Mathew Nash on a bad start for Premier League goalkeepers.
So the Premier League season is under way and as is customary it doesn’t take long for the various mistakes being made up and down the country to be highlighted on a flashy widescreen Ipad with everyone who is anyone feeling like having a pop at the guys who do it best.
But the most worrying form so far this season, despite being only 2 games in is that of the goalkeepers.
I am not entirely sure what has happened over the summer but it seems a large proportion of custodians seem to have come back to the new season with sudden attacks of slippery hand syndrome, some form of attention disorder or perhaps a neurological problem that for some reason, has decimated their usually exemplary hand-eye co-ordination.
Adam Federici doesn’t need telling that he has had an indifferent start to his Premier League debut. I tipped him to be Reading’s best player this term, and speaking to Reading fan’s the two mistakes he has made in two games this season might just be the first of his career, at least for a long time anyway.
The Australian was probably the happiest man around when Saturday’s game against Sunderland was called off; after the battering his confidence had already taken dealing with in-swingers from Seb Larsson or long range drives from Craig Gardner on an impossibly greasy Stadium of Light pitch could not of been an exciting prospect.
Jussi Jaaskelainen had a howling moment against Swansea this weekend allowing Angel Rangel’s hopeful cross shot to squirm under his body and Rob Green has been far from convincing in the Premier League’s opening exchanges. The two should be worried as West Ham have a very promising young keeper in the form of Stephen Henderson whilst QPR seem set to complete a deal for Julio Cesar sometime this week.
Even Petr Cech got in on the act, he had a poor Euro 2012 for his legendary standards and would have been very disappointed with his bundling attempt to keep Danny Guthrie’s free kick out and Shay Given, another experienced performer, fluffed his lines when presented with Maraoune Fellaini’s headed attempt.
The epidemic seems to be spreading with Victor Valdes also suffering a howling moment as he haphazardly attempted to take on Real Madrid’s Angel Di Maria with embarrassing consequences.
Maybe I am being picky being a former goalkeeper myself (obviously nowhere near the talents of these players and no relation to Carlo) but even Kelvin Davis and Joe Hart won’t be happy with their starts. Davis has been beaten at his near post thrice and Joe Hart has made the solitary save amongst 4 conceded efforts.
It may be harsh to expect so much of Joe but despite the excellently placed efforts of Davis, Lambert and Suarez on top of Martin Skrtel’s bullet header you just feel in fine fiddle he would have saved 50% of those. He may not be fully fit from his back problems but a half fit Joe Hart may perform better then Costel Pantilimon, who kickstarted the goalkeeping errors in the Community Shield.
Others have quietly impressed; Asimir Begovic, Mark Schwarzer, Michel Vorm and despite one perhaps flappy moment against Fulham; David De Gea has also made a strong start to the campaign, perhaps more so then Hart or even Cech. Is he a better goalkeeper? We'll let you decide.
The only real fact amongst the litany of errors is that these are among the best goalkeepers in world football regardless of their mistakes. Instead of worrying about on being on such a lengthy list they should take solace in looking around them and realising; it happens to everyone, right?
Here’s a little compilation of the best of the worst goalkeeping moments...
image: © Ben Sutherland