Football 11/12: The Goalkeeping Error Problem

When a forward makes a mistake, he may miss a great chance to score.

When a midfielder makes a mistake, he may give away possession, or fail to find an attacker with a pass.

When a defender makes a mistake, he may give away a foul, give the other team a chance at goal.

When a goalkeeper makes a mistake, he usually concedes a goal.

Notice the chasm of difference between the first three and the last one?

Goalkeepers are in that awful position of never really being able to get away with anything, as we see recently with David De Gea, off to a Taibi-esque start for Manchester United. It’s a frustrating job, where the best you can do at the end of the day is stop the other team from scoring. You may perform that job to an excellent degree, but often it will be overlooked depending on how many goals your team scores.

On the other hand, if you lose, you must have been at fault in some way, even if it is just minor. There is always a way for keepers to stop a goal, in hindsight, whether its simply taking a step to the right during the build-up to a shot.

So, give De Gea some peace. He’ll make more mistakes in the future and is getting used to the EPL, a far more competitive league then Spain.

De Gea, in that most terrible of footballing positions, is learning the harsh facts that he is, in the short-term, more notable for what he fails to do then what he does.

Try to remember goalkeepers for what they succeed in doing, or at least try to imagine yourself in a position where the slightest mistimed jump, a step mispositioned, results in millions of people screaming for your blood.

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