All records exist to be broken and unfortunately, Arsenal saw an impressive one of their own snapped during the 2-1 win over Leeds United on Sunday afternoon.
Coincidentally some of the talk heading into the game at the Emirates Stadium was about both sides’ ability to defend set-pieces. As per WhoScored, no team had conceded more goals from these particular situations this season in the Premier League than Leeds (18) after shipping two against Manchester City the week prior.
By contrast, Arsenal have been impressive when it comes to defending and attacking set-pieces all season. In fact, prior to facing Leeds, not only had they yet to concede a goal directly from a corner in the Premier League, but they had also scored 13 goals via a set-piece routine following Rob Holding and Gabriel Magahales’ headers in the 2-1 win over West Ham United.
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However, any hopes of going through the whole campaign without conceding from a corner were dashed as a well-worked routine that saw Junior Firpo flick the ball on at the near post that found Diego Llorente unmarked at the back post, and he made no mistake from close range.
With the visitors down to 10-men at this point after Luke Ayling had been sent-off, set-pieces were going to be their best way to get an unlikely point and they had a golden chance to equalise via one in injury time when Firpo once again won the first header and nodded the ball into the path of Rodrigo.
Luckily for Arsenal, the Spaniard didn’t get enough height on his effort and the ball dropped into the grateful arms of Aaron Ramsdale instead of looping over the goalkeeper and into the back of net.
Although the Gunners were let off the hook, like many supporters in the stadium and those watching from home, the moment was almost too much for set-piece coach Nicolas Jover to handle, as spotted in Arsenal’s ‘Bench Cam’ video uploaded to their official website.
At around the 7:23-minute mark, Jover can be seen standing next to Arteta on the touchline as the ball is launched into the box – interestingly he appeared to take this approach for almost every set-piece situation during the afternoon – and as the ball falls kindly for Ramsdale he turns away with his hand on his head effectively acknowledging it was a close call.
Of course, one goal conceded from a corner in the Premier League this season takes nothing away from Arsenal’s improvement in this area and much of it has been credited to Jover, who has been credited as the club’s best summer signing after joining Mikel Arteta’s backroom staff following his Manchester City departure.
And to the delight of Arsenal fans, the Frenchman will be sticking around for a little while longer with the Spaniard confirming that he will be continuing with the same coaching staff after signing a contract extension at the Emirates Stadium.
“They will continue with me, and I am extremely proud and grateful for what they are doing for the club, all the support that they give me and they are constantly challenging me and making me a better coach and a better person, so Mikel by himself, he could not do anything,” Arteta revealed. “I am more clear than water about that, that you need the best people and the best professionals around you to do what you want to achieve.”
Source by Football London