Saturday, October 1, 2022

Arsenal confirm plot to repeat Manchester City transfer trick to exploit opposition weakness

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Arsenal confirm plot to repeat Manchester City transfer trick to exploit opposition weakness

Arsenal added six first-team players to the squad last summer, but it was the seventh non-playing acquisition who had the most impact on the campaign.

Mikel Arteta went after set-piece coach Nicolas Jover at his former club Manchester City.

When the Frenchman joined Arsenal, their ability to attack and defend set pieces improved dramatically. 

Gabriel Magalhaes, in particular, benefited from scoring five goals last season, more than any other defender in the league.

Aaron Ramsdale discussed the impact of Jover on the Peter Crouch Podcast, describing how demanding the Frenchman is and the expectations he sets.

“We’re very into defending corners, attacking corners and set-pieces,” he said. “That’s expected goals for and against from set-pieces and we have a set-piece coach who is hard on us and sets targets.”

The Gunners now want to repeat the feat, but Mikel Arteta wants to take his set-piece specialism to the next level.

While Jover has focused on improving the team’s set-piece attacking and defending, there is one missing piece of the set-piece puzzle that the Gunners want to fill.

Arsenal are advertising for a Football Analyst focusing on Set Piece/Training. In the job responsibilities it includes: “Lead in the profiling of all opposition teams from set pieces through the application of video and analytics” and “support in the preparation of all pre-match opposition analysis content and any goalkeeper coach requests.”

A clear indication that Arteta wants Jover and his team to have more information tailored to their opponents. 

While the Gunners’ overall attack and defence of set pieces has improved, gaining insight into future opponents can boost their strength even further.

After establishing a variety of strong corner and free-kick techniques, these can be tweaked to exploit the weaknesses of their next opponent. Gabriel, for example, could stand in a different zone to capitalise on an area where the most goals were conceded from set pieces.

Gabriel Jesus has already scored goals at the back post in his short time with the club. His pre-season goal against Everton was nearly identical to the goal he scored against Leicester City in the Gunners’ 4-2 win.

Arsenal needs more goals this season than they did last if they are to climb the table and qualify for the Champions League. 

While more of these must come from open play, continuing to improve on what the team is already doing well is a sign of a top team looking for any incremental pushes of the needle they can find.

Arsenal confirm plot to repeat Manchester City transfer trick to exploit opposition weakness

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