Players of the Year 2012/13: Top 5 Goalkeepers In The Premier League This Season
With the current campaign drawing to a close, Tom Gatehouse chooses the best 5 goalkeepers in the Premier League this season together with video evidence.
A goalkeeper’s job is all about sacrifice. One week he is the hero, the next, the unconditional villain. He is the last line of defence, the man charged with using every part of his body to save his team. And while credit is given to goalkeepers, their weekly plight is unique on a footballing level. Every player makes mistakes, but for a goalkeeper, one mistake may cost his side 3 points, a higher place in the table, and sometimes even a championship or trophy.
There are many good keepers in the English Top Flight; keepers with often unique abilities between the sticks, although their job description is identical. Liverpool’s Pepe Reina, for example, employs boundless energy into his game; where Joe Hart uses his strength and leadership qualities. But, despite their attributes, and their team’s style of play, a goalkeeper’s home is between the sticks, with only a pair of gloves to aid them in their duties. It’s a tough gig, and most of them play superbly, especially the following five.
Part one of the ‘Players of the Year 2012/13’ is for the ‘keepers. See if you agree with my list:
5. Jussi Jaaskelainen, West Ham
The number five spot goes to the evergreen Finn, who has had a wonderful season for West Ham, helping them to a current 10th position in the league, and with it, precious Premier League security.
The longest serving player in the Premier League, Jaaskelainen has endured sixteen years of relegation scraps with the teams he has turned out for, and he will have been glad to have had a season of relative comfort. With eleven clean sheets this season, that comfort has been largely down the 38-year-old’s solid displays in the Hammers’ goal.
It has been confirmed that Jaaskelainen will be staying at West Ham beyond the current campaign, and that news if sure to please West Ham fans everywhere!
4. Petr Cech, Chelsea
The giant Czech has certainly had a rough ride since his debut way back in 2004. Thrust into the limelight by former (and possibly new) boss, Jose Mourinho, Cech’s displays for Chelsea brought many to place him in the top three goalkeepers in the world alongside Buffon and Casillas.
Then came the horrible clash with then-Reading midfielder, Stephen Hunt, which left Cech needing the now trademark helmet for protection. The years that followed were full of uncertainty for the big man, with his performances questioned by even the most faithful of Chelsea supporter.
But this season, Petr Cech has come back in a big way. Following his heroics in the Champions League the previous season, he has kept momentum, displaying his talents in full force. An unbelievable save from Utd striker Javier Hernandez typified his season, which has seen him help the Blues to a Europa League final and currently 3rd place in the League. His clean sheet record is second best in the league, with fourteen to his name.
Now 30, still relatively young for a keeper, a betting man would wager that Cech continues his recovery, and regains his place at the top of the people’s list of world keepers very soon.
3. Simon Mignolet, Sunderland
Yet another player to add to the ever growing roster of fine Belgian talent to emerge in the Premier League, Mignolet has shown this season why he is one of the most desired keepers in the business.
Despite Sunderland’s poor season, the 6’3 keeper has shown his worth, pulling off outstanding saves and a number of composed performances. He has eleven clean sheets this season, and will be absolutely crucial if the Black Cats are to stave off relegation.
But if even if Sunderland survive the drop, new boss Paulo Di Canio will have a hard time keeping his man, with the likes of Man Utd and Arsenal watching Mignolet closely as he continues his remarkable season.
2. Asmir Begovic, Stoke City
Rolling in at number two is Stoke’s brilliant Bosnian, Asmir Begovic. Having been thrown around the lower divisions during his time with Portsmouth, Begovic has now finally found a place to call home: nestled deep within the sturdy backline of Tony Pulis’ Stoke side.
Only 25, and with 12 clean sheets to his name, it is no wonder the biggest clubs around have been seen hovering overhead, eyeing up Stoke’s prize keeper.
Although Stoke have been flirting with relegation in recent months due to a slump in form, it has not halted Begovic’s rise in the opinions of fans and pundits alike. He has certainly cemented his place as one of the best goalkeepers in the league.
1. David De Gea, Manchester United
The young Spaniard is a worthy winner of this poll due to some quite unbelievable performances domestically and in Europe this season.
With the agility of a squirrel, and the speed of a meerkat, David De Gea has been arguably the most spectacular keeper in the English top flight this year. The 23-year-old has come of age this year, after an unconvincing first season following his big money move from Atletico Madrid last season.
Comfortable with saving shots with almost every part of his body, David De Gea has been named the PFA’s Goalkeeper of the year, and there will be few who would argue against that. Helping the Red Devils to yet another Premier League title with his eleven clean sheets, stunning reflex saves, and newfound consistency, De Gea has the time to get even better. Watch this space.
Extra Time: The Pitfalls of being a Keeper
It isn’t the easiest job!
Agree with my list? Who’s been your goalkeeper of the season? Share your views in the comments section below.
Follow me on Twitter: @tragatehouse – Check out my Blog: http://goodbadribery.blogspot.co.uk/
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