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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 )
Penalties saved 1(0)
Punches 2 (11)
High Claims 8 (18)
Catches 6 (2)
Sweeper clearances 3 (2)
Throw outs 62 (56)
Errors leading to goal 2 (0)

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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DorsetIan added 10:35 - May 23
You say that statistically there is little to choose between them, but these stats speak volumes:

Punches 2 (11)
High Claims 8 (18)

McCarthy 'commanded his area' much more positively and confidently than Forster, and given that his shot stopping and distribution was at least as good as Forster, that's what distinguished him as by far the better keeper.

SaintNick added 10:41 - May 23
I have just given the stats and then an opinion on Forster, I have highlighted McCarthy's strengths in his review now up,

SanMarco added 12:09 - May 23
The punches and high claims stats are damning for poor old Forster + errors leading to goals in such a knife-edge season. I totally agree that things didn't go for him re confidence and the centre backs in front of him (and also I don't think he was ever quite the same after the long injury break he had) but, cruel as it undoubtedly is, the one good decision made by MP was to drop him. I think it would be best for him to have a new start elsewhere - he played his part in our successes and we should have no ill-feeling towards him.

bstokesaint added 13:39 - May 23
He was quite literally the turning point in our season when he came back from injury and kept one of the longest ever run of clean sheets in the PL a couple of seasons ago. This season though he has been very poor. He looks a shadow of his former self and is not mobile enough or good enough at controlling his box to be a number once choice. As SM says I think he is best off making a clean start elsewhere.

SaintBrock added 15:15 - May 23
I can't wait for the episode involving Maya Yoshida.....

Remember the old adage Nick, if you find nothing good to say about a person than say no bad.

Silence is golden!

City_boy added 19:28 - May 23
Would be interesting to see the stat on how many goals each keeper let in from out of the box. On a number of occasions I thought Forster was slow to react to efforts on goal from distance, that he really should have got.


saintsnutcase added 13:34 - May 24
It is completely crazy to compare these two keepers on current and recent form. Forster has been a good shot stopper in his time, but since his injury he has been completely immobile, poor with his distribution on the ground, vulnerable on near post or low shots and contributes nothing in the air. McCarthy has a far stronger all round game. Oh, and we won't get £10m if we sell Forster.


underweststand added 15:40 - May 24
Nick is right in as much as Forster is not a BAD keeper. In part some of the goals conceded have been defensive errors which he had little /no control over.

If I were to fault him it would be on the basis of his sheer physical size. If you've never met anyone who is over 6'6" (I have ) you don't understand the enormous physical size that confronts you. It would probably be wrong to say he's overweight (but for his size) he probably isn't, but moving that bulk about is harder for a keeepr when speed/ agility is the key factor. (I'm reminded that one of the most acrobatic keepers I've seen was Antti Niemi who was not much over 6 feet tall).

Secondly - he doesn't get angry enough at his defenders who make mistakes. He has a job to do and so do they, but simply scowling at someone whose been responsible for a mistake that's led to a goal isn't enough. He needsa to be more active and more vocal.

I'd like to think he would stay, but if he still wants the England spot he needs to be no. 1 all the time, and if Alex McCarthy maintains his recent form that'll be tough.
The Prem. lost 2 England keepers to the Championship last season, and Joe Hart couldn't even get regular games on loan - at WHam.

A crossroads summer for Fraser - If he stays, he'll need to work on his weaknesses, if he moves Saints will need a top class replacement -who doesn't seem to be on the books at present.


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