Friday 20 April 2018

Damien Delaney: Palace team-mate said 'see ya' when Dmitri Payet struck glorious free-kick

West Ham's Dimitri Payet scores his incredible free-kick
West Ham's Dimitri Payet scores his incredible free-kick

Charlie Eccleshare

Dmitri Payet's magnificent free-kicks have been one of the standout features of the Premier League season, with the West Ham midfielder scoring four goals directly from dead-ball situations since joining the club last summer.

When Crystal Palace played West Ham on Saturday, Alan Pardew even warned his players about giving away needless free-kicks anywhere near the area.

In spite of that though, the seven-man Palace wall that lined up to block Payet's route to goal when he lined up a free-kick 20 yards out thought they had nothing to worry about.

"When he [Payet] hit it as it went over the wall I thought that one's going into row Z, I swear to god," said Palace defender Damien Delaney, who had earlier put his side 1-0 up.

"I think someone in the wall shouted 'see ya' to Payet, I think [goalkeeper] Wayne [Hennessey] probably thought it as well."

In fairness to Delaney, Payet's shot took a ludicrous trajectory - it flew up 12 feet in the air and was in the back of the net just took 0.95 seconds after leaving his boot.  

And hubris like that shown by the Palace defenders is pretty commonplace, as anyone who plays regular football will attest.

A few years ago I was playing in a match when after battling hard until the 93rd minute to keep the score at 1-1, the opposing central midfielder lined up a shot from 30 yards out.

"All day boys," shouted my team-mate and now colleague Ben Bloom as the player went to strike the ball. A Second later it was nestling in the top corner.

Palace at least had time to recover on Saturday and after falling 2-1 behind to Payet's wondergoal, they fought back in the second half to earn a 2-2 draw thanks to Dwight Gayle's equaliser.

The next team to try and stop Payet will be Arsenal this Saturday. You'd expect they'll be keeping their mouths firmly shut if they give away any free-kicks in the Frenchman's range.

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