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Bukayo Saka speaks out on Arsenal’s secret weapon in Man City and Liverpool title race | Football | Sport

Bukayo Saka insists set-piece coach Nicolas Jover has become Arsenal’s secret weapon in the title race. Arsenal have scored more goals through set pieces, 13, than any other team in the Premier League this season – and much of that is down to Jover.

Two of their five goals on Saturday against Crystal Palace came via set pieces while goals from dead-ball situations have often got the Gunners out of trouble when they have struggled to break the deadlock in open play.

During a 2023/2024 campaign that has seen a downturn in goals from set-pieces, Arsenal have made it one of the most important parts of their game and under Jover, they work tirelessly on it in training. 

Speaking about their successes via set pieces after Arsenal’s 5-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace, Saka said: “We do a lot of work on set pieces. It’s the worst, it’s the worst!

“Nico [Jover], our set-piece coach, does a really good job though, he tries to make it fun and he’s enjoying it. What he’s doing is clearly working so we’ll have to continue doing it.”

Arteta poached Jover from Manchester City after briefly working together under Pep Guardiola. Arteta left the Citizens to get his start in management at the Emirates in December 2019 and he then persuaded Jover to jump ship to north London 18 months later.

The decision has proved to be a fruitful one for both parties. 10 of Arsenal’s 13 set-piece goals this season have come from corners where the Gunners really excel.

Arteta’s new-look starting XI includes six players that are six feet or above so it comes as no surprise that they are bundling lofted balls into the back of the net. Gabriel Magalhaes, who headed home Arsenal’s opener from a corner and forced the error from Dean Henderson for the Gunner’s second is among the best in the league when it comes to meeting the ball in the box while 5 foot 9 forward Gabriel Jesus has a knack of scoring with his head despite his smaller stature.

No matter where the ball falls there is a well-drilled Arsenal player ready to get his pate on it. 

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