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2019/20 Season Review _ The Goalkeepers
Tuesday, 28th Jul 2020 08:47

It was a tale of two keepers for Saints in the season just ended, but next season it is far from certain who will be number one and whether Fraser Forster will make a comeback.

Angus Gunn started the season for Saints and played the first 10 Premier League games, in truth he did little wrong and as a young keeper learning his trade was exposed to a defence that was an accident waiting to happen.

Initially Saints and started the season fairly well with 7 points from the first 5 games, but the issues in defence were there for all to see from the very first game.

I am not saying that his performances were perfect, but he has what it takes and these days goalkeepers don't mature till far later than outfield players so time is on his side in that respect.

The debacle against Leicester was the last game for Gunn in the League, but he could hardly be blamed for the defeat in what was an embarrassing display by those in front of him, Ralph Hasenhuttl wisely pulled him out of the firing line for his own good, his three subsequent appearances in the FA Cup saw him looking a little more confident and there is hope that he could become a first choice Saints keeper at some point, comparisons can be drawn with Tim Flowers who was in and out of the side in his first three seasons and didn't truly become the undisputed number 1 till that fourth season.

In came Alex McCarthy for the final 28 League games and he has done a reasonable job, but you always feel he has a mistake in him each game, sometimes they get punished sometimes they don't.

I think McCarthy has suffered from the fact that he has rarely been a number One keeper at any club he has played for including Saints and he has always been in and out of the side, meaning he has not built up that concentration needed to stay alert for 38 games a season and 90 plus minutes each game.

He is adequate but there are just far too many mistakes that have cost us goals & points, two many flaps at crosses and shots spilled, maybe as many as half a dozen have resulted in goals and that is far too many in the Premier League, maybe I'm judging him harshly, but my litmus test is would he or indeed any of our players get in another premier League side, I think at the moment in the case of both McCarthy & Gunn the answer would be no and that should tell us something if we aspire to a top 10 finish again.

Fraser Forster's future is uncertain, he is caught in the wages trap, he is on just too much money to leave the club on a permanent deal, last season at Celtic he was outstanding and they are keen to sign him but cannot afford to do so.

My feeling is that the club are toying with the idea of keeping Forster and loaning out one of the other two, even which one is still undecided but probably Gunn for experience and then let the two remaining keepers fight it out for the number one spot.

Forster isn't a bad keeper, neither are Gunn or McCarthy but they have all suffered over the past few years with a shaky defence in front of them, if that is dealt with at least all three are capable of being number 1.

So to recap.

Gunn- Plenty of promise but needs experience

McCarthy - Suffering from being back up most of his career, lacks the concentration to be number one

Forster - Proven keeper but needs a solid partnership in front of him, could play a part next season.

Photo: Action Images

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LordDZLucan added 09:10 - Jul 28
As usual I see it completely differently to you. Alex McCarthy came in after the Leicester debacle and to my mind was a major reason the defence then started to perform. He's a great shot stopper, commands his box and, yes, he makes the odd mistake but name me a 'keeper who doesn't. The problem with Angus Gunn was that, whilst he was not making mistakes, he just wasn't making any saves. Fraser Forster has a well documented aversion to crosses. For a big man he should be commanding his box and clearing everybody out when a cross comes in but he just doesn't do it. So for me it's a simple decision. Alex McCarthy is by far and away our best 'keeper and has to be our number one.

felly1 added 09:45 - Jul 28
McCarthy is our no 1. If he never made any mistakes he wouldn't be playing for Saints, he'd at City or Liverpool.
Its pretty obvious that if you play for a club like Saints in the Premier league and play an attacking pressing game you will expose your defence and therefore errors will occur.
McCarthy has produced many match saving performances along with the odd balls up.

AirFlorida added 11:19 - Jul 28
Disagree. McCarthy has got better and proved himself to be a really good keeper. Whislt we've got a happy squad playing for the manager he remains our no.1 keeper. I agree he's got an error in him per game but we're not a top six club so having a better keeper is beyond us at this stage. I'd rather invest what money we have on a comanding CB.

