Crouch: Delap's throw-ins are comical but vital

The Potters striker states that while his side's aerial tactics make him laugh, they are just as important as the passing game of Arsenal, whom they face on Sunday
Stoke City forward Peter Crouch argues that, while Rory Delap's long throw-ins make him laugh, they are just as legitimate a tactic as any other in the Premier League - if not for the amount of goals they provide, then for their psychological impact on the opposition.

While the Potters only scored two goals from 980 thrown-ins last season, the England striker knows what it is like to have to deal with the midfielder's probing deliveries at the Britannia Stadium.

"I still love it whenever we get a throw-in," he told The Sun.

"I see forwards who have to come back to defend our set-pieces and it genuinely makes me laugh.

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"I've been in that situation myself so I know what's going through their heads. Your whole body language is saying: 'Oh no, I've got to get all the way back and defend now'.

"It's bad enough having to come back and defend corners but when it's every throw-in too, mentally it makes teams hate coming to play Stoke City. It's been the strongest weapon in our armoury."

With Arsenal set to visit on Sunday afternoon, fans can expect a chalk-and-cheese clash of styles, yet Crouch insists that Stoke's aerial ability is too effective not to exploit.

"We've got a big team and good players like Matt Etherington and Jermaine Pennant with the ability to whip the ball in at set-pieces," he observed.

"We've also got Rory and Ryan Shotton on throw-ins, so we'd be crazy not to use their ability.

"When Rory can put the ball in flatter and faster than a corner then it's a trick worth using. Whenever Rory's on the pitch it's a tactic we'll definitely use."

Crouch dismissed critics of Stoke's tactics, suggesting that a goal is more important than style: "I've watched so-called 'football' teams who are losing with a minute to go and what do they do? They start slinging the ball into the box!

"I've seen great teams who need a goal in the last minute and they suddenly play like us! Manchester United are brilliant at it.

"Manchester City won the title last year but against Sporting Lisbon didn't they have Joe Hart up heading the ball in the dying seconds? You've got to have that to your game in the Premier League otherwise you've no chance."