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Arsenal’s Unsung Hero – The Mastermind Behind More Than 30% of Arsenal’s Goals This Season

Arsenal and West Ham players compete for a corner

Arsenal have been on flying form recently, a fantastic turnaround from their struggles prior to the winter break, and a man who has played a key role is set-piece coach Nicolas Jover. He has worked his magic on the training ground, and this has translated brilliantly onto the pitch, transforming the team into set-piece monsters.

Nicolas Jover Works His Magic to Help Save Arsenal’s Season

A Winter Turnaround

Since returning from the winter training camp in Dubai in January, the Gunners have hit exhilarating form in the league. With four wins in four, Mikel Arteta’s men have amassed 16 goals in this period and conceded just two. This includes their dismantling of their title rivals, Liverpool, in a 3-1 victory.

While much of their recent success is thanks to the managers’ genius coupled with the brilliance of individuals in the team, the Arsenal set-piece coach, Jover, deserves his flowers too. His work on the training ground has worked wonders. In fact, 16 of 53 goals have come from set-pieces (excluding penalties); that’s the most of any team in the Premier League and three more than the next best team. Additionally, four of those 16 set-piece goals have come in the last four outings. It’s evident that their dominance on set-pieces has been a key factor in their turnaround this season.

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Each corner routine seems thoroughly practiced, and the squad seems to have an idea for every free kick position in the final third. Every move almost always plays out effortlessly; it just looks like a stroke of genius from the Jover, coupled with hours of commitment into set-pieces on the training ground.

Arteta recruited Jover in July 2021; both coaches worked alongside each other for Manchester City prior, and Arsenal are lucky to now have both for themselves.

Can Arsenal Continue Their Set-Piece Dominance?

Arsenal’s recent hot form follows a struggling period in which the North London club managed just one win in seven games (in all competitions). Fans will undoubtedly be pleased to see their team perform so well against even the toughest opposition in the league. However, with more than 30% of their goals in the Premier League this term coming from set-pieces, it raises the question: can they continue their set-piece dominance?

In the league, set-pieces come in abundance. Highly technical players like Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, and Gabriel Jesus earn free-kick opportunities in dangerous areas through drawing fouls. Similarly, Arsenal’s fast-moving attacks in and around the box ultimately win more corners for the team. In fact, no other team has won more corners than them this season (182).

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With so many set-piece opportunities coming their way, it only makes sense for the Gunners to continue working hard at perfecting each move. The likes of Saka and now Declan Rice, combined with the towering threats of Gabriel, William Saliba, Kai Havertz, and Jover as the mastermind behind it all, ultimately create the perfect mix to profit from set-pieces.

With that in mind, Arsenal should continue their work on perfecting set-pieces. These kinds of goals are the perfect way to break the deadlock against teams that are otherwise stubborn with their low-block defending. The Gunners may incur some issues when coming against teams equally well-versed in the set-piece department. However, this should not be a problem as long as Arsenal are not too reliant on set-pieces, which they’ve shown recently with plenty of well-worked, open-play sequences.


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