On Goalkeepers, New Bosses and Cod Psychology

Is there any chance that Real Madrid could take a coaching session or two with the Atletico defenders before Thursday? They and Bayern Munich underlined the current dearth of goalkeeping talent at the top level in football. Arsenal being the next level down, are going to struggle this summer to fill that gap.

Neuer is on his way back from injury and will take over from Ulreich once again, but the latter is the kind of goalkeeper we will have scouted. And hopefully discarded. With a budget of £50m for transfers (supposedly), there’s little prospect of signing Oblak and Stoke will want £30m+ for Butland.

We’re signingJoe Hart, aren’t we?

Which sounds more of a threat than it should be. Former England Number One isn’t much to put on your CV when the competition was a bunch of kids and Rob Green. Football supporters have long memories and sadly for goalkeepers, mistakes tend to live longer in the mind than saves.

There are exceptions. John Lukic was slow to get down to shots from distance – like watching a redwood being felled – but I can’t immediately think of any mistakes. Anfield, White Hart Lane and Wembley erased them. I thought of one. Everton when Wayne Clarke scored from the halfway line.

We’ll try a test for the older reader. I’ll say a goalkeeper’s name and see what springs to your mind.

Ray Clemence. Yes, Kenny Dalglish’s shot going through his legs. Not a long, illustrious career, but the most humiliating moment he suffered.

Peter Shilton. Germany 1990 with the ball spinning over his head. And then you thought ‘Tina’. I know you did.

Dino Zoff. Bouncing the ball six hundred times across the penalty area – was it Argentina ’78 or Espana ’82? You got the point.

You’re an Errand Boy, Sent by Grocery Clerks, to Collect a Bill

This morning’s papers are all about who is replacing Arsène when he leaves. Liverpool’s now-departed assistant manager is the new favourite as the media in his native Bosnia claimed. ‘Journalists’ are no longer cultivating sources at clubs, they are either spoon-fed stories by senior executives or highly proficient with Google Translate.

Zeljko Buvac, otherwise known as the long-haired bloke who sat next to Jurgen Klopp, is the name on everyone’s lips thanks to the Mirror picking up on what the Bosnian press are claiming. Which proves my point. They read a website which cited the Bosnian press, found the story in that paper and then quoted it as the source for the story.

Back in the day, before the internet, they did the legwork, sank beers and got the editor to sign off their expenses which included payments to sources. Sort of like the Sweeney with their snouts, only less glamorous and a whole lot seedier.

Now, they spend the day in an orgy of self-congratulation on social media, currying favour with ‘fans’ by printing stories they want to hear or pushing grudges, only to become highly offended when they are labelled ‘no marks’ or usually, much worse.

Anyway, I doubt he is a candidate. Ivan was in Los Angeles at the weekend while Buvac was being told to do one at Anfield. Training ground bust-up, they called it in the old days. A “private matter” now. And in Rollerball, it was known as retirement.

Now I properly remember the feeding frenzy around the appointment of a new manager. All the early contenders fall by the wayside and out of nowhere comes the appointee. “We scoured the world and there is no better manager in football to take Arsenal forward than Steve Bould…”

That had you shifting uncomfortably in your seat, didn’t it?

The Horror…the Horror…

In proper footballing news, Rob Holding signed a new deal. Amazing how quickly the club can move when they want to, isn’t it. Judgement was swiftly passed on the former Bolton man when he didn’t turn out to be the new Cannavaro. Yet, I suspect he will be better than many think if a coach who understands defending is an art, gets hold of him. The same will most likely be true of Calum Chambers.

While some you can just see won’t improve with a change in boss – Mustafi, Koscielny – the youngsters have a chance. The bad habits they’ve picked up can be coached out of them, which is why dismissing Bellerin is foolish.

But the Chuckle Brothers? Lost causes, I’m afraid. Capable of outstanding performances? Definitely, and they will produce one on Thursday night to surprise us all as we cruise through to the final…

We can but dream.

’til Tomorrow.

42 thoughts on “On Goalkeepers, New Bosses and Cod Psychology

  1. Kapow

    The new contracts team are cranking them out

    Wenger will now be thinking…if only I had delegated…

  2. David Seaman: possibly Arsenal’s best keeper.

    Will forever be remembered for the Nayim fluke & Ronaldinho in the 2002 world cup.

  3. Surely Shilton’s stand-out moment was the ‘hand of God’. When he somehow managed to jump under the towering 2 foot 6 midget that is Maradona, who admittedly had his hand on his head – thus extending his mighty reach to 2 foot 7.
    Never understood how he never got more of the blame for that, yes it was handball by Diego but should he have even got close to the ball. Just a thought.

