Will late arrivals shake up English Premier League dead ball routines?
With the transfer window now closed we thought we would take the opportunity to gauge how the latest wheeling and dealing might impact on the three part Set Piece Report series we presented earlier which highlighted the preferred dead ball specialists for each Premier League club.
Let’s start with the Big 6 and there was nothing to report at Arsenal. It’s hard to say whether there is any truth in the rumours suggesting that Arsene Wenger had been caught out by the transfer window closing a few hours earlier than normal but the Frenchman kept his chequebook firmly shut nevertheless! We’re not expecting any significant changes at Chelsea either where centre-backs were very much on the menu. Louis van Gaal had a mass clear-out at Manchester United and his only new recruit Anthony Martial would appear not to have any dead ball prowess as of yet. Kevin de Bruyne made the switch to Manchester City as expected and is likely to feature on free kicks although it should be pointed out that the competition is fierce. Brendan Rodgers offloaded a couple of strikers but neither of them were in his plans so no changes are anticipated at Liverpool. Tottenham missed out on Saido Berahino despite repeated attempts to sign him so it’s a case of as we were there.
We’re expecting West Ham to comfortably finish within the Safe Zone and they were one of the busiest clubs on Deadline Day. Nikica Jelavic was on spot kicks for Hull so he could be an alternative to Mark Noble while Victor Moses comes in on loan from Chelsea and may figure in dead ball situations. Alex Song and Michail Antonio look useful additions too. Glenn Murray moves on from Crystal Palace but it is worth noting that the Mile Jedinak to Stoke City deal fell through. Bakary Sako has made quite an impression since signing for the Eagles and featured in a recent Jonathan Wilson WhoScored article which highlighted the abundance of wide options now available to Alan Pardew. Sako is a real livewire and certainly has the ability to contribute in set-piece situations. The arrival of Aaron Lennon gives Everton another option from corner kicks, a department in which they are already very strong. Nathan Dyer comes in at Leicester City but shouldn’t figure too much on set-pieces. Jamie Vardy took the Foxes late penalty against the Cherries but Rihad Mahrez had been substituted earlier in that encounter. We’re not expecting to see any significant changes to those reported earlier relating to set-piece proceedings at Southampton, Stoke or Swansea.
Moving on to the Drop Zone and Joleon Lescott joins Aston Villa increasing their aerial threat from set-pieces. The aforementioned Glenn Murray joins Bournemouth and is a useful exponent of penalty kicks. There was nothing significant to report at Newcastle while Matt Jarvis offers Norwich another option from corner kicks. The Berahino strike threat made this a transfer window to forget for West Brom but at least Jonny Evans comes in, a real coup which should really help to strengthen the Baggies back-line. Yann M’Vila scored a wonderful free kick for Sunderland against Villa while Fabio Borini who once scored a memorable penalty in a Tyne-Wear derby has completed the switch from Liverpool having originally been at Sunderland on loan during the 2013/14 season. Vicarage Road continues to act like a revolving door making Watford a very difficult team to assess. Matej Vydra goes out on loan to Reading but Adlène Guédioura signs permanently for the Hornets having had two loans spells their previously. The Algerian international is a capable penalty taker and could feature on free kicks as well.
Let’s see what contribution these deadline day signings can make!