2017/18 Season Review - Fraser Forster
Wednesday, 23rd May 2018 09:39
Fraser Forster started the season hoping to see his stock rise and be heading off to the World Cup in Russia but ended it as second choice at St Mary's, but was he as bad as some would have you make out.
In many respects Fraser Forster's stats are very similar to Alex McCarthy's, he played 20 games, 2 more than his rival and both kept 4 clean sheets, of 56 goals conceded in the Premier League Forster let in 30 of them an average of 1.5 a game compared to McCarthy's 1.44.
If we look at the total stats with McCarthy's in brackets
Saves 68 (42 )
So statistically there was little to choose between both keepers, so what was the reason that one is considered to be so bad and the other so good, I will look at McCarthy separately but for now lets look at Forster.
In my opinion Forster was not as bad as many would make out, despite the fact that many blamed him for virtually every goal conceded, he also had some decent games and had a lot more work to do in saving shots than we had in the second half of the season.
Goalkeepers though thrive on confidence and Forster was very low on that, add to that he had a poor central defensive pairing in front of him whoever played, whether it be Van Dijk who just didn't care, Yoshida and Stephens who were positionally weak when it came to marking or Hoedt who was finding his feet in the Premier League.
That all added up to chaos especially at set pieces, hence the number of headed goals we conceded this term.
Perhaps the game that epitomised Forster's half season was the game at Chelsea, on another day he would have been hailed as man of the match, a string of great saves could have had a clean sheet and a point, but that game will be remembered for his error in first half injury time.
But most think his error was getting down too late for the shot, that wasn't the issue, Forster had not lined up the wall properly and Chelsea saw that he had left the corner unguarded, the keeper actually did well to get near the shot, but the truth was he had not lined the wall up and that cost him and Saints dearly.
He should have come out of the firing line earlier than he did, he needed a rest to restore his confidence, but who were Saints to replace him with, Alex McCarthy had never played a Premier League game for Saints and had spent a big part of the previous season injured, it was probably better the devil you know.
That meant that Forster had to stay in and see his confidence dented with each game, he wasn't playing badly, but he didn't look the part either, his defence wasn't helping him, but he couldn't help his defence either.
When he was taken out it seemed to be a gamble from Saints, McCarthy had played 1 Premier League game in over 2 years and had barely played 20 games for anyone in 3 1/2, but the rest as they say is history.
So not a good season for Forster, but I think he is a better keeper than most Saints fans give him credit for, whether that will be at St Mary's is another matter, he will not want to play second fiddle and there are a few Premier League teams who would be interested in him.
If McCarthy signs a new contract then I think Forster will go and we will look for a back up for McCarthy.
If Forster does go then we will get our money back on him and more, but if he does stay then with a good defence in front of him it would not be the worst thing in the World.
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