Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Arteta Jover the moon with Arsenal’s set plays

Mikel Arteta has praised the “strong impact” made by assistant coach Nicolas Jover whose intricate set-piece routines have helped Arsenal become the Premier League’s most deadly side from dead-ball situations.

The Frenchman arrived from Manchester City as a replacement for Andreas Georgeson in the summer of 2021 and the Gunners have since scored more goals (44) from set-piece routines than any other Premier League team.

This season alone, the tally stands at 13 – a record across Europe’s top five leagues (via WhosScored)- after centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes demonstrated his aerial prowess against Crystal Palace to notch a brace.

While at times it’s felt like the Gunners have overly relied on set pieces to dig them out of holes, Arteta believes that there’s an overlap in how tactics can be applied to open play.

In an interview with TNT Sports ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League clash with Nottingham Forest, Arteta reflected on when he came to realise the importance of set plays and why he snapped up Jover, with whom there was a short overlap at the Etihad.

He said: “Many years ago. Especially when I was at City, and I believed that we needed somebody who specialised in that.

“And I gave my advice to go and recruit Nico. I met him, we started to discuss how we could apply set pieces to the open play, which is also connected, they’re not two separate things, it’s all connected in the game, and how we could maximize that.””

“I knew Nico from before, and I asked him to come and join our project, he did, and he’s having a really strong impact on the team.”

Arsenal’s ingenuity at set plays has been put under the microscope in recent weeks with supporters and analysts in the media picking up trends in their play.

BBC Match of the Day ran a segment on how captain Martin Odegaard communicated which type of corner to take just by pulling on his socks while the Premier League cast an eye over the Gunners use of blockers.

On the surface, the extra scrutiny doesn’t seem to help Arteta’s cause but he’s relaxed enough, suggesting rivals have long been amending their tactics after keeping tabs on his.

“Everything evolves, everything adapts,” said Arteta.

“Opponents are intelligent. They look at everything. One day, they defend that way and next day, they adapt, so you have to be able to adapt.

“It’s nothing different to anything that we’re doing in open play, it’s a final set action when you’re attacking, and it’s a way of defending deep when you have to defend an action very close to your box, so that’s crucial.”

He added: “Like any sport, it is about tricking the opponent and being consistent and believing in what you do.

“In the end, it works because players believe in what we do, and when that happens then you have a bigger chance to do it.”

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Philip Visser

How many goals have we conceded compared to other EPL teams? A balanced perspective and article would report both sides of the coin. Subjectively it seems to me we concede too many, too easily. A statistic on this would be helpful as the set piece coach certainly is responsible for both scoring and defending set pieces

Tankard Gooner

Really? I could be wrong, but don’t remember us being very vulnerable on set pieces in the last couple of seasons. You have to keep in mind that we’ve got a new GK this season and it takes some time to build up that communication, a very crucial part of defending set pieces.


How many are we giving up from breaks against our own corners? That was certainly a theme at one point – would be interesting to tally overall outcomes like retaining the ball in the attacking third vs. conceding possession / chances or big chances. Seems like part of the whole theme of control – big bonus that we get more goals than everyone else in spite of that.


Not assigning homework or anything like that @AAllensport … It is interesting to me that we don’t give up breaks from our own corners as we used to do too often. Would be interesting to know overall outcomes from set plays more broadly – maintain possession in attack / conceded big chances sort of things – just as a marker for how the coaching of set plays may contribute to our overall theme of “control”. Score more than you concede is a good thing regardless.


None needed – had thought the first comment just hadn’t posted.

It Is What It Is

Very indulging. And enjoyable. Too kind. Thank you.

I’m sure (50:50) we had the best defensive record from set prices in Leno’s last year, or Rammers’ first.

A 25 league-goal striker is all that’s left. We really have to be going for the top five strikers in the world…..If only Kylian was ambitious, or fancied a challenge, or wanted to be better. Eeeeejit.


Looking forward to Martin adjusting his socks and it having a different meaning to last time.

Mayor McCheese

Maybe he just likes adjusting socks.


Portable napkins for men.


The defenders carefully watch Ode playing with his socks while big Gabby lumps it in from 2 yards. Genius!

Naked Cygan

Apart from the Palace game, does anyone know the last time we had such a long winter break? Going into the 2nd half of the season we should have zero excuses for fatigue. Player our best players every game.

Naked Cygan

Picking his nose and scratching his butt are also part of the set plays.

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