Who is the Premier League's best free-kick taker?
After James Ward-Prowse hit back-to-back, superb free-kicks against Manchester United last week, and Tottenham Hostpur this week, a question was raised about who is really the best free-kick taker in the Premier League.
James Ward-Prowse (4 Free-kick goals since 2015/16)
Ward-Prowse has managed to gain the fame over the years of being a set-piece specialist, with his stunning set-pieces not only leading to goals for himself, but to also plenty of assists.
The Englishman has managed to lead from the front this season, often being Southampton's talisman and their main source of much-needed quality from midfield. If there was ever going to be a season where Ward-Prowse would need to step up, it was this one, with Southampton struggling in the relegation zone, and he has managed to do so wonderfully, especially with his consistent deliveries.
Juan Mata (8 Free-kick goals since 2011/12)
Juan Mata's small stature has regularly ruled him out of going into the box to meet a free-kick or corner delivered by another player. This has also made him become one of the best set-piece takers in the whole Premier League, consistently showcasing his brilliance from a dead-ball. His most notable free-kick goals in the Premier League were the one he scored against his current club, Manchester United, in 2012/13, when he was still a Chelsea player, and also the game-winning free-kick against Watford in 2015/16, as a Manchester United player, from a ridiculous distance.
Mata has always managed to provide from set-pieces, and he might have played more Premier League seasons than the young Ward-Prowse, yet he has managed to score an outstanding number of eight free-kick goals, being third in the all-time list of most free-kick goals, after Cristiano Ronaldo with nine, and Sebastian Larsson, who has a remarkable 11 goals.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (7 Free-kick goals since 2011/12)
The Icelandic international has earned a reputation of being one of the deadliest free-kick takers in the whole league, with his powerful strikes resulting in seven free-kick goals, ever since he made his mark in the Premier League in 2011/12.
Sigurdsson's height might suggest that he would be one of the players to join inside the box to meet the deliveries, yet several managers trust him to be the one taking the free-kicks, and that trust has often paid dividends, with him being the main set-piece taker for Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Everton, during the seasons he has played for the clubs.
Christian Eriksen (6 Free-kick goals since 2013/14)
Eriksen still holds the record for being the player to score the most free-kicks ever since he arrived in the Premier League, with a whopping tally of six goals during his time with Spurs. Whilst statistically, he has not scored a free-kick in the league since 2015/16, this is still extremely impressive, considering the short time that he has been at Tottenham.
Eriksen's curlers have become one of his most well-known traits, with his sublime deliveries being one of Harry Kane's main outlet for goals, who has relished the opportunity to have crosses whipped in by the Danish superstar.
Robert Snodgrass (6 Free-kick goals since 2012/13)
Snodgrass has always been known to have a deadly left foot, with his immensely powerful free-kicks being a regular instance for all the teams that he has played for in the Premier League, with those being, Norwich City, Hull City, and West Ham United.
The Scottish international had been deprived of opportunities to play earlier during his time at West Ham United, yet he has now managed to hold onto his starting spot in the team, and whilst he has not scored from a set-piece for West Ham yet, he has done so consistently for his previous teams, with his last goals from free-kicks coming for Hull City, during the 2016/17 season.
Therefore, whilst there may be a host of quality Premier League set-piece takers, a new flurry to scorers from dead-balls has emerged, with Marcus Rashford, Lucas Digne, and the most successful one, James Ward-Prowse, all having opportunities to showcase their ability from set-pieces.