Top-flight football is set to restart in June after a three-month absence, with Fantasy Premier League following suit.
We’re ramping up our content while we await further news from FPL Towers, with this latest article taking a look at the Premier League players who are on set-piece duties for their respective clubs.
We previously discussed the importance of free-kicks and corners, looking at the percentage of goals scored from dead-ball situations.
Users of this site will also be aware of our dedicated Set Pieces tab, which contains a range of information that is kept up to date throughout the season.
This article takes a club-by-club look at those players who were playing a prominent role at set plays in the six Gameweeks before the Premier League was halted in March and highlights any instances where players returning from injury could upset the status quo.
Nicolas Pepe (£9.3m) and Mesut Ozil (£7.3m) took 21 of Arsenal’s 29 corners between them in Gameweeks 24-29, with Pepe narrowly edging the German by 11-10.
The pair have dominated at dead-ball situations over much of the season, too.
Dani Ceballos‘ (£5.2m) return to the starting XI in Gameweek 26 saw the Spaniard chip in with five corner-kicks in Arsenal’s most-recent three matches, meanwhile.
Pepe is one of four Arsenal players to have taken a direct free-kick this season, along with the Gunners’ regular front two and David Luiz (£5.8m).
Pepe and Luiz have been the most prominent and the winger was the only Gunner to take one in Gameweeks 24-29.
Conor Hourihane (£5.7m) is widely regarded as Villa’s set-piece specialist but his starts have been few and far between in 2019/20.
Jack Grealish (£6.4m) and the fit-again John McGinn (£5.8m) have frequently deputised for the Irish international, with Grealish the most involved at corner-kick situations in Gameweeks 24-29 as McGinn recovered from injury.
Having not taken one all season, Matt Targett (£4.4m) has suddenly chipped in with ten corners over the period studied, so is one to watch – if only Villa weren’t so wretched at the back.
Six different Villa players have taken direct free-kicks this season, with Hourihane and Anwar El Ghazi (£5.5m) having had a joint-high four efforts each.
With Diego Rico (£4.2m) having lost his place in Gameweek 27, Ryan Fraser (£6.8m) has asserted his dominance at corner-kick situations after a two-way fight between the pair.
Harry Wilson (£5.8m) is the go-to guy when it comes to direct free-kicks, however, having taken 12 of them this season, considerably more than any other Bournemouth player.
With Eddie Howe likely to have a plethora of wide-midfield options available when we resume, second-guessing when Wilson starts is another matter.
Bit-part player Junior Stanislas (£5.9m) had been the main man for free-kicks in 2018/19 and is one of many alternatives who has returned from injury in the spring.
Aaron Mooy (£4.8m) has dominated at corner-kick situations over the six Gameweeks in question but perhaps only because Pascal Gross (£6.2m) has been a peripheral figure.
Gross has taken more corners than any other Brighton asset this season but has fallen foul of Graham Potter’s rotation policy and has only started three of Albion’s last ten games.
Mooy, conversely, has been a regular starter under his manager from Gameweek 13 onwards.
Gross is also a regular on direct free-kicks but it’s centre-half Lewis Dunk (£4.7m), surprisingly, who has had more attempts on goal in those situations this season.
Dwight McNeil (£6.1m) and Ashley Westwood (£5.5m) have been sharing the Clarets’ corners in 2019/20, with the latter more involved.
Westwood’s standing, however, perhaps owes a lot to Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.9m) absence, with the set-piece regular having been injured for much of the season.
Westwood and McNeil have also shared free-kick duties, with Robbie Brady (£5.5m) and Gudmundsson chipping in on the rare occasions that they have played.
Chelsea’s dead-ball takers have rotated frequently this season, although Mason Mount (£6.2m) and Willian (£7.0m) continue to be the most involved.
Reece James (£5.1m) intriguingly started to play a more prominent role in Gameweeks 24-29, taking eight of the Blues’ corners in that time.
Mount has taken as many direct free-kicks as the rest of the Chelsea squad combined in 2019/20 but, given his track record, Marcos Alonso‘s (£6.2m) recent return to the team is noteworthy and he himself was allowed to have a pop at goal in the three Gameweeks before coronavirus stopped play.
Luka Milivojevic‘s (£6.7m) recent absence, through illness and then an inability to regain his place, has contributed to Patrick van Aanholt‘s (£5.6m) rise.
The Serb has been Palace’s chief set-piece specialist for some time now but van Aanholt has taken more corners (18) than any of his teammates in the Eagles’ last six matches, with Milivojevic only registering two starts in that time.
James McCarthy (£4.3m) has also chipped in with 11 corners during this period.
Encouragingly for van Aanholt, he still edged Milivojevic for corners taken (eight to six) when the two players were in the same side in Gameweeks 25 and 26.
Everton’s dead-ball situations have been dominated by two men, namely Lucas Digne (£5.7m) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3m).
The left-back edges the Iceland international for corners and free-kicks both over the season as a whole and over the last six ‘active’ Gameweeks.
On the few occasions Digne hasn’t played, understudy Leighton Baines (£4.9m) has rolled back the years at set plays.
Leicester’s situation is nice and easy: when James Maddison (£7.5m) plays, he takes pretty much everything.
