Date: 9th March 2010 at 10:30am
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Rory Delap and his infamous long throw-ins are the bane of most clubs in the Premier League and nobody really has an answer to it.

Just ask Arsenal!

Arsenal have fallen foul of Delap’s throw-ins on their last two visits to the Britannia Stadium.

Arsene Wenger had this to say recently about Delap:

‘You can try [to practice defending them] but it`s difficult because the ball is so flat,’ said the Arsenal gaffer

‘As well, there are so many people in the box that sometimes for the keeper it`s difficult.

‘You see Shay Given on Wednesday night [when Stoke beat Man City] his own defenders became a problem for him, because when the strikers pushed the defenders a little bit back, he doesn`t come out.

‘He doesn`t reach the ball because of his own defenders in his way. You get your hand out and he didn`t get to the ball.’

Laws talked to Wenger after the Arsenal game and mentioned Stoke were up next. He apparantly just shrugged his shoulders!

The Clarets also know to their cost this season the damage one of Delap’s throw-ins can cause. In our opening game of the season against Stoke at the Britannia with Stoke already 1-0 up, a Delap throw-in from the left confused Stephen Jordan so much he hit the ball into his own net!

Burnley will have a chance to see if they can snuff out the threat posed by Delap again when they face Stoke City at Turf Moor on Wednesday night.

We all know this is a crucial game and one we must win if we are to stand any realistic chance of avoiding relegation.

Other than not giving away throw-ins or trying to get away with ball tampering using a dollop of KY Jelly, what can you do?

Brian Laws thinks he knows the answer and has the ultimate secret weapon. A former Stoke City player who now plays for the Clarets and can spill the beans. Step forward Leon Cort!

The 30 year old centre-back spent three seasons at the Britannia before signing for the Clarets in January this year for £1.5 million. He will be well acquainted with Delap and the tactics surrounding his long throw in.

Speaking about Delap,Laws said:

“Most sides have struggled to deal with it this season and it`s caused them real problems.

“But we have Leon Cort to call on. He used to play with Rory Delap at Stoke, so he knows all about him.

“I would be stupid not to take advantage of this, so I`ll be picking his brains.”

Obviously there is not much you can do in terms of stopping the long throw-in itself but Cort’s advice on the tactics used by Stoke to turn this into a goal scoring opportunity could be vital in terms of knowing which players to mark and what to look out for.

Stoke are renown for scoring from set-pieces so this is something we will have to concentrate on in addition to trying to defend against Delap’s throw-ins.


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