How Arsenal can weaponise set pieces for the rest of the season

• Is there a new PGMOL directive regarding goalkeepers?

• Gabriel scored twice from corners in 5-0 Crystal Palace win

• Gunners also have issues defending set pieces


Following their success against Crystal Palace, set pieces can make Arsenal a side to be reckoned with.

After Gabriel Magalhaes' aerial masterclass at the weekend, Arsenal have now scored 12 goals from set pieces in the Premier League this season, the most of any team in the division.

With the team finding it tougher to score from open play this term, our ability to capitalise on set pieces has proven invaluable, as they have accounted for a staggering 30% of our entire goal tally in the league.

This is a very interesting situation for the club to be in but, after a seeming recent rule change, or relaxation, which could prove invaluable for the Gunners and allow us to truly exploit set pieces for the remainder of the season.

A new PGMOL directive?

Carlton Morris, James Trafford
Burnley FC v Luton Town - Premier League / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

There was a lot of noise on social media after Burnley vs Luton when the visitors scored a late equaliser despite Clarets goalkeeper James Trafford seemingly being fouled in the build-up.

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) opted not to intervene in the incident, which left many supporters, of all clubs, confused given the protection that has been afforded to goalkeepers throughout the season so far.

Coupled also with claims that Ben White had been impeding Dean Henderson for both of Arsenal's corner goals against Crystal Palace, many have now started to question if a new directive has been issued from the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) regarding such situations.

If this is the case, which looks like a distinct possibility, it offers Arsenal a great chance to capitalise on the new rule and use their physicality in the box to continually dominate from set pieces.

We showed an excellent ability to control the opposition's penalty area against Crystal Palace, and looked like a real threat from almost every set piece so, if this is indeed a new rule change, it could completely change how Arsenal approach games.

Arsenal's Aerial dominance


Arsenal are blessed with a plethora of talent when it comes to set pieces. Both Gabriel and William Saliba are massive aerial threats, especially the former, and the rest of the squad are exceptional at making darting runs in the box to pick up any loose balls should they fall.

The makeup of our squad means that, on paper, we should be more than capable of running rings around most of the other teams in the league, especially with Bukayo Saka's corner deliveries also improving week after week.

Something to consider defensively

While we can certainly take massive benefit from this apparent rule change, there is also a need for caution from the team when it comes to defending set pieces moving forward.

The club have already conceded more goals from set pieces (five) than our expected set piece goals against (3.11), which suggests that, defensively, set pieces are actually a weakness of ours - which is not ideal for a team looking to win silverware.

When you then also consider the apparent rule change, it does make me slightly concerned that we could see our attacking excellence from set pieces neutralised by our defensive frailties - which could seriously harm our season.

For the time being, we certainly do not need to panic, but it is something that the whole coaching team, and especially set-piece coach Nicolas Jover, need to consider and address quickly.