and Grealish all took 3 plus corners. Gundo took their 1 free kick cross. Gundo managers should be a bit disappointed that so many others were getting involved, but he did also sub off early (56th), so losing his spot to KDB is likely a larger concern. Sterling took and scored a penalty. After the game, Pep said Mahrez was his preferred taker, but was not on the pitch, and seemed to imply Gundogan was 2nd, but his back was ailing him.
Bruno Fernandes may have had a poor fantasy performance, but positive signs are there as he took all 6 of United's corners. They were however, all inswingers, so Telles likely still would have taken them from his side if United had received any. At the very least, Bruno is a good bet to take half of United's corners going forward, unlike under Ole. Shaw could change matters when he returns, we'll likely see in GW17 if that's the case. Ronaldo took and scored a penalty, confirming that he remains preferred taker over Bruno at the moment.
Without Fraser and Ritchie in the lineup, Shelvey had full control and took 4 corners and 1 free kick. However, when Fraser came on, he took 2 corners and 1 free kick. You know the drill here, Jonjo is safe as long as Fraser and Ritchie aren't in the lineup.
Gilmour took half of the set pieces (4 corners and 3 free kicks) while he was on the pitch, due to Rashica's absence. However, a new challenger emerged in Placheta, who also took 4 corners. He's not likely to see a ton of starts going forward though.
JWP took almost all including 7 corners, 1 free kick cross, and 3 free kick shots (1 on goal). The sole exception was a short corner from Tella.
Did not play, as game was postponed
Cleverley and Cucho both started, but it was Cleverley who got their 2 corners, including an assist to Dennis. Cucho did get Watford's 1 free kick shot (off target) but didn't have a great game and was subbed off early.
In Cresswell's continued absence, Lanzini took 7 corners, Bowen took 4, and Fornals took 3 (in 10 minutes). Fornals subbed on for Lanzini. Bowen and Rice got the 2 free kick crosses. Creswell will likely return soon, and I wouldn't be surprised if Lanzini loses his starting position soon either.
Moutinho took 1 corner and Ait-Nouri took 1 free kick cross.
Things to Watch Out For From This Week
Who will take set pieces for Spurs if Son and/or others are ruled out?
Will Will Hughes or Jensen continue to start and take set pieces?
Have Odegaard and Alonso lost corner-taking duties completely?
Will we see 8 penalty kicks taken, and scored, again in a gamweek this season?
Things to Watch Out For From Previous Weeks
Will Tyrick Mitchell continue to take some corners? No
Will Bruno continue to be more involved in corners under Rangnick? Yes, it seems likely
Will Lanzini or Martinelli continue to start, and take set pieces? Yes and yes (for now)
Will Fraser and Ritchie continue on the bench, leaving all sets to Jonjo Shelvey? So far, yes
Will Olise or Eze start for Palace and have priority over Mili and Gallagher for set pieces? TBC but not yet
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