  4. Bad ‘keepers? George f*cking Wood springs to mind.

    The first one I really remember is Jimmy Rimmer (I did see Bob Wilson play but was too young to remember much about those matches). Can’t say I really rated Jimmy although as he has two European Cup winners medals (ManU in 68 and Villa in 82) he must have been better than I recall. Okay he was sub in the first one and only played nine minutes in the second (before famously being replaced injured by Nigel Spink), but that’s still an achievement.

    Still think that we should have kept Szczesny though.

  5. Rimmer only played about 10 minutes in ’82 and was an unused sub in ’68. A bit like claiming Mustafi is a World Cup winner; he was injured in the group stage, I think, and never played again.

    Damn right about Szcz though. Two years on loan was enough of a punishment for the fags.

  6. Bob Wilson was very good. The last of the “amateur” goalkeepers.

    Stand out memories? Both from the first Double season.

    Taking the ball off George Best’s feet without him even knowing that Bob had pinched it and getting beaten at the near post by Steve Heighway in the FA Cup Final.

  7. I love Goalkeepers.
    Greats like Gordon Banks and Lev Yashin will always be remembered but I loved Dino Zoff, Neville Southall, Joel Bats, Bodo Illgner and later, Andoni Zubizarreta.
    I also remember the absolute monster that was Harald Schumacher and his attempted murder of Battiston in ’82.

    Having said that, the very best I’ve watched up close over an extended period has to be Seaman.
    “Safe Hands” was my absolute favourite.

    Contrary to what you believe, YW, there are quite a number of good keepers out there.
    Sergio Rico from Sevilla, Alban Lafont from Toulouse, Timo Horn from Cologne are just a few of the up and coming goalies we could take a punt on.
    We also have Matt Macey who needs to be given a chance as Emi Martinez may never make it at the highest level.

  8. Saw Jim Furnell play many times too.

    More often for Argyle than Arsenal. Very popular he was too. Gruff, no nonsense sort of keeper. Competent and reliable more than outstanding.

  9. Speaking of GK’s, last year the signs were there that Cech was fading and Ospina was nothing more than a quality back-up yet we sold Szczesny for what………

    Yup its crazy how we had a young GK who had spent 2 years on loan and was BRILLIANT and rated only behind Buffon by all those who watch Serie A(Alisson was actually rated behind Szczesny and Roma kept him over Szczesny because he was already on the books and was highly rated himself) and now we are left in a pinch. I do think if Macey got a chance similar to Butland and Pickford he will show his quality and he is a big commanding athletic GK.

    Sorry Yogi, I disagree with you, I think with a proper manager Mustafi could find consistency but I do agree, it makes absolutely bo sense selling Bellerin. Again, people want our squad to be filled with quality yet were willing to sell Bellerin and then replace him with less quality? The other thing is, if we sell him for 40m, we then sign somebody for say 15-20m transfer fee and a contract of say 90k/wk on a 3 year deal which works out to another 14m and the total deal us 29-34m and Arsenal net 6m which buys what? Again, makes ni fucking sense.

  10. Great post yogi.

    I have to admit that you and C and Andy may have been right about Wojo. Wojo was poor for his 5 years in our goal for us and I understand why Arsene sold him. He was not going to be our number 1 GK this season and he only had 1 year left on his contract and he was on a big wage and we needed to dump wages so why pay a huge wage for a back up GK?. At the time we sold him I assumed Arsene would be the manager for at least a couple more seasons I suspect that Wojo probably would have played out the last year of his contract and left on the free if Arsene had not been sacked. However Arsene leaving changes everything from that stand point

  11. C

    You make 2 mistakes when you talk about Bellerin in the last paragraph of your comment. I suspect any new player would be on equal or may be even lower wages then Hector so keeping him would not be a wage savings. The other issue is the idea that Hector is high quality. You could argue that he has potential but as we know unfullfilled potential is extremely common and he certainly has not played anything like a World class RB for the last 2 seasons and the hope that he will live up to lofty expectations is a huge gamble at best. There is no reason to think that we could not buy someone just as good for a lot less then $40-50M.

  12. I see that the Torygraph are claiming that AFC are looking for a cheaper ‘head coach’ rather than a more expensive ‘manager’ who they claim will be tasked with getting the best out of the existing squad and developing young talent. Hopefully that’s a load of old b*llocks but you wouldn’t rule it out either. For the seventh richest club in the world (ahead of both PSG and Chelsea in turns of income) we don’t half act like skinflints.

