Granit Xhaka has revealed the secret behind Arsenal’s impressive record at set pieces this season.
The Gunners were sent well on their way to a crucial victory over Leicester at the Emirates on Sunday as Thomas Partey nodded them in front from a corner taken by Gabriel Martinelli.
At the other end of the pitch Aaron Ramsdale’s commanding presence has meant that Mikel Arteta’s men are yet to concede a goal from a corner this season, despite having faced more than 120 of them.
It’s an impressive record that has played a key part in sending Arsenal on their way to a push to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in half a decade, and now Xhaka has opened up on their success at dead ball situations this year.
“If I am honest we are training set-pieces maybe every day,” the Swiss international revealed.
Summer acquisition Nicolas Jover has played a key role in bringing about this change, and can be seen on the touchline in each game yelling instructions to the Gunners players.
Xhaka believes this played a key role in Arsenal’s victory on Sunday which was their fifth in a row in the Premier League.
“We are so strong at the moment in both sides – [set-pieces] against and for us,” the 28-year-old said. “It’s always good if you start with a set-piece goal. The game was open after. We knew what quality Leicester has, but in the end I think we deserved the three points.”
Arsenal’s second goal on the day was scored by Alexandre Lacazette netted for the first time in 2022 after VAR intervened to award a penalty for a handball on the goalline by Caglar Soyuncu.
The Frenchman has come under plenty of scrutiny for his poor scoring record this season but Xhaka was keen to state that his importance to the Gunners side is not undervalued by any of the players.
“In the end, people want him to score,” he said of Lacazette. “People only see if players score. But people sometimes don’t see how important he is for us, not only on the pitch but as well off the pitch.
“On the pitch, he is an amazing player and he understands the game so good with the quality he has. I hope now after this three, four, five, six weeks they (people) understand how important he is for us.”