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09th Apr 2016

Former Arsenal goalkeeper’s advice to stop Dimitri Payet scoring free-kicks is blindingly obvious

Michael Owen, is that you?

Robert Redmond

Dimitri Payet is excellent at free-kicks.

The West Ham United playmaker has scored a series of stunning free-kicks this season, five in 2016 alone, and claimed earlier this week that he’s now so good at them, he doesn’t even bother practising anymore.

Ahead of the Hammers hosting Arsenal on Saturday afternoon, former Gunners goalkeeper Bob Wilson has offered a four-point plan on how to stop Payet scoring a free-kick.

However, some of the tips border on being blindingly obvious.

Rule number one: Don’t foul in the wrong area.

‘The placement of the free-kick makes a huge difference even to a specialist like Dimitri Payet,’ Wilson writes in the Daily Telegraph. The Arsenal legend claims Payet would be less likely to score from 19 yards, because his free-kicks ‘usually need at least 20 yards to the point they are hoping to hit’.

Rule number two: Organise your wall correctly.

Michael Owen reminded us earlier this week of the importance of a wall in football, and it appears his ground breaking views have already begun to permeate throughout football.

Owen would undoubtedly echo Wilson’s sentiments on organising a wall.

‘The wall is usually made up of four, five or six players. You try to get height in the wall. If you have a small team you are in trouble and, if he knows you are a team that jumps in the wall, he could go on the ground.’


Rule number three: Don’t attempt to catch it

In fairness to Wilson, this is actually sound advice. A goalkeeper could look foolish if he attempted to catch a Payet shot, particularly with the propensity of modern footballs to swerve and change flight.

‘Goalkeepers in my era prided ourselves on catching it. You dare not do that now. The modern goalkeeper has to play safe if it is hit with any pace. Knock it for a corner, knock it out for a throw-in, knock it anywhere to the side.’

The only problem might be that it’s pretty difficult to catch a Payet free-kick as the Frenchman tends to find the top corner of the net.

Rule number four: Hold your nerve…and hope

Payet’s free-kicks are out of the ordinary. If he gets it right, you are on a wing and a prayer.

Cheers Bob, we’ll just forget that earlier advice then.