Don't Look Back In Anger?
Last week we looked at three goalkeepers we identified back at the start of 2020 as having an exciting year in store, which had been skewed somewhat by a certain global pandemic.
You will be hard pressed to find anyone who will look back on 2020 with much fondness, but taking the positives there is always someone worse off. With that in mind here are three goalkeepers who will really really want to see the back of this wretched year.
A Champions League start against Krasnodar aside, the signing of Edouard Mendy has relegated Kepa to the Stamford Bridge bench, probably to the Spaniard's relief after a shocking start to the season.
The £70 million ‘keeper joined of course with lofty expectations on his shoulders after moving from Atheltico Bilbao in the summer of 2018 in a remedy to Chelsea’s goalkeeping issues faced since Petr Cech’s departure.
Kepa didn't start too badly under the management of Maurizio Sarri, until a spat in the League Cup final where he refused to be replaced by Willy Caballero ahead of a penalty shoot-out, completely undermining the authority of the tobacco-chewing Italian manager.
Nevertheless, Kepa was still a constant as Chelsea finished 3rd but 2019/20 was a different story and under Frank Lampard the Spain international has been a clear weak link in the Blues side. Kepa had a save percentage of just 50% last season, the worst in the Premier League by some distance.
Edouard Mendy was signed in the summer as Kepa brought his poor form into the start of the 2020/21 campaign and has wisely been taken out of the limelight. It remains to be seen whether Mendy has been brought in for the purpose of a reprieve for Kepa, or whether this is a longer-term solution. If so, the latter will surely be looking for a move to end his miserable Chelsea spell.
Unfortunately for Adrian, Liverpool’s big money goalkeeper has been a resounding success, but the former West Ham man has fluffed many of the chances he was given in 2020.
Adrian debutised for Allison at the start of the 2019/20 to which he performed solidly and was perhaps even hardly done by being dropped when the Brazilian was brought back into the team upon his return, but in one of Liverpool’s most important games last season with the title pretty much in the bag, Adrian had a torrid night as they were beaten 3-2 by Ateltico Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16.
A dreadful clearance straight to Atletico substitute Marcos Llorente resulted in him putting the Spanish side ahead in extra-time, and the inevitable attacking onslaught that followed left Liverpool wide open, eventually losing the game 3-2 and 4-2 on aggregate.
An ill-fated match that was in fact Liverpool’s last before the Covid suspension and Adrian did start a Premier League game in a 2-1 win against Bournemouth but following another injury to Alisson in October Adrian enjoyed a less successful short stint in the Liverpool goal.
The thirty-three-year-old played in Liverpool’s record Premier League defeat, falling 7-2 to Aston Villa an unwanted entry into the record book for Adrian.
Followed was an improved, albeit still unconvincing performance in the Merseyside derby as Liverpool twice threw the lead in a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
In Liverpool’s last game, young Irish ‘keeper Caoimhin Kelleher took the gloves when Alisson was again ruled out, with Adrian left on the bench. The signs are not particularly good for Adrian and Liverpool may look to move him on.
Tom Heaton has endured a miserable 2020 from its very first day, through no fault of his own. Heaton suffered a horrific cruciate ligament injury away to his former club Burnley on New Year's Day and has not been in Aston Villa’s matchday squad since.
Villa did survive on the final day of the 2019/20 campaign, but were burdened by a shaky defense, which included a lack of goalkeeping options following the England international’s injury.
Dean Smith has seemingly amended his goalkeeping issues with the signing of Emilano Martinez from Arsenal, and when fit Heaton will have a job on his hands if he wants to be the number one yet again at Villa Park.
One saving grace for Heaton this year was the delay of Euro 2020 which he still has an outside chance of making as one of Gareth Southgate’s three goalkeepers, but will have to enjoy a fantastic 2021 and regain the number one at Villa.
Heaton has played twice for the under-23 side recently on his recovery, and at the very least ends 2020 on a postive note.