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Japanese J1 League 2022 - Set piece takers for Sorare


Intro


One of the first things I look at when researching a new league or when looking for undervalued players on Sorare is set piece takers. This is because they can give "cheap" points even if they havent performed that well, particularly from scoring penalties!


Freekick and corner kick takers also have more opportunities to provide assists. Personal favourites include Aspas, Ben Yedder and Parejo as not only are they amazing players but are on set pieces.


The Japanese J1 League is no different and this post looks at each teams main set pieces takers and brings together data from last year and my own personal take. This will hopefully help give you an edge and improve your chances in getting rewards in the Asia and All Star divisions on Sorare!



Teams





Set Piece takers


  • Esaka

  • Iwao

  • Koizumi

  • Junker


Pen Taker: Esaka/Iwao



Asia sorare Esaka

With so many changes happening at Urawa it is difficult to know there best X11 and also who their main set piece takers will be. One thing is for sure, they are spoilt for choice!


Esaka is a great set piece and pen taker. Last season Yamanaka took more corners/freekicks but he has now moved to C.Osaka.


Iwao was a winter signing from Tokushima and is an excellent set piece taker who is likely to take a lot of the corners/FKs. What is less known is if he will be a regular starter. For me he will be but for now I have Esaka as just about the most important set piece taker for them.




Set Piece takers


  • Hatuse

  • Iniesta


Pen Taker: Iniesta






When Iniesta is playing, he is taking the lion share of set pieces. He also took and scored all 4 penalties that Vissel got last year.


Despite his age, he is still playing a lot of games and looks at ease in the J League. In the second half of last season, Iniesta was one Vissels driving force as they went on a decent run of form.


Saying that, Hatsuse played 33 games for Vissel and is an excellent corner kick taker too which can be very beneficial when you have players like Kikuchi ready to pounce!




Set Piece takers


  • Harakawa

  • Maruhashi

  • Kiyotake


Pen Taker: Kiyotake/Taggart





With only 4 pens awarded last season and just 2 converted from different players, its hard to know who the preferred pen taker is (especially with transfers in).


Harakawa, however is the main freekick and corner kick taker. Maruhashi also takes on average 1.3 corners per 90 he plays and was able to notch up 6 assists last year.




Set Piece takers

  • Wakizaka

  • Seko

Pen Taker: Damiao




Wakizaka is the main freekick and corner kick taker for Frontale. He takes on average 4 per 90 mins and has excellent technique.


Seko is also an excellent set piece taker, however I feel that he will be below Wakizaka in the pecking order due to less experience/seniority. Wakizaka was just made deputy captain which shows how the manager feels about him.


Again, not many penalties for Frontale last year but if Damiao is on the pitch, he will be taking them.




Set Piece takers

  • Mateus

  • Sento

Pen Taker: Mateus





Mateus was the main FK and Corner kick taker last season, with 3 FK and 3 corners taken per 90. He was particularly effective in the first half of the season but had a slightly disappointing end of the season much like the whole team.


Sento transferred in from Sagan Tosu and can also take corners. Its still unknown if he will be in the first X11 (I think he will be) but I still expect Mateus to be taking most.


Mateus will likely be on pens, especially with the uncertainty over striker Jakub Świerczok future




Set Piece takers

  • Araki

  • Pituca

  • Higuchi

Pen Taker: Suzuki/Araki/Ueda/



Araki sorare u23


Antlers have a number of very good dead ball takers depending on the position/situation. With Higuchi coming in from Sagan Tosu, this has increased the options available next year.


For me Araki was the stand out player last year for a lot of reasons including his natural ability and quality at set pieces. He averaged 2.5 corner kicks per game putting him as the highest in the team.


Pen kicks again were shared amongst Araki, Ueda and Doi last season so it feels like it depends a lot on who is fouled and/or on the pitch! Suzuki has rejoined the team and he was the main pen taker in 2018 when he last played for Antlers. I can see him playing a pivotal role in general next season.


I have started putting together predicted starting X11 for each team and it is hard to squeeze all the talent Antlers have into a X11. I will tackle that in another post coming soon!



Set Piece takers

  • Nishizawa

  • Yuito Suzuki


Pen Taker: Santanta




Amazingly, Shimizu didnt have a single penalty kick awarded last year! Santanta is likeliest to be taking them ....if they ever come!


With set pieces/free kicks - much like their season it was very average in terms of creating goals of big chances. Nishizawa struggled to find form and was out of the team for a while too. However he is the main corner and free kick taker for them, averaging almost 4 corners per game.



Set Piece takers

  • Leandro

  • Higashi

  • Ogawa

Pen Taker: Oliveira



Leandro sorare asia FC Tokyo

Leandro feels like the pantomime villain of the J League. There certainly always is a story when he is involved (both bad and good!) He was in exile for the first half of the season, then came back with some stunning form, only for it to abruptly end after being sent off for elbowing Nakatani and feeling the fury of the nation.


It was touch and go if he would stay but this has been finally confirmed. What can be said about him is that he has the ability to do something special and when on the pitch, will be the main FK taker in attacking spots. What role he has with FC Tokyo and if he can control himself both on the pitch and on social media is still unknown though.


