The Importance of Goalkeepers
When Petr Cech’s move to Arsenal was finally announced, I rejoiced, along with millions of other Arsenal fans, at the addition of an undoubtedly world class player to our team. This lead me to delve more into the importance of goalkeepers within a starting eleven.
Ever since I heard that Cech could be signing for us, I had been hoping against hope that he would. Why? Because he is just what Arsenal need. Arsenal are a brilliant attacking team, but time and time again it is the defence that lets them down. Once the defenders have failed to make a significant clearance, it falls to the goalkeeper to make a save, in more ways than one. All of the other teams in the top four (Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea) have been calling Arsenal fans deluded for years, but none of them can argue that as well as being a brilliant signing, Arsenal have bagged a bargain with Cech.
Arsenal have apparently signed Cech from direct rivals Chelsea on a four year deal worth £100,000 a week. He cost £10 million. I found this astonishing. When Cech signed for Chelsea from Rennes in 2004, he cost them £7 million. In 11 years, his value has only gone up by £3 million? I find that extremely hard to believe. Since Cech joined Chelsea in 2004, he has won 13 trophies with them including the Champions League, the Premier League, the Europa League and the FA Cup. Until last season, Cech’s position at the club was never in any doubt.
However, Thibaut Courtois was called back to Chelsea after his three year loan at Atletico Madrid and that decision effectively ended Cech’s reign. Courtois was fresh from winning La Liga on the final game of the season and narrowly missing out on the Champions League against local rivals Real Madrid. He was continuously hailed as the best young goalkeeper around and he did not disappoint when he finally came to Chelsea.
Unfortunately for Cech, this meant he had been demoted to No. 2. Cech only made seven Premier League starts last season, and as he said himself in his open letter to Chelsea fans, “I know I am not at the stage of my career where I want to be on the bench.” I wish Petr all the best at Arsenal and I think he can help them become a tighter team at the back. It is one thing to score goals, but it is another to make sure that you do not concede goals and Cech can help the Gunners build the strong foundation that we need in order to challenge for the title in years to come.
The other goalkeeper I wanted to talk about is David De Gea. When he first arrived at Manchester United from Atletico Madrid (they seem to have all the best goalkeepers) in 2010, expectations were high. After I had seen him play a few games for Man United I thought the signing was a joke. I could not believe that the “mighty” Man United had gone and bought such an awful goalkeeper. He was letting in goals left, right and centre. Whether it was from 25 yards or 5 yards, he constantly fumbled the ball and committed unthinkable errors. Those who wanted instant results were disappointed and it seemed like David De Gea would be a costly mistake for Man United.
Fortunately, for his own sanity, De Gea has come on leaps and bounds since 2010 and I now have to treat myself to a huge slice of humble pie as I find myself admitting that he is probably the best goalkeeper in the Premier League right now. After last season, you will have your work cut out to find someone who can prove otherwise. De Gea won the Players Player of the year award as voted for by his team-mates, and the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award, as voted for by the fans.
Everyone who is linked to Man United in any way knows how important De Gea was to United last season. Even Louis Van Gaal said last season “David De Gea, this year, is unbelievable.” This was supported by the fact that De Gea was one of only seven goalkeepers to play every minute for their club last season. He was Man United’s rock when they needed him most and at 24 he still has at least another 10 years in him. Some may say I’m getting carried away but he could be as outstanding as Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar.
I think Manchester United would be making an absolutely horrific mistake if they did not do everything in their power to keep De Gea at Old Trafford, rather than letting him leave for Real Madrid, because he saved them last year and without him I can guarantee they would not be playing Champions League football next season. So maybe the reason why goalkeepers are given the No. 1 jersey is because they are the silent captains of the team, keeping things ticking over and setting the foundations of the team for the others to follow.
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