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Finton’s Frolic: Bring back Juan Carlos, the set piece Extraordinaire

By Daniel Finton (Deputy Editor)

What up, pimps? 

Welcome one and all to the 18th edition of the Finton’s Frolic right opinion zone. Like I said in the previous instalment, there will be two of these insufferable blogs this week. If you’re here, I appreciate ya, but what on Charles Darwin’s earth is wrong with you? 

Anyways, today I will be discussing Arsenal’s set piece deficiencies that have been really prominent under Mikel Arteta. The former Manchester City number two has even gone as far as saying that he wants to bring in a set piece coach. Honestly, it’s admirable that Arteta is self-aware enough to recognise the fact that set pieces are far from his forte, but with that being said, we’re still suffering from said, admitted shortcoming of Mikel. Furthermore, we will also likely continue to do so in our final two matches of this season, against Watford and then Chelsea in the FA Cup Final.

So, the obvious candidate is Unai Emery’s right-hand-man, Juan Carlos Carcedo. I know we were all eager to see the back of Emery towards the end of his tenure, but Carlos was a mastermind when it came to set pieces on the touchline. I had no bone to pick with him and actually quite liked him, even towards the latter stages of Emery's time. Sometimes he seemed more knowledgeable than the man whom he assists. The way he angrily screeched orders from the coaches technical area scared our defenders into actually marking up properly, so bring him back immediately. He is without any shadow of a doubt the greatest defensive setter upper of all time. Who is Jose Mourinho in this game?

In case you’re sitting there reading this saying, “why the fuck would we bring him back?” please acknowledge that it’s just sarcasm and I really doubt we’d be able to rip Carlos away from his main home slice Emery even if we wanted to. And as a disclaimer, I don't.

What I’m actually getting at is the fact that we do need somebody who knows how to bark orders from the touchline when we are defending and even attacking from any given set play. The fact is, we’re shit at protecting the goal from set pieces against us and also absolutely toothless when we have them ourselves (since Emery left). Frankly, I feel more anxious for us when we have an opportunity from a set piece than I am confident for the scoring of a goal. We just do not do anything from them, ever. Having a guy like Carlos who Arteta shoves into the dotted box in said moments could really help the team in the long run. There is not much at all I miss about Emery and all that came with him, but that one is the sole thing I do kind of wish was back. Let's hope Arteta finds a Carlos of his own. 

Since Emery and Carlos Carcedo left, Arsenal have conceded 13 goals from set-pieces in all competitions. We only conceded 4 prior to the Spaniard's departure. Additionally, we've scored just 3 times from set pieces since the set-piece master left, whilst scoring 13 under his jurisdiction. Damning.

Another damning stat came out after the loss to Tottenham, that said 45.5% of set pieces in which Arsenal come up against end in the conceding of a goal. That has to change because it is horribly embarrassing. 

So. Arteta needs to find his own Carlos. The real deal is now on the sunny shores of Villareal, so we need to bring the next edition to the… GLOOMY SHORES OF ENGLAND. 

Well that’s a wrap, chief. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next week. Toodloo…!

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