The Premier League has started! I am so excited that I have even entered a Premier League Fantasy team. My goalkeeper for my team is Petr Cech. He looked comfortable in the Community Charity against his old club Chelsea, and hailed as the missing piece in Arsenal’s title-chasing puzzle. Alas, it was Cech’s two errors that led to Arsenal’s opening-day loss. See a break down of his two mistakes here.
Goal 1 had Petr Cech rightly have his defense hold the line for the free kick. This gives space for the goalkeeper the claim the ball rather than collecting in a crowded area. This, I have to tell you, is one of the hardest saves to make in soccer. His starting position seemed fine, so as not to get chipped. Upon assessing, we can see that Petr had the right attitude to be aggressive and “box” the ball out with two hands, but the Arsenal defenders did not hold the line correctly. Arsenal’s #4 was deeper than the players nearer to the ball allowing the West Ham forwards to get a head start on the defenders ( without being offside) and therefore get to the ball first. Once this is the case, the goalkeeper has to get there first or make the decision to retreat and save on his line.
Goal 2 – You should not be beaten near post and you should have most long distance shots covered, but Petr got caught with both.
You can see that he was expecting the shot to go the other side of #6 and actually took step to his left prior to the shot. Cech must have been unsighted and was unable to adjust to the near post shot. This could have been avoided if the defender had closed down the forward closer. See my article on the flowchart of what to tell defenders when the ball is in front. As part of the Goalkeepers union, I would argue that the original clearance by Arsenal’s Oxlade Chamberlain was dreadful!
Both goals show that the relationship between the defense and the goalkeeper is vital and that communication stops the opposition at the source – Get talking goalkeepers!!!