Let me stress that I am not one of those fans who take pre-season results seriously. I saw Arsenal be poor in friendlies and then start a season well.
Likewise, I saw us win every friendly and then lose on the first day.
What can be worrying is that on our mini tour of Scotland, 3 of the 4 goals we conceded came from set pieces.
This coincides with the confirmation that the stopped parts specialist Andreas Georgson has left the club after just one year.
When Mikel Arteta replaced Unai Emery, he observed the number of goals the Gunners had conceded in deadball situations – the highest percentage in the division.
Our manager’s first preseason allowed him to recruit more of his own staff. The Spaniard wanted Georgson because of the reputation he had earned at Brentford.
This decision has significantly improved our record on defensive corners and free kicks (if not scoring a lot).
Not counting the shots on goal, we only conceded 6 league goals in what I would call “dead ball situations”, one of the best in Prem.
It’s an improvement from 13 the previous season, so Georgson was making a difference.
Offensively, we were only the 17th best when it came to converting training into goals. There is therefore room for improvement.
Although Arsenal wanted the Swede to stay, a chance to return to his home country as Malmö’s sporting director was too good to be denied.
He was replaced by Nicolas Jover with whom Arteta worked at Man City.
It continues Arteta’s philosophy of surrounding himself with those he has worked with at various points in his life.
Jover also worked for Brentford and was so successful that he essentially created a position that had never existed before at the Etihad.
Man City are similar to us in that they don’t prioritize free kicks and corners as the main source of goals.
Still, Arteta’s mentor is Pep, so it’s only natural that they have the same outlook on the sport.
Jover is just getting his feet under the table, so don’t blame him for defending against Hibernian and Rangers.
It will be interesting to watch for any changes in our set piece record this coming season…
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