The crucial role of the goalkeeper

Alan Kelly
Alan Kelly

We are now getting to the business end of the Premier League season, and we had the finale of the football league season this weekend.

Whether your team is fighting relegation or pushing for promotion, your goalkeeper will play a vital role in deciding whether your team is successful or doomed to failure.

We have again seen in the Premier League this weekend how erratic the standard of goalkeeping has been.

As I mentioned last week Tottenham’s goalkeeper, Heurelho Gomes, again provided the perfect example of brilliance, mixed with mistakes, that lead to goals being conceded.

One minute he was saving penalties, and the next minute he was giving them away, and with it Tottenham’s chance of that last Champions League position.

But he wasn’t the only one.

Wigan’s goalkeeper, Al Habsi, should have provided Wigan with three points on the back of a defiant goalkeeping performance, but for his positioning from the free-kick that resulted in Aston Villa’s equalising goal.

Joe Hart was another goalkeeper who should have at least earned his side, Manchester City, a point at Everton, by stopping Sylvain Distain’s opening goal for Everton.

On the other side of the coin, Blackburn’s Paul Robinson, Everton’s Tim Howard and Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet, gave their respective sides assured goalkeeping performances that should see Sunderland safe and Blackburn another point on the road to staying in the Premier League.

In all these goalkeeping examples, it just shows you the importance of a goalkeeper’s character and sheer nerves of steel that are required to deal with any situation, whether you are going for a Champions League position or trying to avoid relegation

Believe you me, having stood between the posts myself, and having made a mistake, there is no place to hide.

I take my hat off to all these goalkeepers and all the goalkeepers who play in professional, amateur, or junior football leagues, because every time you walk on the pitch you know that if you make a mistake it will result in a goal being conceded.

Now that’s pressure.

n Manchester United have all but secured the Premier League title this season, with a superb 2-1 victory at home to Chelsea.

By securing all three points they have again proved they have the mental toughness, ability and sheer belief that they are the best team in Europe.

If there is one team that can handle the brilliance of Lionel Messi and Barcelona then it is Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United.