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The Long Throw (or from here to eternity..)


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by Drew's Militia ...

Following on from the devestation caused to our defence at Stoke and the subsequent problems Everton encountered Drew'sMilitia takes a look at the issue of the long throw in the modern game.

The disappointment of seeing us concede in the dying moments of the Stoke game at the Britannia Stadium, with a long-range missile-like throw from Rory Delap, plus me chuckling at Adrian Chiles’ comments on MOTD2 about Stoke’s prolific thrower, made me think long-and-hard (no pun intended) about the whole long-throw thing.

I may be naïve or simplistic or even both, but I would love to see this particular ‘string’ added to our bow. I don’t mean buy mid-fielder Rory Delap (32), who incidentally was born in Sutton Coldfield, although I have kept an eye on him since his time at Southampton and Sunderland. It’s more a case of focusing on the players we have in our excellent squad, to see who could potentially develop the technique to ‘Throw it like Rory’ – admittedly not quite as alliterative as ‘Bend it like Beckham”.

I know people will say we were just unlucky meeting Stoke on their first home match and now that clubs know about the long throw threat, they’ll be able to defend against them, but long throws are incredibly difficult to defend against when there is no off-side from a throw-in. To quote the rulebook, " A player is not committing an offside offence if the player receives the ball directly from a throw-in, goal kick or corner kick.”

The fact remains that the ability to deliver 35-40 metre throws, accurately into the box, converts all throw-ins in the opposition’s third of the pitch into pseudo-corner/set pieces which are valuable goal-scoring opportunities.

I spotted a couple of long attempts by us at the Villa v Spuds Reserves game as well as the recent Liverpool game but most attempts were too looping and didn’t have the power to place them right in the opposition’s box.

So, as we have coaches for most things these days, I wonder if anyone at the club is actively looking at exploiting this (admittedly not new) phenomenon?

With our crop of six-footers crowding the box and jostling for position, I’m sure we would add a fair few goals to the tally and maybe we could even steal a few games in the dying moments of time added on… Now there’s a thought!

So who do we see as having the muscle and technique to do the necessary or is it just a passing phase which teams will somehow learn to defend against? Is Mr Delap a unique and exceptional athlete with the skill and technique to deliver the goods consistently on-target when required or could our fine band of players develop a core of long-throwers? NRC springs to mind as a possible contender and maybe Stan Petrov. Thoughts anyone?

Ian D – UTV

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Very interesting article.

So who do we see as having the muscle and technique to do the necessary or is it just a passing phase which teams will somehow learn to defend against?
I think you've probably answered that yourself when you say
The fact remains that the ability to deliver 35-40 metre throws, accurately into the box, converts all throw-ins in the opposition’s third of the pitch into pseudo-corner/set pieces which are valuable goal-scoring opportunities.
I would imagine that in this day and age most Premier managers and coaches were aware of the fact Stoke had a long-throw expert and I suppose a bit of extra attention can be given in training to defending against long throws. But even if a long throw can simply be a bit like a corner, when a team has someone like Delap they are potentially getting at least twice as many pseudo-corners into the box as a team who doesn't have one and surely that means a lot more pressure on the opposition. Some may think that teams put far too many high balls into the box already but when you have someone like Ian Hutchinson who played for Chelsea in the early 70s and was perfectly capable of throwing a ball to the far side of the penalty box, then there is always the chance that a player coming in from the opposite wing might score or at least cause problems.
Is Mr Delap a unique and exceptional athlete with the skill and technique to deliver the goods consistently on-target when required or could our fine band of players develop a core of long-throwers? NRC springs to mind as a possible contender and maybe Stan Petrov. Thoughts anyone?
Good question. I'm no coach but I don't imagine you have to be a freak of nature in order to develop a long throw. NRC springs to my mind as well and is already taking some fairly long throws but down the line rather than into the middle.

I think a player who can turn himself into a long-throw merchant is a player with an extra tool in his locker (calm down missus), as is a team who can find and develop a player with this special ability.

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