Revealed: The Premier League's 10 best free-kick takers since 2013
Is there anything more beautiful in football than a goal from a direct free-kick? We at FFT certainly don't think so, which is why we've compiled this list of the Premier League's best free-kick takers based on Opta data.
Players are first ranked on the number of free-kicks they've scored between the start of the 2013/14 campaign and 2 October this year, then on their success rate (Jermaine Pennant and Alvaro Negredo would be joint-winners if we listed players on this alone, with each having scored one goal from one attempt).
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10. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Goals: 3 Attempts: 29 (one every 9.67 attempts)
Three of Rooney's 38 Premier League goals in this period have come from free-kicks, enough to secure the Manchester United captain a spot in the top 10. He may no longer be guaranteed a place in the Red Devils' starting line-up, but Rooney's proved over the years that he's one of the most reliable free-kick takers in the country.
9. Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
Goals: 3 Attempts: 28 (one every 9.33 attempts)
Suarez makes the cut despite the fact he left Liverpool for Barcelona over two years ago. The Uruguay international's 28 attempts in the 2013/14 campaign is more than any other player's managed in a single season since then, with Suarez making the net bulge from three of those efforts.
Suarez scores against Hull
8. Kevin Mirallas (Everton)
Goals: 3 Attempts: 27 (one every 9 attempts)
Mirallas endured a frustrating last term at Goodison Park, with the Belgian limited to just 10 Premier League starts and six direct free-kick attempts. His record in the two previous years - three goals from 21 shots - is good enough to earn him a place on this list, though.
8. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Goals: 3 Attempts: 27 (one every 9 attempts)
Arsenal forward Sanchez has the exact same record as Mirallas, scoring three times from 27 efforts on goal. The Chilean specialises in closer-range shots, usually caressing the ball with the inside of his foot in an attempt to bend it over the wall and into the top corner.
6. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Goals: 3 Attempts: 20 (one every 6.67 attempts)
Gerrard scored a total of eight free-kicks in his Liverpool career, three of which came in the Premier League in 2013/14 and 2014/15. The former Reds skipper was able to combine lethal power with pinpoint accuracy, a mix which made his efforts particularly hard to keep out when they were on target.
Gerrard gives Liverpool the lead against Everton in 2014
5. Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace)
Goals: 3 Attempts: 9 (one every 3 attempts)
Puncheon's tremendous conversion rate makes it somewhat puzzling that he's only had a shot at goal from nine free-kicks in the last three years. The Palace midfielder clearly isn't afraid to test himself against the big boys: his three successes since joining the club in 2013 have come against Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City.
4. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea)
Goals: 4 Attempts: 32 (one every 8 attempts)
Sigurdsson is one of the Premier League's foremost free-kick specialists, scoring four times since August 2013. His best and most memorable strike came against Arsenal in November 2014, when the Icelander punished a Kieran Gibbs foul on team-mate Modou Barrow by curling the ball past Wojciech Szczesny from 25 yards.
3. Yaya Toure (Man City)
Goals: 4 Attempts: 23 (one every 5.75 attempts)
All of Toure's four goals in this period came in 2013/14, when the Manchester City midfielder had a staggering 57 per cent success rate. The Ivory Coast international manages to generate a great deal of whip on his free-kicks, with despairing goalkeepers often finding themselves unable to reach the ball as it curves agonisingly away from them.
Toure bends one in against Newcastle
2. Juan Mata (Man Utd)
Goals: 4 Attempts: 18 (one every 4.5 attempts)
Mata's goals-to-attempts ratio is one of the best in the Premier League, with the left-footed playmaker requiring - on average - fewer than five shots to score since the 2013/14 season got under way. While the Spaniard tends not to get too much power on his strikes, preferring instead to stroke the ball with his instep, they can be virtually impossible to stop when he gets it right.
1. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
Goals: 6 Attempts: 61 (one every 10.17 attempts)
Spurs' Danish playmaker is officially the highest-scoring free-kick taker in the Premier League since he arrived in the division at the start of the 2013/14 campaign. Eriksen possesses brilliant technique from set-play situations, with the 24-year-old able to get significant dip and bend on the ball as a result of the way he strikes it.