Peter Reid’s season as assistant to Tony Pulis at Stoke has clearly rubbed off on the former manager of Sunderland.
In the last seven league games, six of them have included goals that have come from the assistance of midfielder Kari Arnason.
The former Icelandic international has been using his long throw-ins to deadly effect this season and it is obvious that Reid, who worked with Rory Delap at the Britannia, has instructed Arnason to use the similar set piece.
And it’s definitely working as defenders are finding it difficult to deal with the throw into the penalty area and players like Bradley Wright-Phillips and Reda Johnson have taken advantage brilliantly.
It was the same in last Saturday’s draw with Charlton Athletic. The lob into the area by Arnason caused pandemonium in the Charlton defence and it was Wright-Phillips who took advantage of the situation to give Plymouth lead.
A lot of criticism has been put on Stoke as using the ‘Delap Special’ particularly Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who said: “For example at Stoke, for Rory Delap it is like kicking the ball. It is a little bit of an unfair advantage. He is using a strength that is usually not a strength in football.”
But like Delap, Arnason has this gift and I for one am happy to see him continue using it because we wouldn’t have half the goals we do have so far this season.
It is also a fantastic sight to see Kari in his proper position, right in the centre of midfield. When former manager Paul Sturrock brought the player in on trial from Danish club AGF Aarhus in the summer of 2009 it was to add strength to the midfield.
But when the defence had injury problems, it was Arnason who stepped in and performed fantastically well throughout the 2009-10 season.
However I have always believed that using a player out of their position is wrong. If you’re a midfielder then that’s what your good at.
So seeing him return to that and form the great partnership with Carl Fletcher that he has done in the centre of the park is just what the Pilgrims need and what the Green Army want to see.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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