Nicolas Joffe: Arsenal’s set-piece ‘genius’ transforms Premier League title challengers’ free-kick and corner threat Football News

Set-piece coach Nicolas Joffe has helped Arsenal become the best dead-ball attacker in the Premier League this season. The Frenchman previously worked with Mikel Arteta at Manchester City. Here, we explain how this corner and free-kick specialist can give the Gunners an advantage…

Monday, April 29, 2024, 14:39, UK

Nicolas Joffe was embraced by Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta after his two corner kicks helped the Gunners secure an important win in Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, This keeps their Premier League title race on track.

“Here he goes again. The set-piece master. He’s a bit annoying, the set-piece coach, but he’s so good,” Gary Neville said on commentary as Kai Havertz headed in Arsenal from the corner Leading 3-0.

Goals from set-pieces are key to their bid for Premier League glory, and the team’s progress in this area has been massive since set-piece coach Joffe took over in 2021.

Arsenal have scored 22 goals from set pieces this season (excluding penalties). That’s the most in the league – four points more than second-best Everton and six more than title rivals Manchester City. Liverpool are seven points behind the Gunners in this aspect.

The season before Joffe arrived at the club, Arsenal had scored just six times from set pieces.

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Defensively, they have only conceded six goals from set pieces, with only Manchester City (twice) having a better record.

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In addition to Joffe’s meticulous interplay with his players and the quality passing of Arsenal’s set-piece takers, observers also noted some cunning play in Arsenal’s set-piece attack.

sky sports’ Sam Blitz highlighted in February how blocking opposition markers allows Arsenal players to find space to score.

Ron Walker joins Sam Blitz to discuss why Arsenal are so good at set-pieces Mikel Arteta’s side are so far ahead of the Premier League this season.

Ben White made headlines after the derby with Tottenham when he shamelessly tried to untie Spurs goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario’s gloves before scoring from a corner before crossing in from another bumped into him.

The Reference Watch team discussed whether Ben White was lucky enough to escape with impunity after several incidents involving Guglielmo Vicario.

But when all of those aspects come together, it’s clear that Jofer’s impact has been huge — especially on offense.

Taking all this data into account, only 11% of Arsenal’s goals came from set pieces in the season before Joffe arrived. In his first campaign, that number immediately jumped to 26% and has reached that level again this term.

sky sports’ Nick Wright takes a closer look at Jover’s career path and approach during his first season at Arsenal…

How Joffe’s work with Arteta at Manchester City convinced the Arsenal boss to bring him to north London

Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:

Joffo will be an unfamiliar name to many, but Arteta knows him, having worked under Guardiola during his first two seasons at Manchester City. He joined Arsenal in July 2021, replacing outgoing set-piece coach Andreas Georgson, who accepted a return to former club Marlborough after a season in north London. A silent invitation.

Arteta described Joffe shortly after his appointment as “whose expertise will be very useful and valuable to us”. “It’s a big part of today’s game,” he added. “It’s something you have to lead and own, and we’re in the middle of that process.”

The Arsenal boss saw first-hand how Joffe improved City’s dead-ball offense, both offensively and defensively, during his time as Guardiola’s assistant.

Arsenal’s set-piece coach Nicolas Joffe (left) celebrates with Mikel Arteta (centre) after the Gunners’ first goal in the north London derby came from a corner kick

In Hove’s first season at the Etihad Stadium, they scored more goals from set pieces than any other Premier League team and conceded the second-highest number of goals. In his second season, his numbers were equally impressive, helping the team regain the Premier League title.

Meanwhile, at Arsenal, Georgsson’s influence has been a mixed bag.

The Swede has laid a solid foundation defensively – in fact, no team in the Premier League has conceded fewer set-pieces than the Gunners in 2020/21 – but he has left considerable room for improvement in attack.

His successor brings a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience.

Arsenal set-piece coach Nicolas Joffe (right) celebrates another corner kick goal with Gunners coach Mikel Arteta

Joffe initially worked as an analyst at Montpellier, helping the French side win their first Ligue 1 title in the 2011/12 season, before moving to Croatia and Brentford as a set-piece specialist. Arrive in Montpellier.

At Brentford, he met another set-piece coach, Mads Buttgereit, who was then working for Brentford’s Danish sister club Midtjylland.

“Nicholas was a genius in the way he thought and in the way he planned,” Butgrit, who later played with the German national team, told us. sky sports.

“Sitting with him and discussing different set-pieces, you get the feeling there is a clear idea behind everything. There is nothing coincidental about any routine.

“Whenever we discuss set-pieces, it’s not that simple. We can discuss a specific corner kick routine for more than an hour and it’s not a problem. We consider every aspect carefully and then consider what the opponent will do. It’s very, very detailed. of.

“I personally know a few set-piece coaches, but in my opinion Nicolas is the best. He’s fantastic.”

Feature story by Nick Wright Originally published November 2021

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