Despite being relatively strong in defending set pieces during Emery’s first season, Arsenal were awful in that department last season, under all three head coaches, with over 40% of their goals conceded via set pieces.
The Gunners have looked a lot more composed and structured under Arteta but there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to set pieces. Arteta has shown a willingness to address that by bringing in Brentford’s Andreas Georgeson, a coach who specialises in set pieces.
On set pieces, Arteta shared that “it’s a key percentage of goals scored and conceded that has a great impact on results and points at the end of the season. So it’s another aspect of the game that you have to dominate.”
Undoubtedly, incremental margins from improving set pieces can result in a big swing of points and position in the league table. Liverpool, another team who have attempted to achieve marginal gains from set pieces, have even hired a throw-in coach. For now though, Arteta is content with what he has but is open to new ideas to improve the team’s performance.
“I always have to try to assess what we have in the club, what is in our coaching and staff, and review our performance and the relationship between what we’ve done on the pitch and where we can improve,” he said.
“I try to win those margins. I’m really happy with where we are at the moment with my coaching staff. How this game is going to evolve in the future is changing and every year is changing and demands are higher and you have to be more specific.
Arsenal have had a positive start to the season so far and hopefully, improvements in set pieces form one of the cornerstones of a good campaign ahead.