West Ham are the game’s set-piece specialists right now.
Since the start of last season, they have scored from 21 such situations in the Premier League, more than any other side.
Opponents foolish enough to gift them the opportunity to swing a ball in from a set-piece run the risk of being punished — as Tottenham were on Sunday.
Managers work tirelessly on set-plays on the training ground. They try to come up with creative routines by telling their players to make certain movements.
Watch Sunday’s winning goal and you will see Declan Rice make a distracting run towards the near post as the ball flies behind him to Michail Antonio.
It was exactly the same for West Ham’s winner at Everton last week. Height helps, obviously, but there are two big musts when it comes to being prolific from set-pieces.
One is the quality of the delivery. You need someone who can hit the right area with pace and precision. West Ham have that with Aaron Cresswell.
The other big must is players who can read the flight of the ball.
West Ham have that in abundance with Antonio, Tomas Soucek, Angelo Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma, Craig Dawson and more who know how to meet crosses from Cresswell.
Watching Antonio now, there’s a strong case to say England missed a trick by not ensuring he was theirs. He’s in the form of his life, but he belongs to Jamaica now, unfortunately.Internet Explorer Channel Network