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Villain to Hero

After posting the article about Casper Ankergren, of his momentary error that cost 2 points for Brighton an Hove Albion after a sterling display, I read some fascinating stats in another Goalkeeper also once berated by the press for similar momentary errors. Someone who the press were writing about his replacement at Manchester United almost as soon as he’d started his career there…

Fast forward to the recent stats in the Premiership and David De Gea is now showing that those critics (as usually is the case) were far to quick to judge. Keeping it clean at Manchester United for 627 minutes and now being called up to the Senior Spanish Team. Well deserved!

Let’s hope he keeps proving his doubters wrong. Although if he does make a mistake, can we please keep it real and remember the good times?

…And with the Manchester Derby this weekend with the expected barrage of shots, will he be able to keep this premier league clean sheet run going, so that he can come close to, match or even surpass the record by another Manchester United great, Edwin van der Sar, who kept it clean for 1,311 minutes?

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Hero to Villain

With Tomasz Kuszczak sidelined for Brighton and Hove Albion, Casper Ankergren took his chance to shine between the sticks, keeping out shot after shot by Nottingham Forest. After 90 minutes of superb goalkeeping and all set to win the Man-of-the-Match, it took just 1 minute of injury time to undo the great work by Casper Ankergren. A seemingly tame shot went through both the hands and legs of Casper and into the back of the net meaning 2 points lost by Brighton and Hove Albion.

You have to feel sorry for Casper, but he is not alone, I have witnessed this a number of times at Senior level and down through to grass roots level. The effect is always the same, the Goalkeeper provides a match winning performance and within seconds of being the Hero, to then almost becoming the villain as it is then that this one mistake is the one part of the match that they all remember at the end. The superb display before that seems to pale into insignificance and gone is any match award.

Fortunately though not all Managers and Coaches in the game end up blaming the goalkeeper for one single mistake, so you have to hand it to the Brighton and Hove Albion Manager, Gus Poyet as he not only sympathised with the Goalkeeper, but also summed up the life of any Goalkeeper brilliantly:

“When you are a keeper you pay the price and Casper has done that today. He was having a very, very good game, making two or three good saves, coming for crosses and kicking very well. In training he will save a 1,000 shots like that but we wanted him to save it today…

…Goalkeeper is a terrible position to play but we lose together and we win together – at least we got a point.”

Punch or Catch?

In the Liverpool vs Brighton and Hove Albion FA Cup match, we saw Peter Brezovan decide to Punch out in front of Goal rather than catch the ball. The result of which was that the ball was punched out to a Liverpool player. Which then came back into the danger zone and a couple of defensive errors later the ball was in the back of the net.

The commentators suggested that he (Brezovan) should have caught the ball. And even though in a previous blog I suggested that commentators should think about doing a goalkeeper coaching course, this time I agreed with them. He was at the right height to catch the ball. What’s more if you are going to Punch the ball you should at least make sure you punch it out to a great distance or to the side of the goal. This was seen where Tom Heaton of Cardiff City against the same team, Liverpool in the Carling Cup Final, punched strongly away from goal. Or as also seen in this picture where Jamie Langfield of Aberdeen punched the ball clear after being under immense pressure from Dundee United in the CIS Cup.

image from news.bbc.uk

However sometimes making the right call of punching doesn’t work out, as David Forde of Millwall found out in the match against West Ham. It was the correct decision made to punch especially with the pressured situation he was in, however like Peter Brezovan, the execution was not great.

Let’s not hold it against these keepers, as mistakes are made and as goalkeepers we live by our decisions. Bette still that we learn from these experiences and develop. Besides, when it comes to deciding whether to punch or catch often it’s an instinctive reaction that when executed correctly has great impact.

image from youngseagulls.co.uk

Coaching punching technique is the easy part. However this is another example of how imagery scripts can help in the decision-making process. By imagining different situations and how you would react to each and in training this in the mind so that when faced with such a situation you are as ready as you can be. But that then is the difficult part as however much we train our minds there can always be ‘that’ situation that we haven’t trained for that such a split second decision is made… With 1 of 2 outcomes… We can only pray it’s a good one! 😉

It’s a lottery – not just penalties… Getting recognition!

So the match between Brighton and Wrexham went to penalties, with one paper exclaiming that Craig Mackail-Smith spared Brighton’s blushes with the final penalty… Why did the striker get the plaudits? All the team scored in the shootout… Surely credit should have gone to Peter Brezovan with the first save – which was text book stuff as he won a Psychological battle with the penalty taker.

image from uk.eurosport.yahoo.com

Brighton were lucky yes… Lucky to have a decent keeper!

But what now for Brezovan, as Brighton have now signed international David Gonzalez?

Bird spotting

The Seagulls, whose team included Matt Sparrow beat the Robins 2-0. But the score line could have been even greater had it not been for David James’s superb ‘Flying Saves’.

The seagulls take on the Eagles at the end of the month – so who will end up higher in the pecking order? Can a seagull soar higher than an Eagle? Who will get in a flap? 😉

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/16453651.stm

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