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7 Defenders Who Will Absolutely Hate The New Premier League Rules On Set-Pieces

7 Defenders Who Will Absolutely Hate The New Premier League Rules On Set-Pieces
By Mikey Traynor

If you haven't been watching the Premier League this year, things have changed.

A new FA objective has set out to eliminate shirt-pulling and holding of opponents at set-pieces by giving penalties for any contact made while not looking at the ball.

We've already seen some ridiculously soft spot-kicks given as statements need to be made in order to prevent defenders from illegally holding runners from corners and free-kicks, which was becoming more and more common in penalty areas all over Europe.

But now the refs are blowing their whistle for every hand placed on a shoulder, and that means very bad news for the shirt-pulliest greco-roman wrestlers and judo experts that the Premier League has to offer.

Martin Skrtel would already have given away 47 penalties had he not left English football at the perfect time, but the following serial offenders are going to have to change their game completely.

Chris Smalling - Manchester United

Last season was fantastic from a personal point of view for Chris Smalling, as he established himself as one of the finest defenders in the league... But he simply does not know how to resist holding his man at corners.

Ryan Shawcross - Stoke City

This new initiative may have been created with Ryan Shawcross specifically in mind. A big, tough, traditional English defender (which means he enjoys being kicked in the face for those who didn't know) who uses every set-piece as a platform to remind everyone what a strong man he is... He may be in trouble this year.

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Scott Dann

Pardew's star pupil Scott Dann is a genuine goal threat at both ends.

He has an incredible ability to get his name on the scoresheet for a defender, but he's very, very handsy and unless he curbs his enthusiasm for a hug he'll be in a lot of trouble. Look at him dancing with Robert Huth, who we'll discuss later.

Jan Verthonghen - Tottenham Hotspur

He should already have been done for a penalty for his actions against Liverpool, which seems insane after seeing what happened to Raheem Sterling the week before.

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He's a smart player who has improved greatly over the last two years, but he just can't resist a tug.

Robert Huth - Leicester City

A mountain of a man, Huth needs only to stand still and have people run into him to knock them unconscious as rumour has it the German defender is 76% granite.

Has undoubtedly upped his game since leaving Stoke, he still loves a bit of argy-bargy like nothing else.

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Younes Kaboul - Watford

Just a general madman who is liable to do something crazy at any moment.

A 'wildcard', if you will, he will need to keep his urges in check.

Branislav Ivanovic - Chelsea

Back in favour with Anotnio Conte, big Branislav will need to be on his best behaviour to stay in the team.

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In doing so, he will have to undo what he has mastered over the course of his career.

Best of luck to all of these men.

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