I am an ex-goalkeeper. Not an exceptionally good or successful one apart from in 5-a-side, so I tend to have a soft spot for keepers and analyse them closely. When the Given/Harper debate raged I felt we were fortunate to have both.
Shay was definitely better but Steve was very solid. Just at times I used to see goals go in past Harps that I felt Given would have saved. Not mistakes by Harper but one’s other keepers would have got. That was, until recently, my feelings about Darlow.
Solid, above average but there were sometimes goals/incidents that happened that I felt Dubravka would have done better with hence the reason for the #1 and #2 ratings. Lately though I think Karl has taken his game to another level.
But it is not just disappointing but “alarming” that he may well be our best and most consistent player this season. Sure, ASM has had his moments and it’s wonderful to have a striker like Wilson, but Darlow has stepped in for Dubs and really produced. Unfortunately, it’s worrying just how often he’s been called into acton, however.
Consider this. Bruce often has an excuse or a ‘but’ when defending our displays, yet Dubravka made the most saves of any Premier League goalkeeper last season and Darlow has made more (27!) this season than ANY goalkeeper in Europe’s top 5 leagues.
We’re going backwards defensively at an alarming rate and those stats quoted above say everything you need to know about our defence under Bruce. It’s an alarming trend to see how many saves our goalkeepers are having to make.
Manchester United had 14 shots on target on Saturday night – more than they’ve had in a single Premier League game for FIVE seasons!
That says it all when this is a Man Utd side who didn’t play that well, arrived low on confidence after a 1-6 defeat last time out, without several key players having made the start to a season that has their Manager under pressure. Where then does that put ours.
Can you really understand playing Joelinton and Hendrick out of position in positions where he has Fraser and Almiron who could have played against a struggling defence devoid of pace? Plus, how good would they have been in a side 1 – 0 up after two minutes and looking to press home their advantage?
No, it was back to formula Bruce. 1 – 0 up let’s see if we can defend that for 88 minutes and hang on and not risk going for a second goal. Damning and demeaning for me and to think for 20 minutes we were actually 2nd in the Premiership!