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 31 Set Piece Takers
This week Arsenal only had 2 corners and Odegaard took 1 and Smith-Rowe took 1. Saka and Soares had 0 and Martinelli did not start. Arsenal set pieces continue to be a bit of a mess, split between 5 players and no clear leader.
It was a strange lineup for Villa without Douglas Luiz, and with Leon Bailey in the starting lineup. Lucas Digne also went off injured very early in the game. As a result, John McGinn got 5 corners and Coutinho and Bailey each got 1. Luiz subbed on and resumed his corner duty taking 2. Coutinho took 1 free kick. Luiz and Digne are the preferred set takers on each side but when they don't play, Coutinho and McGinn respectively gain their sets. I don't expect Bailey to start often, but if he does he'll get the occasional corner as well.
Eriksen had a near monopoly with 6 corners and 2 free kicks. Janelt got the only 1 other corner. Going forward, Eriksen should be expected to start nearly every game and have a set piece monopoly nearly every time.
Again Gross, March, and Mac Allister started. Again Gross and March split corners (6 to 5). Gross had 2 free kick crosses, and Mac Allister got 1 free kick shot. When Potter inevitably rotates, whichever of the 3 remaining in the starting XI will be the short-term winners, but without rotation March and Gross will split, and Mac Allister will lose out.
Westwood took Burnley's only 1 corner and 1 free kick against City. Against Everton, McNeil was benched so Cornet and Westwood split corners (5 to 4) and Westwood got their 1 free kick. Westwood and McNeil should be expected to split going forward, but if McNeil is benched, Cornet will gain left-footed set pieces (if he starts of course).
Ziyech and Mount split corners again (7 to 5), with Ziyech and Reece James each taking 1 free kick. Alonso started and James only came off the bench. We'll see if James takes any corners when he does start soon, but in the meantime it looks like Ziyech and Mount will continue splitting corners.
Gallagher had 1 free kick cross (which ended in a goal after a couple headers) and Anderson had 1 free kick shot (on target). Olise did not start, but should be expected to be involved again in the coming weeks.
Against West Ham, Gray had a near monopoly with 4 corners and 1 free kick. Mykolenko took the other free kick cross. Gordon saw a rare benching but likely would have taken a back seat to Gray on sets anyways. Against Burnley, Gordon started but Gray did not. As such, Gordon got 5 corners and Gray 1 (after he subbed on). Gray and Gordon will certainly be the takers going forward, but it all depends on who's actually in the lineup. If both, Gray will take most instead of Gordon.
As hypothesized last week Maddison was back in control of sets this week, taking all 5 corners (from both sides) and 4 free kicks. Going forward, I expect Maddison to get most, with Dewsbury-Hall chipping in the occasional lefty corner.
Raphinha was back on corners and took 2. Harrison and Klich each had 1, but Dallas had 0. Dallas did take their only 1 free kick. Marsch's set piece takers have slightly changed each week, but for now the thinking is Dallas & Harrison are most involved, then Raphinha, then Klich rarely.
After much hypothesizing last week over who would take right-footed sets in Trent Alexander-Arnold's absence, we were partially right and partially wrong. Jones took 3 corners before being subbed out. Henderson took 1 corner and 1 free kick. Robertson took 5 corners and 2 free kicks. Next week, Trent will likely be back but we have gained some insight on the depth chart of right footed takers. For the hard core set piece nerds, I think the right-footed corner depth chart is Alexander-Arnold, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Henderson in that order.
Mahrez didn't start so KDB and Foden split corners (5 to 3) and KDB took their 1 free kick. Those 3 plus Gundogan are the key names to look for in the lineup to be involved in set pieces.
Luke Shaw took 3 corners before being subbed off for injury. Then his replacement, Telles took 2. Bruno Fernandes got 1 corner and 1 free kick.
Back to normal, Targett took 2 corners and Fraser took 1 as well as 2 free kick crosses. Schar got 1 rare free kick shot, which ended in a goal! Fraser and Targett should be expected to split going forward.
Gilmour started and had 2 corners and 1 free kick. Normann had the 1 other free kick cross. Generally, Gilmour looks to have priority but when he doesn't start Rashica will be rewarded with a near-monopoly.
James Ward-Prowse had 7 corners, 3 free kick crosses, and 1 direct free kick that ended beautifully upper 90 for a goal!
Son had 2 corners and 2 free kick crosses. Dier had 1 direct free kick (off target). That's generally the expectation going forward, with Reguilon lucky to get a corner every now and then.
Louza had 2 corners and Femenia had 1. Pedro had 0. Cucho had 1 free kick cross. Watford do not generate a ton of set pieces so it's hard to say for sure who's preferred, but Louza and Femenia have been involved the most, and look likely to continue starting.
Bowen started again but Fornals took West Ham's only corner and Cresswell took their only 1 free kick. Those 3 are expected to split fairly evenly going forward.
Moutinho had 2 corners and 1 free kick and Neto had 2 corners off the bench. With Neves out injured for a while, and Trincao not a preferred starter, Moutinho and Neto (if starting) should be the primary takers going forward. Ait-Nouri has been in and out of the starting lineup and set piece picture.
Things to Watch Out For From This Week
What happens to Wolves set pieces when Neto starts?
Will Potter rotate his losing side again and how will Gross, March, and Mac Allister's starting positions and set pieces be affected?
How will Chelsea set pieces shake out with Reece James back starting?
Will Douglas Luiz be benched again and will Coutinho or someone else take sets as a result again?
Things to Watch Out For From Previous Weeks
Will Raphinha be on set pieces most games or will Jack Harrison continue pilfering corners and free kicks from him? Bit of both, Raphinha has had corners some games and not others.
Will Maddison get corners back? Yes, he did in GW31
How long will Tomiyasu be out for and will Cedric Soares continue to take set pieces off Odegaard and co. while he's starting? Absence still ongoing, and Cedric still sometimes taking sets
How will Gilmour and Rashica split set pieces? Gilmour has mostly taken over when starting, but starts inconsistently as of late
Will Gray or Gordon stick in Everton's starting lineup? Still evolving with Lampard, but Gordon has mostly stuck around and Gray has come back in. Gray and Gordon split with Gray having priority.
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