Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Season ratings: Goalkeepers

Márton Fülöp (3 starts, 0 goals)

Brought in under controversial circumstances to cover for Shay Given's dislocated shoulder, he had the chance to make himself a cult hero at City. Taking us to the Champions League would make his saves the modern day equivalent of Emile Mpenza's relegation-preventing goals in 2007. But it was not to be. He started shakily, conceding from a weak John Carew shot at Eastlands. He improved, and made an excellent save or two against Spurs. We could quibble with his spilling Younes Kaboul's cross into the path of Peter Crouch but that might be a bit much. Against West Ham he made another few good saves. Overall a good goalkeeper for us; our failure to grasp fourth was by no means his fault. B

Shay Given (44 starts, 0 goals)

Remains the best piece of business of the Mark Hughes era. He continued his excellent form from the back end of the last season, making saves that few others in the Premier League could produce. Up until Christmas he was just perfect: our best player, and one of the best in the Premier League. He won the TLDORC Player of November, in large part due to his penalty save from James McFadden at St. Andrew's, which saved us a point. The following month he saved a spot-kick from Frank Lampard at Eastlands, saving us two points. This was the high point of his season. He was said to be a Mark Hughes loyalist who complained on his removal, and his season was never quite so good again. February, and the Stoke City trilogy, represented the nadir: he missed two Rory Delap long throws to concede to headers, and one long distance low roller from Glenn Whelan. The old accusation that he was stuck to his line returned, and the form of Joe Hart for Birmingham made some City fans (but not this one) doubt that we had the best 'keeper we could have. His form improved later on this season, and a serious shoulder injury disrupted our push for fourth. But with Hart due to return next season, and Given unlikely to make opening day, it is quite possible that our best player of 2009 could not be first choice by the end of 2010. A-

Two other 'keepers featured. First there was specialist deputy 'keeper Stuart Taylor, who played in the FA Cup match at Scunthorpe and managed to concede twice in an otherwise comfortable game. He ought to have replaced Shay Given when the Irishman went down at the Emirates but Taylor himself was injured. This left Gunnar Nielsen with fifteen or so easy minutes of his own to negotiate.

1 comment:

trinder said...

Given is an incredible stopper of shots, the best I've seen in England, but the rest of his game is no better than the average in the Premier League. He is stuck to his line, he doesn't seem to command the men in front of him and his kicking (especially from his hands) is haphazard.

Mancini has a really big decision to make because neither keeper will settle for being second choice. I say be bold and choose Hart.