Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe importance of having a world class keeper in your team - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The importance of having a world class keeper in your team - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The importance of having a world class keeper in your team

Goalkeepers are often underestimated in their importance to a side, especially to a team battling for the premier league title.

Clubs often spend millions and millions of pounds on forwards and attacking players but it can often be at the other end of the pitch that can be the difference between success and failure.

For me, it is no coincidence that when Arsenal last won the premier league in the 2003/04 season  Jens Lehmann  was a big part of the team that soon became known as the ‘invincibles’.  Despite making odd mistakes throughout the season, Lehmann often made match-winning performances throughout, which coincided with the fact he played every game in their 2003/04 premier league campaign.

I’m not suggesting uncertainty around Arsenal’s goalkeepers over recent years has been the sole reason for not winning or not coming close to winning another premier league title, but it has certainly has hindered their chances.

When Manchester United won the treble in 1998/99 season, Peter Schmeichel was influential in their efforts to achieve what they did. Signing for United for a mere £530,000 is surely Sir Alex Ferguson’s most successful purchase as united manager.  Schmeichel’s boots were subsequently hard to fill, with United experimenting with several different keepers after the Danish man’s departure. The goalkeeping dilemma forced Ferguson’s hand into spending 7.8 million pound of Frenchman Fabien Barthez. Barthez got mixed reviews at Old Trafford, and it has only really been since Edwin Van Der Sar joined the club that Manchester United have been comfortable with their no.1.

The recent mistake from Heurelho Gomez in the second leg of their tie against Real Madrid once again highlighted Gomez’ inconsistency between the posts. Even though the mistake was not influential on the eventual outcome of the match, it has reinforced the opinion that if Tottenham are to make a challenge for the premier league title in future seasons then money will need to be spent to acquire a  more consistent and reliable keeper.

When Jose’ Mourinho took over at Chelsea in the summer of 2004, the signing of Petr Cech was important for his side as he knew how important a solid keeper was to his team, with the 7 million pound transfer fee justified by a string of excellent performances in his first season at Stamford Bridge. Cech broke the record for amount of minutes playing without letting in a goal in the 04/05 season, which saw Chelsea win the title, and Cech named in the PFA team of the Year.

No Goalkeeper is expected to never make mistakes throughout his career, but to find a keeper who is consistently excellent between the posts, can be just as important as a 30-goal striker for a team.


Jamie Hopkins

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