  13. From F365 (just to enrage a few of the regulars):

    As Arsenal scramble and trip over themselves to cede to Jack Wilshere’s wage demands, there are considerably more pressing contract matters lurking on the horizon. By the end of the season, Aaron Ramsey will have 12 months remaining on his current deal, and clubs throughout Europe will naturally sit up and take notice. This is a 27-year-old who has improved his game this campaign, marrying his natural timing and skill with greater tactical discipline and consistency. “The next manager should build this team around Aaron Ramsey – he’s a clear standout player,” said Freddie Ljungberg last month, and it’s hard to disagree.

  14. If Liverpool can get their starting full back for $8M and we got Nacho for a about $12M. There is no reason we can’t get a good full back for $15-20. If we turn down $40-50M for Bellerin it would be the same as buying him for that price and based on the way he has played for the last couple of years would be crazy thinking.

  15. Obviously everything changes with the Bellerin discussion if the rumors about a $50M transfer fee are rubbish. I don’t think we should sell him if the actual fee is closer to $20M.

  16. Andy

    Realistically we only need to have 2 out of Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Ramsey and Wilshere. For a club that is talking about cutting expenses keeping 3-4 high wage #10’s is clearly overkill. No way we can offload Ozil or Mkhitaryan because of their wages so we certainly can’t keep both Ramsey and Wilshere. Ramsey is clearly the more important of those 2. IMO.

  17. 50m For Bellybutton! I’d bite your hand off. Bill is right. We could replace him for around 15 m if we shop smart. Anything less than 25m and he stays. Maybe with some actual coaching he will develop into a good defender.

  18. Szchz was “poor for us”. Really Golden Glove one year and a very good shot stopper, now top at Juve.

    Get real.
    Ospina never good enough, put Macey in for last games and Cech for Thursday, if the Arsenal are to have a hope.

  19. Bill,

    Again though, your talking about Bellerin as currently stands who has shown loads of potential and if Juve and Barca are willing to spend money to get him then CLEARLY its not just me who sees him as high quality is it? Here’s the question, why not keep him and see if the new man can iron out what he needs ironing out especially since he is still JUST turned 23 in March of this year? Lee Dixon who knows a shit ton more than we do constantly talks about Bellerin have all the qualities but just needs coaching….we all know Arsene gives a rats ass about defending so maybe just maybe the nee man and his staff will help similar to all the players. I mean the same thing was being said about Ox and to his credit he has shown more for Liverpool after being coached up.

  20. Bill,

    I think that everyone knows my thoughts on Ozil’s new contract. Eighteen million GBP per annum was a colossal mistake. Some promising signs from Mkhi but again a gamble at ten million a year. Poor wage management will be another curse that AW leaves behind and it will handicap our next coach/manager. When a big club like AFC cannot compete in the market for top players then you have to look at where the money has been invested and ask if we have got value for money. When we pay big bucks that aren’t earned to a few players it’s no wonder that others will want their slice of the pie too.

  21. C

    I think its unlikely Bellerin will ever fullfill the potential you see in him. I would agree that a new manager might turn him into a better defender but in order to justify a $50M RB fullback he needs to be world class on both ends of the pitch and Hector’s ability to have an impact on the attacking end has clearly hit a plateau that is not as high as we hoped and desision making and producing end product are not something you can teach.

    For a team like Arsenal which claims to be short on cash the importance of making good decisions with resources is much more critical then for Man City or Barca. We have so many needs but one thing we don’t need a $50M fullback to be successful. There are only 1-2 $50M fullbacks in all of world football. Fullback is probably one of the last positions that we need to be matching the worlds highest transfer fees and wages because we can get players who are plenty good enough for a lot less money.

  22. On the question of Goalkeepers, surprised no-one mentioned Pat Jennings . . a real gentleman and great keeper!

  23. All positions on the pitch are important but if we are going to stretch the budget on any position I would rather we do that on a DM or CB rather then a fullback. I think good fullbacks are generally one the least expensive positions to fill.

  24. Bill,

    Why is it unlikely, he is ONLY JUST TURNED 23, most futbolers are just breaking into their first team and starting to scratch the surface at that age FFS. Clearly if clubs like Barca and Juve are wanting you they must see something or are we now just saying they buy anybody? Again, your talking as if Arsene is going to be managing him for the rest of his career, we saw what Keown did and then Keown left and that same group of defenders went to shit…think about that for a minute.

    We all know Arsenal are not short on cash just look at what has taken place. If you think you can just find a quality RB in a World Cup summer then fine, go ahead but if your talking about wanting to also sign a GK, CB, DM possibly a CM then adding RB to that, your fucking mad especially since we have one with LOADS of potential who by all accounts from players like Keown and Dixon (who know a thing or two about defending) just needs to be coached up then be my guess but to me it makes no fucking sense.

