Mikel Arteta discovers Everton set-piece weakness that leads to Arsenal winner
Mikel Arteta had identified that Everton were particularly weak at defending short corners and used it to the Gunners’ advantage to beat the Toffees on Sunday 17 September.
Sean Dyche’s side were on the back foot for a majority of the game at Goodison (17 September), only having 26 per cent of possession, but until the 69th minute, they were able to stop Arteta’s side from turning their time on the ball into an all-important goal.
But a short corner routine found its way to Trossard to score his first of the season and secure the three points for the Gunners. Of Arsenal’s 11 corners, eight were played short rather than put into the area as the Spaniard attempted to get one over his old side.
Speaking in his press conference as quoted by the Daily Mirror (18 September) he said: “We work on everything, as every manager does, to expose the weakness of the opponents and to hide yours. That’s the outcome of what we tried to do. Then the results take care of themselves.
Trossard added in his Sky Sports interview: “They have a lot of tall guys and they’re good on set-pieces. We wanted to exploit them. We work hard on everything tactically.”
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Arsenal are by no means one of the Premier League’s biggest sides, with the Toffees physically matching them or bettering them in most positions as we’ve come the expect of a Dyche side, but that is only helpful if the ball is in the air often.
James Tarkowski won all three of his aerial duels, while Jarred Branthwaite only won one of his three, but no other Everton defender or midfielder competed in more than two battles in the air, meaning the Toffees’ advantage was useless in defence [Fotmob].
Going forward Dyche’s side only one a single attacking corner so had very limited opportunities to send their giants into the penalty area and defensively only three corners were ever aimed at a height that allowed the likes of Tarkowski to head away.
Now that Arteta and Troassrd have spoken so openly about the Blues’ exploitable weakness, you can guarantee every side that faces the Toffees in the coming weeks will be looking to play set pieces short to try and get one over Dyche’s team.
Whether through a change of personnel or system, the Everton boss has to find a way to stop short corners causing his side trouble, otherwise it will be another damning issue for the blue half of Merseyside to deal with.