Opinion: Spurs’ lack of free-kick goals – how valuable are they and how do they score more?

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Christian Eriksen
Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Harry Kane has often been the player to pick up the ball after a foul around the opposition’s box and set himself for yet another freekick opportunity.

This comes despite the Tottenham striker only ever scoring one goal from a freekick scenario at the beginning of his career against Aston Villa when Tottenham’s number 10 struck the ball off the wall and it was deflected goalwards to secure a late win.

Kane’s opportunities of taking a freekick in the seasons following that successful attempt against Villa were very few and far between due to set-piece-specialist, Christian Eriksen, still being at the club.

Tottenham have lacked any sort of set-piece prowess since the Danish midfielder departed the club in January of 2020, where he left to join current Tottenham coach, Antonio Conte at Inter Milan.

Gareth Bale is obviously the only other player who has joined Spurs since who is known to have had great freekick abilities but with the Welshman’s tenure at the club being so brief it meant that he only took a very small amount of freekicks.

Of course, this didn’t stop him from causing a goal from one as he struck one from long-range against the crossbar in the Europa League as the ball landed into fellow loanee, Carlos Vinicius’ path allowing the Brazilian to strike the ball home.

Heung Min Son whipped in a deep freekick against Watford back in August of 2021 when the ball managed to find its way in after it wrong-footed the Watford ‘keeper, Bachmann, and is currently Tottenham’s only Premier League freekick goal of the last two seasons.

Barring that cross/shot of a freekick by Son, Tottenham’s last goal from a freekick was by Christian Eriksen, weeks before he left the club, as he fired a shot into the top left against Norwich, drawing the game back level for Spurs.

Recently, the free-kick responsibilities have been taken up by Harry Kane and Eric Dier, the Spurs centre back has only notched up one free-kick goal and that was for his nation, England in EURO 2016.

Dier hit a rocket against Russia in the Three Lions’ opening group game, however, Eric is still yet to convert any of his many attempts for Tottenham.

Although his most recent shot against Newcastle last Sunday was wide of the mark, it was still a lot closer than Kane’s latest efforts; most of which have been struck against the wall leaving Spurs fans frustrated and groaning at yet another missed opportunity.

It leaves fans pondering over the squad trying to analyse who is their best freekick taker. Currently, it appears that Dier is the most threatening from free-kicks but there are players such as Heung Min Son who haven’t even been given the opportunity.

The South Korean could be an interesting set-piece taker option due to his ability to clinically finish with either foot or his tendency to whip the ball into the corner; however, as we have seen with Kane hitting the ball from a still scenario can be a whole different game to striking it when it’s in play.

As the Spurs squad does seem to be lacking in a set-piece specialist maybe they could turn to the transfer market in the summer and perhaps hit two birds with one stone by improving the squad whilst also adding a whole different aspect to Conte’s team.

The value of freekicks can be the difference between a title, Champions League and even a team’s place in the league.

The most glaring example of this would be Southampton’s midfield ace, James Ward-Prowse, who is deadly from free kicks with his goals from a dead ball scenario winning the Saints two extra points from the free-kicks he’s fired home.

If Spurs had Ward-Prowse’s freekick abilities winning them points it would be incredibly valuable to them, especially in this season with the race for top four being so nail-bitingly close.

I’m not saying Spurs should go out and purchase Ward-Prowse this summer but there is someone else who Spurs fans are more than familiar with who could be a great signing and a prolific freekick taker.

That man is former Spur Christian Eriksen, who following his cardiac arrest at EURO 2020 has joined fellow London club Brentford on a contract for the remainder of the season.

Tottenham are reportedly keeping a close eye on their former player (Daily Mail) and with Christian previously working with new Tottenham manager Antonio Conte it could spell for a perfect reunion at Hotspur Way come next season.

Eriksen has somewhat of a free-kick pedigree as he has scored eight direct free-kick goals in his time in the Premier League, making him one of the most prolific takers during his time there (Premier League).

Obviously, Eriksen offers other aspects such as his unfathomable passing range and creativity but his dangerous freekicks would be another strong string to his bow and could earn Tottenham crucial points in what will be no doubt another highly competitive Premier League season.

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