If any Arsenal coach deserves a medal this season it must be Nicolas Jover

I consider myself quite a knowledgeable fan, but I’ll be honest: outside of the assistant manager sand Gary Lewin, I would struggle to recall many of George Graham’s or Arsene Wenger’s staff.

Yet if any non-playing member of the current Arsenal regime deserves his own article, it’s Nicolas Jover. Depending on what happens in the next month, that name might become immortalised into our history.

There are some who feel that football can be over complicated. In whatever era of the sport, free kicks and corners can decide World Cup Finals.

All the possession can be undermined by a quality delivery. Tactics immaterial if your team are not confident in the air. The best on the planet humbled by a clever routine mastered on the training ground.

The beautiful game can often be decided by the smallest of margins. A match won or lost by how much emphasis has been put on dead ball situations.

Mikel Arteta recognised that at Arsenal, data telling him that in his first full season as a manager his team only scored 6 goals from set pieces. Only two sides in the division managed fewer.

So, our boss phoned his mentor Pep Guardiola for a favour, would Man City release the man credited for the Champions registering 16 set piece goals in two seasons. Pep has always insisted he wouldn’t stand in anyone’s way if they desired to leave but it might have also been the noble thing to do?

Our boss didn’t simply headhunt Mr Jover because they were work mates in Manchester, it was Arteta who got the 42 year his job at the Etihad. The Citizens then Assistant Manager scouted individuals who could make the Champions better, so told his boss he was aware of a set piece specialist at Brentford who had contributed towards 46 set pieces goals within three seasons in the Championship. At the time Tomas Frank would describe the German born French coach’s ideas as like watching someone plan various plays in American Football.

No doubt happy to help his friend out in his rookie year, I’m sure Guardiola thought he could cope with the departure. If he knew it would help turn the Gunners into his main contenders, he might not have?

Yet it was only right that Mr Jover should work with the man he took the City job to work with in the first place.

Born in Berlin but raised in France, he moved to Canada to play amateur football, but a knee injury forced him to focus on coaching and study for Sports Degree.

It was working at Dynamic de Sherbrooke where he demonstrated attention to detail for the art form behind the scenes. In his twenties he found himself a technical director of the amateur club.

It was this reputation which got him invited to return home and make this his profession.

For 7 years at Montpellier, he would be asked to be responsible for video analysis, preparing power points on opponents which needed to point out tactical strengths and weaknesses and a plan how to target those areas. This included …. set pieces.

In what would be a theme that followed him to England, Montpellier enjoyed success with Jover part of the set up. In 2012 they lifted Ligue 1.

Dean Smith was so impressed that he wanted him to do the same with the Bees, but this time purely focus daily on set pieces only. From 2016 onwards, Nicola Jover’s job title has been set piece coach.

Overnight Gooners saw an increase in how many set piece goals they would see their team score.

In 2021-22 it was 16, 22-23 – 15 and already both of those stats have been battered by our current 22, with three fixtures still left to play.

Considering that’s 6 more than City and 7 more than Liverpool, his expertise truly could decide the title race.

It’s not just teaching technique or pointing what area to aim for. It’s not even identifying talent for the role like he did before Xmas with Declan Rice.

He’s got various routines making it impossible for the opposition to prepare for.

Sometimes he will order the keeper to be surrounded, other times players are left outside the area waiting for the second phase.

A corner might be right down a GK throat, the next time it might be taken short.

On one instance you might find a player intentionally standing offside, another time they might be blocking off an opponent.

Individuals are designated to win the flick ons, others to link arms and form a barrier. In the Derby I even saw Ben White try to distract the goalie by attempting to steal his gloves.

The standard criterion from the Premier League is to present their title winners with 40 medals. More can be requested in the unusual situation if more than 25 players have played more than the 5 games that makes you eligible.

The rest of the medals can be handed out based on the club’s discretion.

If any member of staff had earnt a title medal it would be Nicola Jover.


WHAT DO WE THINK OF TOTTENHAM! Watch the latest video from our friends at DublinArsenal

CALLING ALL ARSENAL FANS! Anyone who would like to contribute an Article or Video opinion piece on JustArsenal, please contact us through this link

Tags Nicolas Jover


  1. Yes, he’s been really good for us, and certainly knows how to celebrate when one of his set pieces works.
    The other two on the bench, Stuivenberg & Cuesta are equally valuable and Arsenal are going to be hard pressed to keep all three, with English & Dutch clubs looking to take them from us.

  2. Well, IMO I don’t agree that it should be NJover alone. Others are doing their work as much as NJover just that NJover work is visible.

    Some others do more technical work on training ground. Same as when Arteta was in MCity under PEPG.

    Only Arteta can successfully rate his coaching crew based on their work ethics.

  3. Definitely, agree with the content of the article about N Jover.
    Getting him is almost a George Graham type of move. So congrats to MA for this.

  4. NJ is an exceptional set-piece coach, no doubt; the results speak for themselves. He deserves an accolade, and rightly so.

    Dan, on another note, however, I have to sincerely admit that – and openly too – you are a very good writer and I personally admire your writing prowess. The contents, contexts, vocabs and grammatical structures of your writings are top-notch, even though I don’t agree with your line of arguments atimes on certain issues, I must say. Keep it up, anyway!

  5. A well deserved tribute from DAN FOR A SPECIALCOACH. If, I believe WHEN, we win this seasons title, it is surely a certainty that NJ should personally get a medal.

  6. A refreshing piece. Its about time men in the dugout gets the recognition they deserve. Given how good and dominant Mancity is, it’s important to pay attention to details in all the facet of the game to have chance on dethroning them. Every advantage, even a slight one is important and I am glad that MA recognized that.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors