Andreas Georgeson has recently completed a move to North London, and in my estimation, he is Arsenal’s best summer signing yet.
Never heard of Andreas Georgeson? There’s probably a reason for that: he’s not actually a football player.
Until recently, the Swede was plying his trade in the Brentford backroom staff as a set-piece specialist. Now, he’s Arsenal’s most recent acquisition, hired shortly after the departure of our beloved Freddie Ljungberg.
Arsenal conceded one third of their goals from set-pieces last season, a truly abysmal record. As a team, they’re weak in the air, disorganized in their marking, and very slow to react to loose balls in the box. It’s a long-standing issue, and one we’ve never really fixed.
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The Gunners were also exceedingly poor going forwards on set-pieces. They have a number of good direct free kick takers, but score very rarely from indirect opportunities and corner kicks.
Especially in the Premier League, where the ability to convert set-pieces can often be the margin between victory and defeat, we must improve in that category.
Georgeson’s hiring goes a long way towards fixing those issues. Although he only joined Brentford this past January, he was immediately hailed as a meteoric success. Unlike Arsenal, Brentford run on an analytics-based system, and their numbers were off the charts.
His primary area of expertise is in set-pieces, from a defending and an attacking standpoint, but he’s also an expert when it comes to defending balls into the box from wide positions in open play, and converting chances from crosses. This Arsenal team already has many of the tools necessary to succeed in those areas, but in the past those tools have often been wasted. No longer, though.
The 34-year old follows goalkeeping coach Ińaka Cańa from Brentford to Arsenal, and is the most prominent figure of a number of backroom shifts enacted by Mikel Arteta an co. to attempt to address Arsenal’s on-field deficiencies without having to dip further into the already stretched transfer budget.
Georgeson will also likely mesh well with new signing Willian, who is a dead-ball expert, and will also be able to help players like Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney, and Hector Bellerin in honing their craft, as well as developing their skills in set-piece situations.
Above all, the signing of Andreas Georgeson addresses more than just a hole on the field. It’s a direct fix for Arsenal’s biggest Achilles heel, both historically and in recent months, and I believe he’s our best signing of the summer.