Set-piece issues : Why Arsenal hired Andreas Georgson

The transfer window is open, which means rumours keep floating around regarding incomings and outgoings of personnel. Amidst all of this, Arsenal have made a backroom appointment, with the hire of set piece specialist Andreas Georgson from Brentford.

This is our second coaching hire from Brentford following that of highly regarded goalkeeping coach Iñaki Caña who has helped elevate our goalkeeping landscape to another level. And hopefully Andreas can follow suit.

But first let’s understand why Arsenal have made this appointment for which we need to have a detailed look at our set piece issues last season. Arsenal have had huge problems throughout the season from set piece situations. Every team does concede from set pieces, but when you have a closer look at the numbers, Arsenal’s set piece issues suggest that something is not quite right with the way we’re set-up.

Courtesy of understat, these are the goals Arsenal have conceded from corners and free kicks (excluding direct free kicks) over the past few seasons in the LEAGUE ALONE:

2016/17: 6

2017/18: 7

2018/19: 8

2019/20: 14

This huge increase is hard to explain, it goes beyond just merely the height of our squad. Its not like our defenders constantly get out jumped in the air either. We have scored 10 goals ourselves from corners and free kicks (excluding direct free kicks again) this season and this number is usually around what we have when you look at the past seasons. From an attacking standpoint, we really don’t have much of an issue.

It is mostly to do with the organisation and alertness for me. Let’s have a little look at the set piece goals we’ve conceded in the Premier league UNDER ARTETA ALONE:

Chelsea (H) – Jorginho – Torreira trips and loses Jorginho. Conceding a non- penalty goal to Jorginho is a crime…

Palace (A) – Jordan Ayew goal, Arsenal not set up quickly enough, Palace take a short free kick and there’s no structure whatsoever, leading to chaos. When there’s chaos in the box, expect ricochets that can go anywhere…..

Chelsea (A) – Short corner and Chelsea’s shortest player Azpilicueta gets in on the act.

Everton (H) – Calvert Lewin at the start of the game after no one covered for Luiz’ poor clearance. Richarlison also scored this game from a corner kick AFTER we cleared the ball away.

Brighton (A) – Lewis Dunk scored after a corner was worked short – Solly March gets away from Ceballos too easily and Dunk attacks the ball to equalize.

Spurs (A) – Toby Alderweireld winner. Direct header from a corner.

Villa (A) – Trezeguet winner. Arsenal go to sleep from the corner and Trezeguet finds himself unmarked and has a free swing of his right foot.

As a result, Arsenal have conceded eight goals from set plays under Mikel Arteta in his 20 games, occurring on 7 separate matches. Out of the 8, only one has been from a header which is pretty baffling. Football is a game of fine margins. Imagine for a second, we dealt better with those situations and did not concede against Brighton, Villa and Chelsea and Palace – all 4 avoidable in my opinion.

We get those points and we’re in Champions league. Now I know you can always nit-pick little moments and in football you can construe virtually every goal conceded as a mistake. Whilst every goal is avoidable in one form or other, some are more avoidable than others. And there’s definitely room for improvement in the way we deal with set plays.

Arsenal have had a lot of issues to contend with and Arteta has had his hands on other important pies too, so I’m not blaming Mikel here. On certain occasions, I do believe the lapses in concentration are unacceptable from the players as well – these issues were present in the current season under Unai Emery as well.

The way football is going, there are specialized roles for virtually every aspect of the game and bringing in someone for helping us get organized in set-pieces is a step in the right direction. Taken Via the amazing StatsBomb:

“Brentford ‘chopped 0.12 expected goals per game off their set-piece xG conceded, which works out to 5–6 goals a season. This could well be a tick for Pontus given his aerial prowess but the summer appointment of Head of Set Pieces Andreas Georgson probably has more to do with it.”

Andreas Georgson, who hails from Sweden has had coaching experience right from the time he was just 21 years of age. Starting his career with Malmo as a youth coach, he went on to become their head of youth scouting and manager for the U-17’s and U-21’s side, whilst also being an assistant manager for the main team for a couple of years. Georgson is just 34 years of age and it adds even more young blood and modern ways of thinking to what already is an exciting set-up at Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta did hint at new additions to his coaching staff at the end of last season and it will be intriguing to see who we bring in and more importantly, for which role? To get top 4 next season, every action and duel would be of utmost importance. If we’re to concede, it cannot be because of an individual mistake or bad organisation. It must only be because the opposition player showed brilliance. We need to make teams work extremely hard to make openings and chances.

Of course, it is all a process, but the appointment of Andreas Georgson is a step in the right direction. We have identified a problem area and taken measures to address it. Exciting times ahead. COYG!

Arsenal FC is Life.