Analyzing the impact of effective set-pieces in 2024/25

Explore how Chelsea's set-piece difficulties last season affected their goal scoring and how enhancing this critical area can greatly improve their attacking effectiveness.
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The summer transfer window excites Chelsea fans as potential signings can help elevate the squad next season in an attempt to climb up the Premier League ladder. However, there was a figure brought in recently and will arguably be one of the most influential personnel for Enzo Maresca next season - former Brentford set-piece coach Bernardo Cueva.

Under Thomas Frank, the Bees quickly emerged as one of the best set-piece teams. Over the last three seasons in the league, according to, Brentford ranked second for chances created from dead-ball situations.


SCA from Dead-Ball Situations

Metric Ranking in the Premier League










Cueva, having joined the West London club in 2020, was a key contributor to this. From the next campaign, their rivals, Chelsea, will enjoy the services of the Mexican, who will assist in transforming their set-piece proficiency.

Limited Aerial Threat in 2023/24

Chelsea's sporting directors wisely identified a key weakness area of the team and addressed it immediately - their underperformance in set plays. The remedy is not only the arrival of Cueva but also the addition of players this summer who are adept in dead-ball scenarios.

Chelsea's potential and arrived incomings this season have a similar trait. Tosin Adarabioyo, Michael Olise, Jhon Durán, Serhou Guirassy, and Crysencio Summerville - are dominant figures in the air or are expert deliverers of set pieces.

The data represents Chelsea's need for reinforcements in this department. When analyzing their performance in this regard, using Opta Analyst's stats, the Blue's output has been below par.



League Ranking

Set-piece shots attempted



Set-piece xG



Set-piece goals scored



Specifically, their production of shots and xG (expected goals) from set plays was disappointing. Although Chelsea scored more goals than statistically expected, their output was not up to a top team's standard.

Furthermore, Chelsea's 20th league ranking in set-piece goals to total goals ratio highlights their overreliance on capitalizing on open-play chances.

Their lack of aerial threat was also an issue from a defensive perspective. With limited height in the team, Chelsea was vulnerable in defending set-pieces - conceding a troubling volume of shots, xG, and goals. Therefore, the Blues had to remedy this issue swiftly, and it seems that they are in pursuit of finding the answers this summer.



League Ranking

Set-piece shots conceded



Set-piece xG conceded



Set-piece goals conceded



Platform for Improvement

Having ranked fifth for goals scored (77) and chances created (74.5 xG) in the Premier League last season, Maresca will inherit an attacking Chelsea side. However, to compete with the best in the division, the Italian manager must elevate the Blues' offensive threat.

The arrival of the former Brentford coach will boost Chelsea's productivity from set-pieces and contribute to the team's goal tally. This summer period will be critical for Cueva to brew the perfect formula and provide the heat for Chelsea to thrive in set plays next season.

With specialist dead-ball deliverers and finishers in transit to Stamford Bridge, the coaching staff will aim to push up their status as the top dog amongst the Premier League's pack from set-plays.