Football News

What a difference a year (and Nicolas Jover) makes: Arsenal are the Premier League’s set-piece kingpins

By Ben Green

What a difference a year makes- Arsenal are officially the Premier League’s corner kingpins

Published: 13:52, 18 September 2022

Arsenal have moved to the top of the Premier League table after a comfortable win over Brentford on Sunday afternoon, leapfrogging champions Manchester City and arch-rivals Tottenham in the process.

The Gunners had a torrid time of things against the Bees in west London last season, falling to a 2-0 loss in 2021/22’s curtain-raiser, with Mikel Arteta’s men infamously floundering from aerial balls into the box. Christian Norgaard notably capitalised on some wayward defending to net the second with his head.

Fast forward a year and the complexion of Arsenal’s make-up has shifted quite drastically. No longer are Arteta’s men weak and frail from aerial attacks, instead their once soft underbelly has strengthened to become ironclad and unyielding, able to fend off high balls into the box, and attack them with gusto.


Paddy Power betting offer: Bet £20 and get it back as cash if your first bet loses

  1. Follow THIS LINK (or click the image below) to open a new account using promo code YSKWEX
  2. Deposit a minimum of £10 using a card.
  3. Place a Sportsbook bet on Football. For the purposes of this promotion, your first ever settled bet will be counted as the qualifying bet.
  4. Qualifying requirements must be completed within 90 days of account opening.

18+ only. New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Football market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made via Cards will be eligible for the promotion (Apple Pay excluded). T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly. For more information, visit begambleaware.org.


Incredibly, Arsenal are now the Premier League’s set-piece superiors having scored five set-piece goals this season, which is the joint-most in the Premier League alongside Liverpool and Tottenham — they’ve also conceded just the single set-piece goal so far.

It’s quite the turnaround from Arteta, who actually appointed set-piece specialist Nicolas Jover last summer, bringing the esoteric Frenchman to north London from Manchester City, having previously worked alongside him under Pep Guardiola when he was a coach at the Etihad.

His impact was immediately noticeable as the Gunners became quite the deadball doyens in the Premier League, a reputation completely at odds with the religiously-on-the-floor brand Arsene Wenger spent years cultivating in north London. But it serves well to emphasis the versatility of this new version of Arsenal under Arteta.

In fact, Arsenal ranked third in the entire Premier League in 2021/22 for set-piece goals (16), joint-fourth for direct set-piece assists (eight) and fifth for set-play expected goals (15.06). They also conceded just eight goals from set-pieces, the sixth-best record in the league.


Bet365 welcome offer: How to get up to £50 in free bets

  • Open an account (here's a link)
  • Make a qualifying deposit of between £5* and £10*
  • Claim the offer to receive five times your deposit in 'Free Bets'.
  • To release your 'Free Bets', place qualifying bets to the value of the your qualifying deposit and allow those bets to settle.
  • Your 'Free Bets' will become available shortly after your qualifying bets have settled
  • To use your 'Free Bets', select 'Use bet credits' in the bet slip.

18+ only. Please play responsibly. For more information, visit Be Gamble Aware. Time limits and Ts&Cs apply (see above and Bet365's sign-up page). Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake.


When you consider the season before (2020/21) that Arsenal had the third-worst record for goals scored from set-pieces (six), ahead of only relegated duo Sheffield United and Fulham, then you can start to see just how good they have become from deadballs. In fact, the club ranked second-last for set-play expected goals (7.08) in 2020/21 as well, and that rocketed up to the aforementioned fifth-placed ranking in 2021/22 (15.06).

This afternoon in the capital that newfound reputation was on full display as William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus got the Gunners in front with headed goals; the former netting from a corner, and the latter directing a sumptuous Granit Xhaka cross past David Raya.

Saliba’s effort also ended an incredible run from Arsenal in which they had netted 10 consecutive goals with the left foot of one of their players in the Premier League. They have also scored two headed goals in a single game for the second time since May, beating West Ham 2-1 from two aerial finishes.

Fabio Vieira put the gloss on the win with a scintillating strike to open his Arsenal account. But all the talk with be on Arsenal’s continued aerial superiority. Arteta has made his side both strong on the ball, and in the air. It’s a deadly combination, and one Arsenal fans should be very excited about.

READ MORE:

✕︎

Sign up to the Best Football Offers

A valid email is required.

Invalid e-mail.

Yes I am over 18.
Yes, I would like to receive email updates on exciting offers from squawka.com. For more info on how we and our partners process your data, see Privacy and Cookie Policies.
You need to confirm that you are over 18 and that you want to receive updates.

*By subscribing you are confirming that you are over 18 years of age.

*All emails include an unsubscribe link, where you can opt out any time. *Please see our privacy and cookies policy..

x

Newsletter error