“Physical strength is very important. Figure out whether or not you have somebody behind you and get your body in the right position to hold off the defender and control the ball. The more you practise this the better you’ll get to know how to play using your body. However, your control of the ball is the most important thing. With a good touch you can slow the game down. Don’t ignore the hard work you need to do in front of goal as well. The more shots you take, the more goals you will score.”
“Winning headers is not about pushing the opponent out of the way; it’s all about getting your timing right when you jump. Before the ball comes to you, know where you are positionally, know where the defender is and most importantly know where your team-mates are, so you can divert the ball towards them. I’m a goalscorer, but I’m a creator as well, and I like that part of the game. I’m an unselfish forward. Playing this way worked well at Montpellier when I had Younes Belhanda alongside me.”
“You have to work with your wide players in training so they know what runs you’re going to make. Normally, if the crosser gets to the line he’ll send it to the front post, and if it’s a cross from deeper it goes to the back post. But if I make a run between the front post and the defender, that means he should aim for the near post. It’s important that you and your team-mates agree on the strategy in training. At Montpellier I worked on this with [wide players] Garry Bocaly and Henri Bedimo all the time.”
Strengthen your core and build the upper body strength of a Prem star, with these exercises from the Gunners’ medical team
Stand in an athletic ready position, similar to the golf stance but not as stiff. Jam one end of a barbell into the angle between wall and floor. Hold the other end with two hands so the barbell is standing at a 45-degree angle. Keep your torso still and bring the weight as far to the left as possible, maintaining your athletic ready position, then bring the barbell over to the right. This is one repetition. Go back and forth, starting slow, before speeding up.
Set a chin-up bar at hip height. Lie underneath the bar with your heels touching the floor. Grab the bar with an overhand grip a little over shoulder-width apart. Keep your body in a straight line and pull your chest up to the bar. Slowly lower yourself until your arms are straight. Repeat.
Attach TRX suspension training straps to a secure object. Grab the handles of the TRX and hang with your arms completely straight. Your hands should be positioned directly above your shoulders and your heels should be touching the floor. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Squeeze your shoulder blades as you bend your elbows and pull the handles to the sides of your chest. Pause, then lower yourself back to the starting position. Repeat.
Start in a standing position with your right arm outstretched gripping the cable. Lunge back with your right leg while pulling the cable towards your body using your back muscles. Return to the starting position. Complete one set on one side, then switch to the other.
Reps: 10 per leg
For more tips for strikers see:
Radamel Falcao: How to be a penalty-box predator
Thierry Henry: Finishing at speed
Wayne Rooney's shooting drill
Olivier Giroud: How to create and conquer
Rooney: Big match preparation
Ibrahimovic: How to play as a targetman