Set piece tips: Everything you need to know about betting on corners and free kicks
The Premier League has always been home to some of the best set-piece takers in the world, from bending it like Beckham to whipping it like Ward-Prowse. But did you know bookmakers are now offering you more ways than ever to bet on these dead-ball specialists?
Here’s our quick guide to the markets that are available to bet on, and the players you should be keeping an eye on in 2022/23.
What set-piece betting markets do bookmakers offer?
To score a free-kick
Certain bookmakers will offer higher odds for a player to score a free-kick as this doesn’t happen all too often in a top-flight game. To win this bet, the player must strike from a dead-ball situation from outside the box. If the ball is rolled to them by a teammate, for example, the event wouldn’t be categorised as a free-kick goal.
James Ward-Prowse has scored more direct free-kicks than any Premier League side has since the beginning of the 2020/21 season, followed by Leicester City’s James Maddison. Kieran Trippier scored with two of his first four free-kicks for Newcastle and has a total of three over the aforementioned timeframe. No other active Premier League player has scored multiple direct free-kick goals in this time.
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To provide an assist
This market doesn’t exclusively apply to set-pieces, but backing a player who creates many chances from dead-ball situations could give you an edge with certain wagers.
Most bookmakers will settle this bet in accordance with Opta’s decision as to whether the player has provided an assist or not, so it is important to be aware of their definition: “The final touch (pass, pass-cum-shot or any other touch) leading to the recipient of the ball scoring a goal. If the final touch (as defined in bold) is deflected by an opposition player, the initiator is only given a goal assist if the receiving player was likely to receive the ball without the deflection having taken place. Own goals, directly taken free kicks, direct corner goals and penalties do not get an assist awarded.”
Kevin De Bruyne leads the way in all the important creative statistics so far in 2022/23, having creating more chances (40), more big chances (13), providing more assists (9) and having a higher xA (5.44) than any other Premier League player.
|Position||Player||Assists||Chances created||Minutes Played|
|1st||Kevin De Bruyne||9||40||955|
Players with the same amount of chances created are ranked by fewer minutes played. Stats correct as of 14:45, 31/10/22.
Team and Match corners
Most bookmakers offer total or over/under markets on team corners. There have been on average 10 corners per game in the Premier League in 2022/23, with Liverpool, Newcastle United and Manchester City the only three sides averaging more seven or more corners per match so far this campaign.
As you’d expect, there is a correlation between the number of shots a team takes and the number of corners they win. Liverpool, Newcastle and Man City are also the only three teams to record 200+ shots on goal (including blocks) in the Premier League this season.
Nottingham Forest have won the fewest corners in the Premier League this season with 41, while also conceding the second-most (94).
Every Premier League’s side’s first-choice set-piece taker (data since 2020/21)
Many teams have more than one corner-taker, switching kickers depending on the side of the pitch, whether they want to go with an in-swinger or an out-swinger, set-piece routines and other factors. But there are still patterns showing a favoured corner taker over the past three seasons. The same can be said for free-kicks, with some differences depending on the position – you’re not going to get Cristiano Ronaldo to try and curl a ball in from the edge of the box.
Some teams have also changed set-piece takers this season, whether that’s through the former favourite leaving, dropping into a squad role, or a new player coming in. But the table below shows the current favourites for each Premier League club and their recent set-piece records.
|Team||Corner Taker||Cross Accuracy||Chances Created Set-Pieces||Free-Kick Taker||Free-Kick Conversion|
|Arsenal||Bukayo Saka||25%||27||Martin Ødegaard||6% (1/17)|
|Aston Villa||Douglas Luiz||22%||20||Douglas Luiz||0% (0/10)|
|Bournemouth||Marcus Tavernier||23%||2||Marcus Tavernier||0% (0/2)|
|Brentford||Mathias Jensen||37%||28||Ivan Toney||25% (1/4)|
|Brighton||Pascal Gross||20%||81||Alexis Mac Allister||14% (1/7)|
|Chelsea||Mason Mount||32%||64||Mason Mount||8% (1/13)|
|Crystal Palace||Eberechi Eze||28%||24||Eberechi Eze||10% (1/10)|
|Everton||Demarai Gray||26%||17||Demarai Gray||0% (0/7)|
|Fulham||Andreas Pereira||44%||21||Andreas Pereira||0% (0/6)|
|Leeds||Jack Harrison||17%||20||Sam Greenwood||0% (0/3)|
|Leicester||James Maddison||20%||38||James Maddison||13% (4/32)|
|Liverpool||Trent Alexander-Arnold||27%||78||Trent Alexander-Arnold||3.7% (1/27)|
|Man City||Kevin De Bruyne||25%||58||Kevin De Bruyne||5% (1/20)|
|Man Utd||Bruno Fernandes||26%||35||Bruno Fernandes||0% (0/24)|
|Newcastle||Kieran Trippier||42%||27||Kieran Trippier||38% (3/8)|
|Nottingham Forest||Morgan Gibbs-White||29%||5||Emmanuel Dennis||0% (0/2)|
|Southampton||James Ward-Prowse||24%||99||James Ward-Prowse||17% (8/46)|
|Tottenham||Son Heung-Min||24%||69||Harry Kane||0% (0/22)|
|West Ham||Jarrod Bowen||21%||27||Aaron Cresswell||5% (1/21)|
|Wolves||Joao Moutinho||27%||42||Ruben Neves||5% (1/22)|
Data correct as of 14:45, 31/10/22.
In terms of assists from set plays this season, Fulham’s Andreas Pereira and Tottenham wing-back Ivan Perisic lead the way with four apiece. Pereira has created far more chances, a league-high 21 compared to Perisic’s eigh — although the Spurs’ player also has the joint-most set-piece assists in the Champions League this season (2).
Who are the Premier League’s best set-piece takers past and present?
- David Beckham has scored more direct free-kicks than any other player in Premier League history (18). The next best total of 13 belongs to James Ward-Prowse, who has scored more Premier League free-kicks than Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham combined (8 v 7) since the start of the 2020/21 season.
- Mason Mount has the most assists (13) during set plays in the Premier League since the start of the 2019/20 season, followed by Trent Alexander-Arnold (12) and James Ward-Prowse (12).
- Stretching that data pool back even further, Christian Eriksen has provided more assists from set-pieces than any other Premier League player since the start of the 2016/17 season (20), despite starting just 133 games in that time across spells with Tottenham, Brentford and Man Utd.
- And lastly, stepping away from the best set-piece takers to bring you a less enviable stat: Since Opta data started in 2003/04, only Jay-Jay Okocha (54) has taken more free-kicks in a row without scoring than Harry Kane (53).