Talking Tactics

Why Arsenal are a goalkeeper's nightmare at corners

By Adrian Clarke 11 Dec 2022
ARSLIV Alisson grabs the ball

Adrian Clarke explains how the Gunners are one of this season's biggest set-piece threats

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Arsenal have scored five goals from corners and boast the second-highest Expected Goals total, only trailing north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur by 5.4 to 5.0.

Led by set-piece coach Nicolas Jover, the Gunners focus on packing the six-yard box at the near post.

They have used this set-up for all five of their goals from these situations.

Arsenal deliver whipped inswinging corners into this area, putting pressure on the goalkeeper in a cluttered six-yard box.

Gabriel's winning goal at Chelsea epitomised this ploy, and so did the Brazilian's other league goal this season, at home to Fulham.

Facing a mainly zonal set-up against Fulham, Arsenal filled the six-yard box with four or five players, while Gabriel (circled yellow) started his run from the penalty spot.

Arsenal ARSFUL 1

When Gabriel Martinelli fizzed the ball into the near post at pace, Gabriel arrived late to compete with Bernd Leno. When the Fulham 'keeper spilled the ball, Gabriel pounced to score.

Arsenal ARSFUL 2

Arsenal have also had some joy with the tactic of scoring directly from a near-post flicked header.

The key ingredient is to recognise where the gap lies before making a late move to catch zonal near-post defenders off guard.

Here, William Saliba (circled yellow) arcs a surprise last-second run to sneak into a hole between two Brentford defenders to head home the opener in a 3-0 win.

Saliba BREARS 1

Knowing where the space was and timing the run to fill the hole at the right moment, both Saliba and the corner-taker Bukayo Saka deserve tremendous credit.

Goalkeepers and defenders know by now that Arsenal are a big threat from corners, but stopping them is another matter.

Also in this series

Part 1: Why goals from corners are heading for a record high
Part 2: How Spurs free Kane to score from corners
Part 3: How Fulham use blockers to capitalise from corners
Part 4: How Man City use short corners to feed Haaland
Part 5: Why Liverpool are the kings of the outswinging corner
Part 7: Which clubs are best at defending corners and why

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