Premier League 2011/12 GK Preview: Tottenham


Brad Friedel

1st Team Squad Goalkeepers: Brad Friedel, Carlo Cudicini, Heurehlo Gomes, Ben Alnwick

Overview: Snapping up Brad Friedel on a free was hailed as a bit of a coup for Tottenham. With time catching up on the American, he’s clearly not the long-term solution, but any signing that limits the possibility of Heurehlo Gomes seeing much in the way of playing time is something that will sit well with Spurs fans. Friedel has been an excellent addition to the Premier League and he still has something to give, but last season I felt for the first time he was beginning to look his age. The razor-sharp reflexes are still there, his hands are still trustworthy and his unrelenting bravery remains constant, but at times I felt his legs lacked the power we’re used to seeing. He looked sluggish coming off his line and at times a little rigid. He’s obviously not in the prime of youth, but he’s still a better option than the Brazilian for this season at least.

Carlo Cudicini is an interesting and at times frustrating case. His talent is undoubted, but when Petr Cech arrived at Chelsea, he seemed a little too comfortable with playing second fiddle. He spent arguably the prime of his career warming the bench at Stamford Bridge, but far from being the leash of life admirers of goalkeeping hoped it would be, his time at White Hart Lane has featured almost as many splinters. Even with Tottenham occasionally struggling to find a top class keeper, the Italian was rarely in the frame to claim the position as his own and with his 38th birthday looming, it’s again looking unlikely that he will be Harry’s first choice.

Many people would have assumed that the end of season would have brought the curtain down on Gomes’s Tottenham career, but as the off-season rolls on, talk of a move away is virtually non-existent. Harry has made the career of many a player by giving them a second or third chance, but the thought of Gomes returning for more than the odd cup game must strike Tottenham fans with utter terror. At his best, Gomes is a pleasure to watch. He’s graceful and agile and capable of reaching seemingly unstoppable shots. Sadly however, we’ve never had too long to wait before the mistakes come and the most frustrating part of the errors is the wide variety. At times it’s a bad decision to come for a cross, at others its woeful handling and then from time to time it’s a mix-up with his defenders. It’s hard to coach them out of his game, because they seem to mistakes stemming from a lack of concentration or an inability to focus. We’ve seen him times to know he can catch a ball cleanly, so when he lets one squirm through his fingers, it has to be related to whatever is going on in that head of his. Ben Alnwich is likely to go out on loan in an attempt to see more first team action somewhere.

Worst case scenario: Tottenham have the depth to ensure that at any given time, they have the option to drop an under-performing keeper for another one of decent quality. The problem may be that despite this, none of the goalkeepers perform especially well and end up costing the team valuable points in their hunt for another go at Champions League football.

What will probably happen: Friedel will perform well with Cudicini as his able deputy and Gomes will be sold before the transfer window closes.


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