The Hands of God

by Dexy Longshot

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Well Stoke fans seem to think so

No it’s not a rant about the vertically challenged Argie who i despise, that’s for next week, on no, we’re today discussing the merits of the Premierships newest star, The King of the Assists with the Guns of Justice, ladies and gentlefolk, I give you Rory Delap. Since the start of the season, Rory Delap has double-handedly created 7 of Stokes 13 goals much to the delight of Ricardo Fuller and Olofinjana (don’t attempt to say that after a few sherbets). If he carries on at this rate, he’ll be looking at 25+ assists this season (fantasy footy managers take note). Last week at the Britannia Stadium, Rory wasn’t the only one throwing, a few Gooner fans were throwing up and Arsene Whinger was throwing his toys out of the pram: “People who love the traditional game must be very happy”. The focally challenged frog must have missed Van Persie’s typically English round-house which left Sorensen on the deck and Robin Red Breast heading down the tunnel. Steve Bruce managed to somehow keep him at bay on Saturday but considering Wigan had the worst home record in the league and Stoke the worst away, 0-0 was always gonna be a banker.

So what is so special about Delaps throw-in that Tony Pulis has described as “Undefendable”. The biggest plus for the attacking team is the fact that a player receiving the ball cannot be offside from a throw-in, so you can pack the 6 yard line making it a nightmare for the keeper and defenders. Another plus in the Delap arrow aggro factor is its starting position of 6ft, rather than the floor. It’s trajectory has hardly any arc at all when moving from the touchline into the box and it it’s further out, it can be pretty much directed towards the goal at speed hopefully getting a deflection or two.

So how on Gods green turf do you defend against it? Here’s a fiver of options some harebrained and some not so, let us know what you think:


Plan A – The Zonal Marking Approach

You put 3 of the best heading players into a designated area in the six-yard box. When Delap chucks one his arrows into a zone, the defender marking that area ignores all the oppositions players and concentrates solely on the flight of the ball and heading the ball clear as fast and efficiently as possible. Again, it’s for the brave but half the time, if a forward tries to obstruct you, you’ll get the foul.


Plan B – The Gung Ho Keeper

With 2 players on each post & another on the line, the keeper must come for the ball to punch it out, a keeper who isn’t gonna be afraid to cop an unfortunate one. Alumnia stood rooted to his line and made no real effort to get to the incoming ball. If so many of the opposition about attacking as well, half the time, if it all ends up in a heap, the keeper will win a foul, happy days. Saying that Tim Howard came out and failed a few games back.


Plan C – The Breakaway

Another option here and not as foolhardy as it sounds. When the ball goes out of play and Rory heads towards it. Put your 4 quickest players just inside of the halfway line. Tony Pullis will have to have a good think about this, does he still crowd the box as usual or will he have to leave at least four of his players marking. Decisions decisions.


Plan D – The 50 yard rule.

Don’t give the opposition a throw in within 40, make that 50 yards of the goal. Easy-peasy!


Plan E – The Cheap Shot

A “typically English” pie & chips the night before laced with a generous helping of laxatives for Rory to demolish, it worked for the Hammers against the Totts a couple of years back, ho ho ho!


Obviously, easier said than done as many defenders have discovered. What a weapon to have in the armory though. At 32, there is every chance English born Paddy Delap (he’s Uncles from across the Irish channel or something, Cascarino told me!), might get a late call up to the Irish squad under Giovanni Trapattoni and add to his 11 caps. They have a friendly coming up against Poland next week and surely the Italian is thinking about it, yesterday, he was  overlooked but surely it’s only a matter of time. I’m not saying Delap is as good on the deck as wingers such as McGeady, Duff or Hunt but imagine if they were 1-0 down in the final world cup qualifying game and they needed just 1 point to qualify with 15 mins left. I’d bring on the most dangerous set piece-taker in the country and ensure chaos for the final quarter; the opposition would be bricking it. We have already seen of late Becks come on for the last 10 minutes basically for set pieces but he would admit that Delap bombs in the danger zone are more than a match for his corners and free-kicks, especially with the off-side rule meaning nothing. Rory could be the Emerald Isles very own Joker in the pack! Trapattoni and Liam (my Hero) Brady, I implore you, make it happen, if not now, then in time for the next round of qualifiers next spring, then I have back-up if Fab mucks up our qualifying, oh aye, my plastic paddy card can come out and I can still go to South Africa with Rory and the Green army, to be sure!



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  • Stevie

    plan F, carry some super glue, when the ball goes out for a throw squirt some super glue on the ball, that way Delap won’t have a hope in hell!

  • Jimbo

    You should play to your own strengths and not have to worry about a long throw, the minute you start to worry about that the minute negative thoughts go through the players minds. Hello Arsenal, you didn’t see Chelsea panicking.

    Speaking of Arsenal, how good were the kids last night, confession I missed it but I heard great things, mind u not one of them is over 6ft!!

  • Jackie emu juice

    I don’t get all the excitement…it’ll die out…I’m not anti it, whatever works for your team…definitely a good option to have.

    Andy Legg did it for Notts County for years and didn’t win them anything.

  • dexylongshot

    Big Jack would have loved him!

  • Dave

    This looks a whole lot like what Lee Dixon wrote on BBC’s website the day after Stoke beat Arsenal. Is Dexy really Lee in disguise?

  • dexylongshot

    Read the article, it was based on the MOTD bit i recored when they was highlighting it and talksport on my way home with Ian Wright banging on about very night and every other paper over the past two sundays. Will have a look at the dixon article, is it still up?

  • dexylongshot

    PS: Dixon would love to be me!

  • Darren

    Dexy Longshot is the new Gary Linerker, MMW!!!!

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