Higashi and Ogawa were the main corner kick takers but this was rotated a lot and Leandro was doing 2.5 corners per game when he was on the pitch,



Set Piece takers

  • Marcos Junior

  • Nagato

Pen Taker: Marcos Junior




Junior is the main pen taker for YFM, scoring all 5 pens last season. He also takes on average 3 corners per game and will take FKs sometimes too.


Nagato was signed from Antlers and is also a CK taker so will taking these if/when playing.


There are strong rumours that Lopes will be signing for YFM. If this does happen, he will be in the running for taking pens.




Set Piece takers

  • Usami

  • Yamamoto

Pen Taker: Patric





Usami had a somewhat disappointing season much like most of the Gamba team. However, he and they ended it strong. He is the main FK taker and took 1.4 per game and was particularly a threat at creating chances.


Yamamoto is also taking corners and in general is a threat with his playmaking. I expect him to play a central role for Gamba next year.


Patric scored all 4 pens he took and will be first pick this season when on the pitch.



Set Piece takers

  • Nakamura

  • Croux

  • Lukian

Pen Taker: Lukian





Emil Salomonsson was the main set piece taker last season, but now he has left, there is uncertainty on who will be taking over


Shun Nakamura had a disjointed season but is a decent CK taker, taking 2.5 per 90 mins.


New signing Lukian was excellent at pen taking last season in J2 and I expect him to be taking pens this year. However, with the first X11 still unknown, it could well be Croux or Delgado taking them depending on who plays




Set Piece takers

  • Savio

  • Dodi


Pen Taker: Douglas




It was a disappointing season for Kashiwa. They have also lost Cristiano and last season lost there main set piece taker in Esaka in the summer.


Set pieces were heavily rotated amongst players, with Kamiya taking on average 5 per game when he played. However, he has now moved to Shimizu so it uncertain who will be the main corner kick taker


I expect Douglas to be on pens now he has joined from Vissel Kobe.




Set Piece takers

  • Morishima

  • Higashi


Pen Taker: Viera/Santos



Morishima is no doubt the main set piece taker for Hiroshima. He averages 4 corners per game and is known for this direct FKs. However, last season he wasnt able to get any FK goals and the number of assists was relatively poor at 4. His season was cut short by injury, but he should be back for the start of the season.


On pens I see Santos or Vieira taking them.




Set Piece takers

  • Fukumori

  • Xavier

  • Fernandes


Pen Taker: Xavier/Fernandes/Koroki




Fukumori is one of the best set piece takers in the league and known for scoring some spectacular FK goals. Last year he had some injuries which effected his season but was putting in 4.7 corners per game and plenty of FKs on target.


Lopes was the main pen taker for Sapporo but after he left they had no pens till the end of the season. I see Koroki being the pen taker if on the pitch. Also worth watching Xavier who was a very shrewd signing for Sapporo. He is a skillful playmaker who is also a great set piece taker.




Set Piece takers

  • Eduardo

  • Nishikawa

  • Ono

Pen Taker: Miyashiro





Its well known the financial trouble that Sagan Tosu find them in & unsurprisingly we have seen a number of players leave this winter including two of their main set piece takers in Higuchi and Sento.


However and very importantly, they were able to keep Eduardo. As well as his defensive abilities, he is a an excellent FK taker, who scored one of the goals of the season last year.


Sagan have also brought in a number of young talent on loan. Nishikawa can take CKs and FKs while I see Miyashiro on pens. With such change, its hard to know the preferred setup so I will be keep an eye out at preseason and the first few games to see who is doing what.




Set Piece takers

  • Barada

  • Okamoto

  • Takahashi


Pen Taker: Wellington/Machino



Shonan only scored 36 goals last season as they survived by the skin of the teeth. This lack of goals is illustrated by the lack of assists from set pieces. Barada is the best corner kick taker but not a guaranteed starter. Outside this, Okamoto and Takahashi offer other set pieces options.


Shonan also didnt get awarded a penalty all season. I expect Machino, Wellington or Segawa to be the taker.



Set Piece takers

  • Ogiwara

  • Matsuda


Pen Taker: Utaka




With newly promoted teams it is always hard to gauge if performances in J2 will translate the same way in the new league. With Kyoto, a player that caught my eye was Takuya Ogiwara who is on loan from Urawa. Last season he played in 40 games, taking on average 2.3 corners and also free kicks. He has explosive speed and can see him being a threat this year too,




Set Piece takers

  • Endo

  • Yamamoto


Pen Taker: Endo/Sugimoto




I am very biased with this one as Endo is a personal favourite and a cult hero to Gamba fans! Despite his age, he was able to take on average 5.5 corners per 90 and his accuracy on freekicks has not been lost.


How much he will play next season is unknown but he played a crucial role in Iwatas promotion last season, starting the majority of games too. Lukian was the main pen taker last year but he has now left so I expect Sugimoto to take this role.


Finish


This goes without saying, but this just my opinion of the situation and I have tried to keep it fair and balanced, without considering my holds. For example, I own Seko but not Wakizaka but as see Wakizaka doing the majority of set pieces next year.


Let me know I have I have missed anything or reach out if you have any questions on twitter or discord :)


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