The England international has delivered 144 corners this season, which no other FPL asset can beat.
The mid-price midfielder is also in double figures for direct free-kick attempts.
Youri Tielemans (£6.1m) has taken 13 corner-kicks but nine of those came in Gameweek 7 when Maddison was absent.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.8m) has registered more assists from set plays (seven) than any other Premier League player this season and continues to be Liverpool’s main set-piece specialist, having taken over two-thirds of their corners and free-kicks in 2019/20.
Mohamed Salah (£12.7m) has occupied more of a backseat since the autumn but Andrew Robertson (£7.0m) has become more involved of late, with 17 of his 18 corners taken having been recorded from Gameweek 19 onwards.
Kevin De Bruyne (£10.6m) is generally the first in line at Manchester City’s dead-ball situations but he doesn’t have the complete monopoly, having delivered less than half of his side’s corner-kicks in Gameweeks 24-29.
Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) and Ilkay Gundogan (£5.2m) have, like the Belgian, reached double figures for corners taken over the period in question.
Despite De Bruyne’s prominence at set pieces (144 corner-kicks taken this season), only two of his 18 assists haven’t come from open play.
Direct free-kicks have been shared around the team but De Bruyne and Mahrez lead the way over the season with six apiece and are the only two City players to have taken one in the six Gameweeks before the ongoing hiatus.
There’s a new kid on the block at Old Trafford and he’s unquestionably now usurped Fred (£5.3m) as Manchester United’s primary corner-taker.
Bruno Fernandes (£8.6m) offers FPL managers multiple routes to points and set plays are one of them: since his debut, he has taken just under 75% of the Red Devils’ corner-kicks and all of their direct free-kicks.
He’ll soon face competition from the fit-again Marcus Rashford (£8.8m) at direct free-kick situations, though, with the England forward having taken more of those than all bar one Premier League player this season.
FPL defender Matt Ritchie (£5.3m) took 26 corners from Gameweeks 24-29, with only three Premier League players delivering more.
The Scot still held the upper hand even when Jonjo Shelvey (£4.9m) returned from injury in Gameweek 28 and those two players are seemingly first in line when fit and selected.
Shelvey scored an excellent free-kick against West Ham in December and would appear to be the Magpies’ first choice in those situations, although youngster Sean Longstaff (£5.0m) has also been showing a keen interest.
New signing Ondrej Duda (£4.7m) has been Daniel Farke’s most trusted lieutenant at dead-ball situations since joining the club in January, even when hitherto first choice Emi Buendia (£6.0m) was recalled to the starting XI in Gameweek 28.
Those two players were the only Norwich assets to take direct free-kicks in Gameweeks 24-29.
John Fleck (£5.0m) and Oliver Norwood (£4.9m) have dominated Sheffield United’s set plays this season, with Norwood edging his fellow midfielder for corners taken in the six Gameweeks before the Premier League was suspended and over the season as a whole.
Norwood has been the Blades’ only taker of direct free-kicks in 2019/20.
James Ward-Prowse (£5.7m) has been utterly dominant at free-kicks and corners for Southampton for most of this season, although Gameweeks 24-29 saw him cede more of his duties to left-back Ryan Bertrand (£4.8m).
The defender took 18 of the Saints’ 46 corners over that six-match period, with Ward-Prowse responsible for 27.
With Christian Eriksen leaving for pastures new, an opportunity has opened up at Spurs.
Giovani Lo Celso (£7.3m) and Son Heung-min (£9.7m) have taken all bar two of the Lilywhites’ corners since the Dane’s departure, with the Korean on top until he was injured in the February win over Aston Villa.
Erik Lamela (£5.7m) has barely featured at corner-kicks since Jose Mourinho took charge although has admittedly had few minutes.
The Argentine has chanced his arm on four occasions from free-kicks in 2019/20 but, given the ongoing concerns about his stamina and the competition for places in midfield, it could be Harry Kane (£10.8m) who benefits most from Eriksen’s exit in these situations.
Watford haven’t scored a single goal direct from a corner this season and the fact that 11 different players have taken at least one hints that they are still experimenting with the formula.
More recently, Will Hughes (£5.3m) and Adam Masina (£4.3m) have been charged with the responsibility, taking 20 of the Hornets’ last 25 corners between them.
Gerard Deulofeu (£6.1m) has taken more direct free-kicks than any of his teammates this season but, with the Spaniard now sidelined through injury, the likes of Roberto Pereyra (£5.6m) will be hoping to get a look-in, having not done so under Nigel Pearson to date.
Robert Snodgrass (£5.2m) tends to step up to plate at indirect set-piece situations when he is on the pitch but he has struggled to nail down regular starts under David Moyes, with Aaron Cresswell (£4.5m) and Mark Noble (£5.0m) deputising at corners as a result.
Cresswell scored a fine free-kick against Manchester United earlier in the season and is at the front of the queue in those situations.
Joao Moutinho (£5.4m) is Wolves’ undisputed first-choice corner-taker.
Moutinho has delivered 137 of Wolves’ 153 corner-kicks this season, with Ruben Neves (£5.2m) deputising for his compatriot when he has been off the field of play.
Moutinho was initially top dog for free-kick attempts too but Neves has upset the established order of late, taking four in Gameweeks 24-29 alone.
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