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Fraser Forster ! His Confidence Is Restored.
Monday, 2nd Oct 2017 08:00

Fraser Forster came under fire last season and this season has also felt the brunt of Saints fans rage, however he has now proved that form is temporary and class is permanent.

When Fraser Forster's form started to drop in the second half of last season, many Saints fans were quick to jump on his back without really considering what any good keeper needs to show his true worth and that is a solid defence in front of him.

Forster's drop in form coincided with the final days of Jose Fonte at the club as well as the injury to Virgil Van Dijk, that meant that the central defensive pairing in front of him was arguably the weakest in the Premier League and as much as both Yoshida and Stephens gave 100% they were often found lacking and too many times left players with free chances in front of goal.

That was the case at Wembley when United's winner in the final minutes came when Ibrahimovic had a free header 7 yards out, there were many quick to blame Forster rather than the player who should have been picking him up.

That continued at the start of this season there were those who were literally ready to blame Forster for each and every Saints goal.

But they were being unfair, Forster was playing well as was shown by a clean sheet at Huddersfield and a great save against West Ham when he kept out a close range free header from Antonio although he could not do much about the rebound being thrashed home.

The arrival of Wesley Hoedt changed things, the defence looked better organised and this meant that Forster could concentrate on his own job rather than worry about his defence.

Against Crystal Palace Forster was outstanding and made two great saves, against Man Utd he did brilliantly to stop Lukaku's initial header but could do nothing with the rebound.

At Stoke City Forster was Saints man of the match especially in the first half, he made a string of great stops including a penalty save and looked very much back to his best.

But in these last three games it has been about more than just making saves, it has been about how he has conducted himself in doing the basic things that constitute 90% of a goalkeepers work, but are the most overlooked by the average fan who just judges a keeper on saves.

Forster has looked a lot better in commanding his box, coming and dealing with balls into the box and crosses, part of this is he now knows what his defenders are going to deal with and what they are not,that gives him confidence to do what he does well.

Antti Niemi is a good example of why you need to have an understanding with your defenders, Niemi was small in stature for a keeper, he was protected by his central defenders on crosses, they knew what he would come for and what he would not and it was a good partership.

In the second half of last season Saints lost the organisation in the back four, Yoshida is a 100% player, but he is not a leader of men or organiser, he is at his best when he plays alongside someone who talks him through a game and marshalls the defence, Stephens was not an organiser and he did not have the experience.

That meant that the two central defenders were not a good partnership in the second half of last season, they did not compliment each other and this meant that too often either they would both go for the same ball or even worse neither do so as was the case at the aforementioned winning goal at Wembley.

This is not good for any keeper, it means that suddenly they are having to go for balls that are really not theirs, they have to do so because the opponent has lost his man and the keeper has to do something, when he fails due to no fault of his own, many are quick to point the finger at him, although the truth is it is more about the error made further up the field.

This affects a keepers confidence, this position more than any other needs that !

The arrival of Hoedt sorted something out and meant that Forster can now concentrate on his on job rather than have to worry about others and have a starting position that has one eye on having to dash off his line because someone has left his man unmarked.

Hopefully now Fraser Forster can continue his career at Saints and people will get off his back and give him the chance to show that form is temporary and class permanent, even though it is down to injury his return to the England squad will boost him and that can only be good for Saints.

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skiptonsaint added 08:14 - Oct 2
Put in a great 1st half shift right in front of the saints fans who were shouting encouragement through the whole match. Should be clear to FF the fans are back on his side.

AirFlorida added 08:40 - Oct 2
We should encourage our top players to have an off season (like forster last year): it keeps thier agents in check and the big clubs from swooping. However, I declare Redmond's sabbatical over and welcome his agent and Liverpool to the table.. 😉

SanMarco added 09:14 - Oct 2
Hopefully FF has turned the corner (and will now save all those low shots into the corner). MP now has to turn a corner of his own - I think playing Gabbi and not playing Redmond will probably be part of the recipe.

PS Anyone else devastated over the Koeman sack rumours????

larry12 added 09:53 - Oct 2
I watched a different Saints match on Saturday where FF was like a floundering 3 legged elephant for the second goal. I see the word hope is being used when describing this pitiful excuse of a goalie.

Whatsforpud added 10:47 - Oct 2
Nick, I haven't got your confidence in Forster. Didn't see the Stoke game, but understand he put on a better show. However, generally, he wont come for crosses unless they are pretty well under his bar. He is a good point-blank blocker, but is inclined to push the ball out rather than catching it. He has a problem getting down quick enough for those low wide shots, whereas a shorter, more agile keeper would.
Also he takes far too long deciding what to do with the ball when he has it at his feet, and in the end often passes to a marked defender.

bstokesaint added 13:15 - Oct 2
I'm as disappointed as any other Saints' fan as it feels already like this season is one to forget. Once we're out of the FA Cup then we could even be playing for PL safety (the stats say that as opposed to this just being a rash opinion). I think it's a bit unfair to put that on Fraser. I'm hardly surprised his confidence is lacking, because I'd feel the same if I saw the chaos in front of me week in, week out. The 'football' we are currently playing is awful. The whole of the PL seems to be enveloped by the fear to go for a win and just dominate possession instead. I really think we need to break from the trend and go for wins. The Untouchables Arsenal side didn't give a cr@p about getting caught going forward. It was a pleasure to watch as well. It feels like we're scared to play now.

DPeps added 13:28 - Oct 2
Marco - I did chuckle about the Koeman rumour.
Having said that, I’d dispense with all my morals and welcome Koeman back if it meant an end to the purgatory we’ve been experiencing since he was boss!

LondonSaint added 22:41 - Oct 2
I really appreciate how much of your time this site must take up, and I love reading the articles and comments but I challenge your next post not to include any mention of Yoshida - it's becoming an obsession!

halftimeorange added 23:40 - Oct 2
Is it just me or have we seen a succession of promising or competent goalkeepers suddenly fall apart at Saints? Gazzaniga was the most recent before Forster. Anyone remember Bart? Remember Smith? Even Kelvin and Boruc, although Artur had a big enough personality to overcome his stutters - and then we got rid. And none of them seemed to be able to throw the ball out quickly or kick anywhere other than too long or out of touch. Has the coaching ever been seriously questioned? Makes you wonder.

davepid added 10:09 - Oct 3
Spot on halftimeorange. That Kelvin didn't grow in coming for crosses, straight kicking of the ball or ever show any signs that he spoke to any of his defenders has to be a coaching responsibility.

Thanks too for mentioning him as it reminds me of his fantastic performance at Leeds in our Championship year.

Chesham_Saint added 19:20 - Oct 4
Straight kicking of the ball you say? I distinctly remember the great Peter Shilton constantly slapping his thigh in frustration as (from the Milton end) he launched yet another drop kick into the West Stand just short of the half way line.

Get off Forster's back, FFS. Its not like finding a quality keeper is easy.

SaintBrock added 11:21 - Oct 5
Who'd be a footballer eh with our so-called fan base, one day you're a hero the next day zero.

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