A goalkeeper’s role in any team is significant; as the last line of defence, it often falls on his shoulders to make key saves to keep the team in the game, or to prevent the opposition from scoring a goal that would see a shift in momentum.
While initially a goalkeeper was only expected to have exemplary shot-stopping abilities, the evolution of the game has seen a need for ‘ball-playing’ goalkeepers, and those who know how to take command of their penalty area and organise the defence to help the team. Take the example of the likes of Manuel Neuer at Bayern or Ter Stegen at Barcelona; both excel at every aspect of the goalkeeping department.
Usually, when a game is won, credit might rightly go to the goalscorers or defenders for a solid showing, while ignoring the performance of a goalkeeper entirely. But if a game is lost, then every aspect of the goals conceded is scrutinised unforgivingly with the blame falling squarely on the shoulders of the man donning the gloves.
Here, we take a moment to appreciate the men who win us some invaluable points during the course of the long season and highlight the top 5 best saves of all time.
#5 Heurelho Gomes triple save vs Bolton Wanderers (Bolton Wanderers vs Watford 2014/15)
Video credit: WatfordFCOfficial
Gomes is a keeper known for his outstanding reflexes and throwing ability, winning the Eredivisie 4 times with PSV before moving to England with Tottenham. His burgeoning reputation took a hit at White Hart Lane, with a few blunders widely criticised and performances not quite up to the standard for a team with ambitions for a Champions League spot.
A brief stint at Hoffenheim followed and he eventually left for Watford upon the expiry of his contract.
His clutch moment in his first season in the Championship came against Bolton Wanderers in February 2015. With the game evenly poised at 2-2, and a little over 20 minutes to go, Liam Feeney’s shot from outside the box was well saved by Gomes.
But with Adam Le Fondre prowling, Gomes had to be on his toes to deny the striker. The ball then fell to Zach Clough, whose drive was again saved by a sprawling Gomes, completing a hat-trick of incredible saves. Watford went on to win that game 3-4 and eventually won promotion into the Premier League.