The genius Arsenal plan no one saw at Tottenham that ruled out Micky van de Ven goal

Arsenal have been a side full of tactical nous and meticulous strategic plays. Nicolas Jover, the set piece coach, has been getting significant praise for his work in both boxes that saw Arsenal defend ten crosses and score from two corners against Tottenham in the North London Derby.

Mikel Arteta is incredibly detailed in his approach to matches and this has resulted in successive title challenges and back-to-back wins at Spurs’ new ground meaning more league wins there than their rivals have managed at the Emirates Stadium already. However, they very nearly suffered an unexpected blow when Micky van de Ven smashed in what he thought was an equaliser.

Replays however showed that the Dutchman was indeed narrowly beyond Arsenal’s last defender Gabriel Magalhaes. However, when looking closely, eagle-eyed viewers might have spotted something which against Chelsea helped Arsenal score an important second on the day.

William Saliba can be seen shoulder to shoulder with the Dutch defender, seemingly pushing him toward goal as the shot from Pedro Porro comes in. The Frenchman’s left arm is seen subtly moving into the defender which does just enough to move him into an offside position and save the Gunners from the goal.

What is so interesting about this is the aforementioned recency of a more obvious but similar play by Saliba. With Arsenal 1-0 up against Chelsea, a short corner taken from the Gunners’ right-hand side, sees the ball moved to Declan Rice on the edge of the box, like Porro, he sees his shot blocked and ricochet to a teammate, Ben White, who scores.

There was no offside in this situation however and that was thanks to William Saliba. Watching only the defender in the replays from the goal, he can be seen moving with Enzo Fernandez, who is man-marking him, toward the six-yard box and then as the Argentine tries to move away to help stop the danger Saliba simply holds him there which then keeps White onside as the ball drops to him.

Two games, two goals and in each case Arsenal have benefited from scoring one and disallowing another thanks to a cheeky tactic of moving opposition players where they want. With both happening in such quick succession and now being picked up on, the question is will sides become savvier to the cheekiness from the Gunners?

Well, Arsenal continue to thwart attempts to stop them from scoring from corners with their routine. Jover’s tactics have now seen 16 goals scored from the set pieces with little sign of that threat diminishing as the season moves toward its conclusion.

Just three games remain against Bournemouth, Manchester United and Everton. Will any of these opponents be next to suffer from Arsenal’s sneaky set-piece tactic?

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