It’s great timing for Arsenal to announce a new set-piece specialist – We need him

Let me stress I’m not one of those fans who take pre-season results seriously. I have seen Arsenal be poor in friendlies then start a season well.

Equally I have seen us win every friendly and then lose on the opening day.

What might be concerning though is that in our mini tour of Scotland, 3 of the 4 goals we have conceded have come from set pieces.

It coincides with the confirmation that set piece specialist Andreas Georgson has left the club after just one year.

When Mikel Arteta replaced Unai Emery, he observed the amount of goals the Gunners had been conceding by dead ball situations – the highest percentage in the division.

Our manager’s first pre-season allowed him to bring in more of his own staff. The Spaniard wanted Georgson due to the reputation he had earnt at Brentford.

The move greatly improved our record at defending corners and free kicks (if not scoring many from them).

Not including penalties, we only conceded 6 League goals from what I would call ‘dead ball situations’, one of the best in the Prem.

That’s an improvement on 13 the season before so Georgson was making a difference.

Offensively though we were only the 17th best when it came to converting the practise into goals. So there is room for improvement.

Despite Arsenal wanting the Swede to stay, a chance to return to his home country as sporting director of Malmo was too good to turn down.

He’s been replaced by Nicolas Jover who Arteta worked with at Man City.

It’s continues Arteta’s ethos of surrounding himself with those who he’s worked with at various points in his life.

Jover also worked for Brentford, and did so well he essentially created a post that never existed before at the Etihad.

Man City are similar to us in that they don’t prioritise free kicks and corners as their main source to goals.

Yet Arteta’s mentor is Pep so it’s natural they will have the same outlook towards the sport.

Jover is only just getting his feet under the table so don’t blame him for the defending at Hibernian and Rangers.

It will be interesting to look out for any changes in our set piece record this coming season…


Be kind in the comments



Tags Nicholas Jover


  1. So, it’s less than 4 weeks until PL starts and we’ve managed to sign a back up LB. ZERO sales.

    They said give Arteta a good preseason. Well, he’s been given one and we have zero first team reinforcements among the team on that preseason.

    Not looking very good..

    1. So, who’s to blame for lack of first team improvement? Arteta? Edu?the board?The owner? Why are you blaming Arteta for new arrivals or lack of?@Dajuhi

  2. Yes, set-pieces are very important. But how can we defend and score in set-pieces, if we don’t have more tall players as starters

    1. Height is one of the most crucial factors in set-piece strategy. But, without proper tactical understandings, it’ll mean nothing to have 10 tall out-field players.

      Unlike most outfield positions, height is the foremost criteria when identifying a player to develop as a goalkeeper. Based on his Euro performance alone, Yann Sommer deserves a place in our squad. But, at just 6 feet, he’ll probably be the shortest in the line-up of all Euro goalkeepers.

      Offensive set-pieces success is all about finding the right players at the best position to put the ball into the back of the net. And defensively, by taking out the opponents’s most probable threats out of the equation and let our keeper deal with the incoming ball. If we focus more on clearing the ball, there is a good probability of one or two players sneaking in between and squeeze the ball into the net or find a team-mate better positioned to score.

      All’s welcome, if they can help us improve on our last season performance.

      1. Brighton are interested in a 21 years old GK his height 6″8 and pretty good with his feet too apparently!

        1. Good with his feet???

          Maybe we can bring him as our “Plan B” in attack, if Laca/Balogun/Nketiah/Martinelli didn’t work out as our “Plan A”.

      2. Nice theory, but I didn’t notice Sommer in Euro. I just noticed that Donnarumma and Courtois showed excellent ball catching abilities, similar to Martinez

        1. Sommer is an inch and a half shorter than Xhaka. Very hard to get noticed. He’s 16th in the Swiss squad sorted on height criteria. Just 9 players below him in the list. Not anybody’s fault that they didn’t notice him in games.

    2. I don’t remember Kevin Davies or Kevin Nolan from Bolton were extraordinary tall, yet they managed to score so many goals on set piece and open play crossing
      It’s all about pinpoint crossing, fearless and courageous nature to attack the ball without thinking of head injuries…
      It’s all about how you cross the ball, and how you attack the ball
      I still remember last season when Liverpool crushed Arsenal at Emirates with their 2nd half display when TAA’s accurate cross met by Jota for 1st goal
      I don’t see Jota is as tall as Giroud, Nikola Žigić or Benteke
      It was all about Cross which was delivered by TAA
      Same goes to defend Set Piece.
      I don’t remember Thomas Vermaelen is as tall as VVD, in fact Vermaelen is just 5’11 yet he was so commanding in penalty area when we used to defend set piece…
      You need that aggression, character to hustle and tussle to win the headers..

