A Year In Goalkeeping - 2020
It is pretty difficult to pinpoint many positives from 2020 and rather than reflect on the past year we would very much prefer to look ahead to what we hope is a more normal year.
However, it would be remiss of us not to acknowledge the achievements of the Goalkeeper’s Union from the previous twelve months, so here is our review of 2020.
There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and Atlético Madrid having a world-class ‘keeper between the sticks.
Jan Oblak has been a stalwart in Diego Simeone’s side for around seven seasons since Thibaut Courtois finished his loan spell and this year in particular Oblak has been a pivotal part of Atleti’s formidable backline.
From the restart of La Liga, Atletico went unbeaten and conceded just six times which has continued into this season. They have lost just once so far this campaign with Oblak shipping only five goals and their impenetrable defence has given them a superb chance of a second title in seven years.
Oblak finished third behind Manuel Neuer and Alisson Becker in the FIFA Men’s Goalkeeping 2020 award, but it could be argued his start to the 2020/21 season has trumped that of the aforementioned and could claim the prestigious award in 2021, should he continue this trajectory.
The most expensive goalkeeper of all time, no one could have foreseen capitulation Kepa has suffered at Stamford Bridge this year.
In the 2019/20 season the £80 million man had a save ratio of around 56%, the worst of any goalkeeper in the Premier League, and after a disastrous start to this campaign Frank Lampard moved to bring in Edouard Mendy from Rennes which relegated Kepa to a place on the bench.
Although the arrival of Mendy has taken the Spain international out of the firing line, it has cast serious doubt over his future at the club and Kepa may look to put his turbulent Chelsea career behind him, but that may depend on how big a financial hit the club are willing to take.
Few have had better a better 2020 than Emiliano Martine, who has elevated himself into the upper echelons of the Premier League’s goalkeeping elite from what was relative wilderness.
Prior to the post-Covid restart in June, Martinez had made just two league appearances for Arsenal in nine seasons, with several loan spells in the interim. An injury to Bernt Leno in the first match after the restart gave the Argentinian his opportunity, which he seized with both hands.
An FA Cup winners’ medal later, Martinez was sold to Villa upon the return of Bernt Leno at The Emirates, where he has continued to excel as part of Dean Smith’s overachieving side who go into the new year fifth in the Premier League table. Having joined for £15 million in the summer, it looks to have been a shrewd bit of business for Villa.
2020 has been a year of unprecedented success for Martinez and despite his late blooming, at twenty-eight he has time on his side, with a potential World Cup to look forward to in 2022.
Whilst many kit manufacturers have subtly integrated 90’s style designs into their goalkeeper shirts, Hummel’s multi-coloured lattice pattern has gone full throttle in paying homage to the finest era in football attire.
Although colour scheme is similar to that of a light up dancefloor from the 1970’s, David Bentley’s shirt is seemingly inspired by the shirt worn by Peter Schmeichel in Denmark’s Euro ‘92 triumph, also manufactured by Hummel.
The Robins in fact released an even more garish pink and pastille coloured away goalkeeper shirt that Jorge Campos would have been proud of. However, the classic touch from this shirt with a contrasting, yet strangely complimentary classic black sleeves.