Arsenal have announced a new line of coaches to be joining Mikel Arteta’s coaching staff for the forthcoming 2020/21 season.
Following the departure of assistant coach Freddie Ljungberg, goalkeeper coach Sal Bibbo and physiotherapist Chris Morgan have also departed, with Morgan joining Liverpool. Jordan Reece will step-up to replace Morgan.
In their place, Arteta has named Carlos Cuesta from Juventus, Miguel Molina from Atlético Madrid and Andreas Georgson from Brentford.
It had been announced towards the end of last season, that Arteta was looking to bolster the ranks behind the scenes and focus on replacing any departing coaches, though it seems as though Arteta wished to wait to see what would happen with his current coaching staff before immediately sourcing their replacements.
Cuesta worked at Atlético Madrid between 2014 and 2018, before making the move to Juventus in 2019.
Cuesta’s story is an inspirational one. He was the youngest coach at Atlético Madrid before making the switch to Italy and initially found work through Twitter and has met a number of high-profile coaches, including Pep Guardiola and even tried to join José Mourinho’s coaching staff, though he never received a response.
Another interesting part of Cuesta’s story is his relationship with Mikel Arteta. The duo have already met, with Cuesta saying: “I highlight Mikel Arteta. He will be a great coach, he was also able to verify the importance of details in elite training sessions and in-game analysis. These teams have very little time between games.”
Cuesta’s social media excursions found him working with the Atlético Madrid youth teams, usually dubbed “the children’s team”, a step prior to youth level, and generally the age that youngsters begin their affiliations with the team.
After working with Atlético for four years, Cuesta moved to Juventus and was the U17s Assistant Coach as the team went on a remarkable run of fourteen wins in their final fifteen games, the only anomaly being 2-2 draw at home to Parma.
It is likely that Cuesta’s aforementioned relationship with Mikel Arteta has likely proven fruitful in his hiring to Arsenal, but the Spaniard will want to show his work on the training field as well.
Little is known of Molina and his work so far. The Spaniard joins Mikel Arteta’s side from Atlético Madrid, where he was he held two positions, one as a general coach and the other as the High-Performance Academy Coach.
Molina’s specialisation seems to have been centred around injuries and injury-prevention, an area that Arsenal could do with a lot of support in, as Arsenal have already lost players such as Laurent Koscielny, Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding, Héctor Bellerín, Pablo Marí and Gabriel Martinelli to long-term injuries over the past two years.
Molina has also had two publications in his time as well with:
- Optimization of Individual Performance and Development of the Game Model: Analysis and Methodological Orientation — November 2016
- Methodological Analysis of the Decision-Making Process — September 2017
No doubt these presentations and his experience as the High-Performance Academy Coach will have been of interest to Arteta and Technical Director Edu, especially as Arsenal look to integrate more youngsters into the first team, and with Ljungberg’s departure, Arsenal will want to focus on improving their youngsters just as much as the senior squad.
Georgson joins Arsenal from Brentford, joining former Brentford coach Iñaki Caña Pavon, who joined up with Arteta in December.
Georgson’s main designation at Brentford was as a set-piece specialist, focusing mainly on improving Brentford’s defensive and their attacking shape in these positions.
Georgson was originally a youth coach with Swedish side Malmö FF and also had stints as the team’s Head of Youth Scouting and also managed the U17s and U21 sides, before finally working as the Assistant Manager for the senior side.
Brentford noticed that they were conceding a very high number of goals from set-piece situations and as Thomas Frank’s side pushed for promotion into the Premier League, Georgson was hired. The effects were not instantaneous, but there was an unmistakable change in shape and rigidity to Brentford’s set-piece play and Georgson’s appointment saw Brentford reduce their expected goals ratio (xG) by 0.12 in the wake of his arrival.
Though Arsenal’s set-piece record under Unai Emery was unusually impressive, given Emery’s disastrous end to his tenure, Arsenal have lacked the kind of influence that Juan Carlos Carcedo brought to the Arsenal defence since Emery has left, with Arsenal conceding over 45% of their goals from set-piece situations.
Georgson was also on the bench during Arsenal’s 1-4 win over MK Dons in pre-season.
All three of the coaches appointed by Arteta are very young, with Cuesta and Molina aged 24 and Georgson aged 35, Arteta himself is the youngest coach in the Premier League, aged only 38.
Though these coaching appointments are all wrapped up, there is still a feeling that Arsenal will complete a deal for Bruno Mazziotti, who is the current Head Physio at Paris Saint-Germain and who also worked with Edu, during his time with Corinthians.
These appointments are the latest in a backroom shake-up, with the departure of Head of Football Relations, Raül Sanllehí already confirmed to have left and the aforementioned Freddie Ljungberg.
Meanwhile, on the field, Arsenal are also hoping to wrap up deals for Gabriel Magalhães from Lille and a new deal for captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, having already confirmed a deal to sign Willian from Chelsea.