      1. Liverpool have good headers to connect with long crosses. We could’ve done better in attacking set-pieces, but we’re still unstable in defending corner situations

        We were also like that during Wenger’s time, otherwise Wenger would’ve gotten more EPL trophies and at least one UCL trophy

  3. This appointment is positive. Hopefully Nicolas Jovel will encourage Berndt Leno to take command of his area and cut off corners in the air. In addition he tends to punch away or deflect balls which other top class keepers would catch in both hands. This often leads to shots being deflected to a second attacker following up.
    Also, major improvements to, if not total rejection of zonal marking and the adoption of man on man marking at set pieces may occur. Given the high number of goals conceded from dead ball situations, improved formations, techniques and tactics practised and then implemented in games are necessary.

    1. Less hopeful of Leno learning to get a hold of the ball. It’s his natural instinct to first clear than to hold the ball. Unlike Leno, Emi Martinez’s instinct is to catch the ball. May be a young rookie GK can be taught to change his ways. But, teaching Leno to catch the ball will result in undesirable results on the pitch. Though positioning is important for GK role, instincts and reactions are more important. If Leno can’t make up his mind on whether to catch or to clear in an instant, he can kiss his career as a GK goodbye.

  4. Arsenal have submitted a second bid of £25m+£5m for Aouar. Remains to be seen whether this will do it or not. He prefers us over Spurs as well. Remember all this info is ahead of schedule and all the other deals have happened as said.

    Arsenal are interested in Turkey’s Mert Muldur as a Bellerin replacement.

    For those who want Koopmeiners, he is on his way to Atalanta. Unless the club tries to hijack then he is gone. I am still predicting Aouar and Bissouma before the window closes.

    1. Unfortunately not Maddison..
      Is there anything on Maddison?? Or that was just a rumour…
      How much chances we are signing Aouar and Bissouma??
      It’s good to read your comments on transfer… I follow those

      1. It is not Maddison or Aouar. The club still wants to sign Maddison. Stance is the same. If they follow up their interest they will bid 60m and offer him 200k.

        1. Hello Kev, I do enjoy your transfer updates because most have been spot on. It’s good to read that Arsenal want to sign both Aouar & Maddison which is very positive.
          What’s the latest on Bissouma & Neves?

    2. It seems Liverpool are also interested in Aouar, that’s according to the Daily Express. If that’s true then why would he chose Arsenal. Of course 90% of press is pure speculation anyway. Someone in all this hype is bound to be right by the end of the window.

      1. The clubs seriously in for him are Spurs and Arsenal. Others may have an interest but it is slight if anything. Its between Arsenal and Spurs right now.

  5. Just another largely mismanaged or ignored important aspect of the game that has baffled me for more than a decade…I can only hope this move helps to change that narrative moving forward…I’ll believe when I see it though

  6. How any club could come to the conclusion that this job is worth spending money on is laughable to me anyway , this what a manager is payed to do ,for goodness sake how hard is it to set up a team to defend against our opponents set plays ,I mean how many different instructions are there.
    Corners and free kicks no matter where they are on the pitch should come down to basic instructions ,set up to push out or man mark ,let me guess they all have iPads and spend 3 hours day going over the same 2 set ups ,obviously I’m no expert and have never kicked a football but surely they could spend one hour watching an old VHS tape of our famous back four to at least see the basics and how it’s done ,not rocket science surely ,
    Maybe spend more time training the players how to bloody score would be more productive.

    1. This!

      Too many cooks, over thinking and analysing’s confusing for players and unnecessary at best.

      Football is (or should be) a simple game.

      1. Exactly dude 👍
        Arteta is trying to micro manage every detail ,which hasn’t worked ,go back to bloody basics ,even big Sam could have done a better job last season .
        Keep it simple and the rest will come .

        1. Every rookie manager dreams about being the next Bielsa or Wenger. Can’t fault them, as long as they have the results to show for.

    2. Dan kit, Arsenal could have brought back George Graham to implement his training drills, that produced the best back four in Europe (according to Graeme Souness).

  7. Georgeson was said to be a top set-piece specialist coach, but in truth I did’t exactly notice the improvement. Perhaps this guy is better.

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