The surprise name who could challenge Marcos Alonso & Willian for free-kick duty at Chelsea

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri has a number of set-piece specialists at his disposal.

Marcos Alonso and Willian are usually found over the ball when the Blues have a free-kick in decent range, while Eden Hazard has shown he’s also capable of finding the back of the net from these situations.

Last season the Spanish full-back managed to net three goals direct from free-kicks, including a fabulous strike in the 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium back in August 2017.

However, Willian didn’t manage to net one despite scoring 13 goals for the club.

His best total came back in the 2015/16 campaign when five of his goals came directly from set pieces, with a further three coming 12 months later but he’s yet to score one under the Italian tactician.

Could that prompt a change in taker?

Despite Sarri having plenty of options to take control of free-kicks, youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi has suggested himself as well as another two players who tend to find the net quite often at the club’s Cobham training base.

“Maybe myself, I’ve taken a couple and done well with them,” the teenager told the club’s official website . “But Emerson as well, he has great technique.

“I’d also say Kovacic, I’ve seen him bend them around the wall into the top corner.”

Kovacic being named might come as a surprise to some Blues supporters given the midfielder – who is on loan at Stamford Bridge from Real Madrid – has yet to score in any of his 32 appearances so far this season.

If the likes of Hazard, Willian and Alonso are rested for this evening’s Europa League round of 16 second leg tie against Dynamo Kiev, it could mean that one of Hudson-Odoi, Emerson or Kovacic get the chance to show off their dead ball expertise.

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