I’ve watched it plenty of times and I have to hold my hands up and admit I just don’t know what he was trying.
Was Alan Hansen paying a subtle tribute to Alan Partridge on BBC’s Carling Cup Match Of The Day or was it something more accidental? I just don’t know. Equally, I’ve been struggling to fathom just went wrong when Ben Foster allowed Carlton Cole’s weak effort to squirm across the line. The more I watch it, the less sense it seems to make – it’s like Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights all over again. After a multitude of views, I can’t really isolate one error. Normally you can pinpoint one key problem such as handling, judgement or being David James and put the error down to that, but in this case it seems to be a few things going wrong at the same time.
If you missed it, here’s footage of Foster error in all it’s gory detail.
In the first part, his footwork is terrible. At 6 or 7 seconds into the clip, you can see him scampering across his line in what looks to be a state of panic. There was no need for such panic, mainly because his starting position wasn’t bad and also because the ball is going to none other than Carlton Cole. In an instant, his footwork means he’s off-balance and in the best position to react to whatever unfolds in front of him. When the shot does come, his body weight has already gone beyond the line the ball is taking and his attempts to make a scrambled save are in vain.
In my opinion, the lack of recovery ties in with Foster’s underlying problem of just not having the most explosive legs. For those of you know picturing Wile E Coyote taking delivery of some gunpowder filled prosthetic limbs for his pursuit of the Roadrunner, allow me to elaborate. For me, Foster has superb reflexes, but when it comes to launching himself across the goal, I think he can look rather leaden-footed. For the most part, he can get away with it, but there are times when he goes for a shot and his legs just don’t give him the leverage to get a hand to the shot.
Beyond this error, it’s widely been regarded as a good season for the Birmingham number 1. He has largely played well, but some of the praise thrown at him seems a little manufactured. I’ve watched a lot this season and although he has made some excellent saves and earned Birmingham several points, a big mistake never seems to be too far away. At times his judgement and execution can be off and I’m never completely convinced by his handling. Alex McLeish has been very vocal about how well he’s been playing to the point where he has been advocating a recall to the England team, but that strikes me as being man-management from Big Eck. Foster may be one of those confidence players who needs to be talked up – Emile Heskey Syndrome is the medical term. It’s only natural he looks disconsolate after letting the goal in, but it’s just how disconsolate he looks that hints at brittle confidence. The likes of Casillas, Reina and Cech have all probably made similar errors down through the years, but they have the mental strength to shrug it off and make amends the next time.
It looks like this one may have got to Foster and it will be interesting to see how he reacts.