I'm of the view that it's better to have a good keeper playing with confidence (and for his team mates) than bedding in a new keeper or having a better keeper with confidence issues (Forster). Whislt we have a team (normally) scoring more than one a game It's just not cost or points effective getting a better keeper at this moment. We have good cover in Gunn so let's wait until next season and review it then.

WestSussexSaint added 12:25 - Jul 28
If you review the performances of all Saints keepers this season it should be argued that the best has come from Forster. Just not in a Saints shirt!

I think all 3 could be no 1 but would like to see Forster given another chance as his confidence is back and that is huge for any keeper. Have McCarthy as back up and Gunn to go on loan to improve his confidence and get some match experience.

halftimeorange added 13:59 - Jul 28
I wonder just how many games McCarthy kept Saints in it since he returned this season. His errors largely centre on his kicking to my mind. Too often Alex kicks the ball out of play and he often unnecessarily faffs around trying to play the ball short when a safer bet would be a punt upfield. I notice he's punching more and that's improved his performance at crosses. I'm inclined to think that better coaching would iron out his errors. Like others, I think Gunnis one for the future. As for Forster, I have never seen a goalkeeper go into meltdown the way Fraser did. It would be a major risk to bring him back to St Marys where he might feel uncomfortable and be at the mercy of the rather large number of fickle home game attendees.

Crispinmumbles added 14:01 - Jul 28
The =gulf in facing the attacking might of Ross County and St. Johnstone compared to that of Liverpoo, Manc City et al might go some way to explaining Forster's 'outstanding' season. McCarthy has pulled off some breath taking saves and has won us points but like all keepers has made some mistakes. Forster is slow, is not good with his feet and goes down in instalments being 12ft 7.

ItchenNorth added 14:27 - Jul 28
Gunn got the bum deal this season. He started in goal and didn't really do anything wrong. He made the odd mistake, as did McCarthy this season, but Gunn was playing behind a different system, a system that we changed following the Leicester debacle. McCarthy benefited from this change in system. McCarthy has played well in recent weeks but I still believe in Gunn and that he is the better keeper.

underweststand added 15:28 - Jul 28
I'm happy with McCarthy as first choice, but no-one knows if Forster would be able to replicate his Celtic heroics were he to stay with Saints and only have the occasional game.

If he is sold (or goes back to Celtic on loan) at least we would get a small return for our investment, but his contract / salary is prohibitive for someone NOT playing in the Prem.

I agree with the "nicer" comments (above) on Angus Gunn, but clearly he needs more experience at a good level before we can consider him to become a future first choice. Sitting on our bench (or someone else') is not a viable option if he is to progress in the short term.

Short term Prediction ? ..McCarthy stays first choice, Forster finally moves on, Gunn goes out on loan to a club as their first choice.. and Saints bring in "someone else " from a good level European club as our no.2 as cover.... for 1-2 years.

AirFlorida added 08:27 - Jul 29
Look, for any genuine people banging Forster's drum, he's found his level. He's comfortable in a smaller, less competitive league with the odd big game. He fell apart towards the end with us and he'd do the same after a bad game or two if he rejoined the saints. Once a keeper loses his confidence at the top level there's no way back. There's quite a list of top keepers who never got back to their best: Heart, James, Green, Mingnolet.. Dare I say De gea now. It's painful watching them battle their demons on pitch and playing like clowns whilst the fans mock them and thier managers publicly back them. Let's leave Forster tucked away and take any contributions we can for his huge salary.

NewburySaint added 21:00 - Jul 29
LordDZLucan: I echo everything you say, in particular your comment about Gunn not making any/many mistakes but I too have noticed that he also doesn’t seem to make many saves either-would love to know his goals conceded to shots faced because I bet it doesn’t read well with or without the 9-0.

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