    Lets just agree to disagree like we did last summer when you wanted to keep Cech and sell Szczesny

  25. The chuckle brothers 2: chuckles in Madrid , wonder what horrors await us tomorrow fellas. I do think we can turn up and pull off the W but it all depends. Will our soft backside continue to leak or will we clench er up and hold tight. Thanks for the post, and good discussion all up the gooners

  26. C
    if clubs like Barca and Juve are wanting you they must see something or are we now just saying they buy anybody?

    Vermaelen, Song, Hleb?

  27. Me personally I like my defenders to be able to defend. Their attacking quality is a bonus if they are solid defenders.
    I haven’t honestly see enough quality on Bellerin from an attacking or defensive side.
    Anything over 25m and goodbye.

  28. Bill,

    Why do you think FB’s are inexpensive? Outside of Robertson(whose team got relegated which is why the fee was so low) name another quality FB who went for cheap on a top 4 side?

  29. C @ 4:43


    Why is it unlikely, he is ONLY JUST TURNED 23, most futbolers are just breaking into their first team and starting to scratch the surface at that age FFS.”

    How do you ignore the fact that none of the dozens and dozens of u21 players we have disagreed about over the years has actually reached the potential that you had expected. Can you even think of 1 who has?

  30. Pistolfish,

    Hleb wasn’t a bad player by any stretch of the imagination. Song moved to early and he was NEVER going to really make it at Barca because Busquets is and has been by far the best DM in Europe since Pep brought him up and Verm is always injured so he barely registers as an Arsenal player.

    You can teach players to be able to defend especially those that are young(Bellerin again JUST turned 23 in March) and have shown an ability to do so but like with any player especially young players, they need coaching. If we all agree that Arsene can’t and doesn’t teach defending then how can we judge a player especially a young player?

    Its like Mustafi before he came to Arsenal he was a quality and was one of the highly rated CB’s in La Liga and for Germany yet he came here and somethings needed to be ironed out for him to progress and now, he struggles but with no one to coach him up he looks like a mess at times. Yet Gabriel who most thought was shit has turned into a rock and is considered one of the best signings in La Liga this year. Gibbs became a better defender and Le Coq was sublime at both CN and DM before his injury. Coincidence, I don’t think so.

  31. JD Gooner,

    Me too.

    My personal favorite in th GK history.

    Traversed the 7 sisters but was still loved by both clubs – that’s something exceptional!

  32. Bill,

    Again mate, your missing my 2 biggest points:1. Bellerin is ONLY 23 (you bang on about sending players on loan at this age) and 2 of the biggest clubs who are consistently vying for or winning their league and CL want him and have for the past 2 seasons and 2. Arsene is leaving and literally changes EVERYTHING when it comes to defenders and players especially young players.

    How many of our young players have been wanted by big clubs? Afobe was never a Madrid option and if you believe that you’ve had one to many. Szczesny is clearly on his way and lets be honest, he won the Golden Gloves, smoked a cigarette then got banished to Serie A were he was BRILLIANT and some of the others might have been talented but didn’t simply get the coaching or make it. Bellerin has already showed and sure he has pleatued but its because he needs coaching.

    This is going nowhere so lets just agree to disagree cauze I’m sure if you werw a Chelsea player you would have said that De Bruyne and Salah(funny that he was at Basel and not many wanted him until he finally got a chance and still had shit end product for quite some time) were shit, or if you were a Barca supporter you would have said Pique was shit because he flopped in the PL because everybody else flopped…

  33. Hleb wasn’t a bad player by any stretch of the imagination. Song moved to early and he was NEVER going to really make it at Barca because Busquets is and has been by far the best DM in Europe since Pep brought him up and Verm is always injured so he barely registers as an Arsenal player.

    Starnge That Barcelona never picked up on any of that. I mean if were using them as an example as to top top scouting. Not looking very good.

  34. C

    The point is we chronically over rate our own players. Hector needs to be one of the worlds 4-5 best fullbacks to justify $45-50M price tag and based on 2 full years of evidence he is not at that level on either end of the pitch. We can’t afford to over pay for potential when it is at least 50/50 or more to go unfulfilled

  35. Man city spent crazy money for Kyle walker. I don’t know who ManU has purchased as fullbacks but I know Spurs Chelsea and Liverpool have not spent big money on fullbacks and those 3 are more in line with us

  36. liverpools counterattacking is devastating. I can’t remember a team that turns defense to attack so quickly. I wish we would abandon our obsession with technical skill and ball possession and focus more on counterattacking.

    A few minutes later They give up an own goal and now it’s 1-1

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