The set piece goal is to soccer what homeruns are to baseball, slam dunks to basketball and break away goals to hockey; singular moments in which matches are won and men become monuments. While David Beckham was a hell of a player and inspired millions of kids worldwide, would he have achieved the same level of international acclaim were it not for his free kicks? They didn't make a horrible movie based off his through balls, after all. Free kicks puts asses in the seats and, like it or not, there haven't been many men in the history of the game who could, in fact, bend it like Beckham.
But don't look now, Becks, you may soon have some company. With three of his four goals this season coming from the spot, Pjanic is fast becoming part of an exclusive club; a place where only the most skilled set piece sorcerers are welcomed. Mira isn't automatic from the spot, but he's damn close.
It's pretty rare to see such an inordinate amount of one player's goals coming from dead ball situations, and while I sincerely doubt 75% of his final goal haul will have come from free kicks, given Roma's struggles scoring goals in the run of play, Pjanic's poise in these situations has effectively already earned Roma six points, as his strikes against Juventus and Empoli were essentially match winners, in so far as they were the first goal in multi-goal victories.
While you never want to rely on set pieces for victories, having someone as skilled and as assured as Pjanic peering over the ball gives Roma an instant advantage.
So here they are, three beautifully bent balls from the Bosnian.
Juventus: August 30th
Carpi: September 16th
Empoli: October 17th
Do the math there and you'll see that Pjanic is good for a free kick goal about once a month! All kidding aside, at 25-years-old, Pjanic is just entering his prime as a player and with four goals and four assists through eight league matches, we have every reason to expect a gigantic season from Mira. Ten goals and ten assists may just be the baseline.
With a congested schedule and tighter than tight races domestically and abroad, Roma will need any and all miracles Miralem can muster.