Chelsea boost attack with ‘nuisance’ signing as Pochettino repeats Guardiola and Arteta trick

Jurgen Klopp (L) clashes with Bernardo Cueva (R) during Liverpool's clash with Brentford.
Bernardo Cueva has reportedly left Brentford to join Arsenal. -Credit:Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Chelsea have reportedly made another key appointment as they look to strengthen Mauricio Pochettino's backroom staff. According to journalist Fabrizio Romano, Bernado Cueva will be the new set-piece coach at Stamford Bridge.

The 36-year-old is set to become the latest backroom addition made by the Blues after they lured Dan Jewell from Brighton & Hove Albion, as well as Paul Winstanley in 2023. It was reported in March that the move for Cueva was fully supported by the Argentine.

Cueva won't need to move far. The prospective move continues his four-year stay in West London after joining Brentford in September 2020 as the tactical statistician. It has been claimed that the 36-year-old was a key part of the success at G-Tech Community Stadium under Thomas Frank.

Chelsea have been without a set-piece coach since the departure of Anthony Barry in April 2023. The Liverpudlian joined Thomas Tuchel's backroom staff at Bayern Munich following his appointment in Bavaria.

Cueva's appointment has been described as a "significant coup" following a report from The Athletic earlier this year. According to Romano, Chelsea will pay £750,000 in compensation to acquire the Mexican.

The importance of set-piece coaches is increasing in the Premier League with title challengers Arsenal and Manchester City reaping the rewards from their work on the training ground. Chelsea sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Winstanley have spearheaded the change behind the scenes as they look to modernise each department at Stamford Bridge.

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Gary Neville lauded Arsenal's set-piece guru Nicolas Jover after the Gunners' North London Derby win, saying: "They've got the first goal, Arsenal, and it has been the same Arsenal set-up all year, and it's been good all year.

"Ben White the nuisance, the five big lads at the back getting across that near-post and [Takehiro] Tomiyasu does just enough. He just blocks Hojbjerg and he can't get a full head on it.

"He just glances it and the goalkeeper, Vicario, it's past him in a flash. He's no chance. Arteta jumps up and there he is, the set-piece coach. He's a little nuisance that set-piece coach, but he's damn good."

Chelsea took advantage of Tottenham Hotspur's deadball struggles in their 2-0 win at the beginning of May and Pochettino lauded the work of their analysts. "We are in a good place, we have amazing professionals working on set pieces," said the Argentine.

“The team really showed in the way we wanted to build this way to play. If you analyse all of the teams, all the teams we concede [against] and all the teams we score against from set-pieces.

"It is about confidence and the situation that because if you like the statistics, you can see teams score a lot of goals in one season from set-pieces and the next season they didn't score and they have the same people working, the same coaching staff."