Newcastle have been without a set-piece specialist for a few years now, but Salomon Rondon is quietly proving to be one of the best free kick takers in the league.
The Venezuelan is an unlikely free kick specialist considering his target man image, but his accuracy this season has been phenomenal.
He’s only scored once from a dead ball situation this season, but he’s been desperately unlucky not to bag more.
Rondon scored a fantastic free kick against Bournemouth in a 2-2 draw in March, which left supporters speechless.
However it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
He’d almost done the same just two weeks earlier against West Ham, but on that occasion his effort struck the post.
In December, he took a free kick against Wolves which came crashing off the bar, and eventually led to a goal from Ayoze Perez.
And he was at it again on Friday night, sending a thunderous curling effort off the bar against Leicester.
It’s a bizarre statistic, especially given that in his entire Premier League career, he’s only hit the woodwork on ten occasions.
He’s been very unfortunate, but his free kick skills still deserve far more recognition.
Rondon: The league’s best free kick taker?
Granit Xhaka, James Ward-Prowse and Lucas Digne have all scored two, while Leicester’s James Maddison has bagged three.
Ironically, Maddison hit his own free kick effort in Friday’s match with Newcastle, a woeful strike that flew well over the bar.
However it is the Englishman who leads the way and is regarded as a free-kick specialist.
But although these players have scored more efforts than Rondon, could they boast a better accuracy?
The striker has taken very few free kicks this season, and yet has sent the keeper sprawling on four occasions.
Players like Maddison meanwhile take free kicks week in week out, and don’t always trouble the keeper.
If Rondon starts taking all of Newcastle’s direct free kicks, it wouldn’t be long before his talent is realised.
For now it remains a secret weapon, but hopefully Rondon will bend it like Beckham one more time before the season’s end.