Coral’s Premier League awards 2014/15: Goalkeeper of the Season
It’s awards season, and we at Coral are holding our own as the Premier League campaign approaches the run-in.
We’ve seen superb signings shine and homegrown heroes hailed this term, and there will be several categories, though players can only be nominated in a maximum of two to ensure everyone a fair crack.
Next up is our Goalkeeper of the Season Award. Coral’s football experts have come together and nominated the subsequent sensational stoppers for their wonderful work between the sticks.
The Premier League is known for its exciting surprises throughout the course of a season, with newly-promoted clubs often causing shocks to the regular top-flight sides, and usual mid-table outfits jolting into life to reach an unexpected European place.
Although, despite many rises to prominence in England’s top tier, nobody could have predicted the rampant run that Ronald Koeman’s Southampton have enjoyed, having only been promoted from the Championship in 2012.
At the forefront of the Saints’ success, or rather, on the last line of defence, has been sublime stopper Fraser Forster. The former Celtic goalkeeper has helped steer his courageous South Coast club to the reaches of a Europa League position, having also incredibly spent time in a Champions League place earlier this term.
Having made 30 domestic league appearances and overseeing his side concede only 22 goals before his recent injury, the best defensive record in the league, Forster is undoubtedly worthy of his recent international call-ups for England.
Despite starring all season for the Saints, the Englishman’s campaign ended disappointingly, after picking up an injury which potentially rules him out for up to a year. His current employers are a 14/1 chance to secure a top four finish without his services for the season run-in.
Dutch boss Koeman faces a daunting task of finding a suitable replacement for his often-unstoppable shot stopper, with Forster having played a starring role in his side’s unexpectedly sublime season.
Watch Forster put on a goalkeeping master class against Arsenal at the Emirates last December.
David De Gea
Following such a torrid term under David Moyes, and briefly Ryan Giggs, many expected Louis van Gaal’s reign as Manchester United manager to go down a similarly lacklustre path.
Although Old Trafford’s Dutch boss has managed to get the best out of several previously underwhelming performers, while other new signings have faltered, sensational Spain international stopper De Gea has been a dominant and ever-present figure at the heart of United’s backline.
The Red Devils surprisingly boast the second best defensive record within the top six clubs, with their superb Spaniard being the key aspect of such an impressive standing. With league leaders Chelsea obtaining a regularly strong backline, Thibaut Courtois has had potent protection in front of his goal-mouth, whereas De Gea has had no such luxury.
Constantly playing behind an interchanging defence, United’s crucial number one has literally rescued his side from the brink of defeat on countless occasions, making incredibly rapid reflex saves to deny opposition from breaching his net.
Former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson once stated that “a great goalkeeper is worth 15 points over the course of a season,” and De Gea has been the embodiment of that statement this term.
Watch highlights of De Gea’s incredible man of the match performance against Everton last October.
Similar to De Gea with his heroic last-ditch saves, Tottenham’s terrific number one Lloris has been a saving grace for Mauricio Pochettino’s European hopefuls, and they are 14/1 to claim a top four finish this season.
Spurs boast one of the most sought-after goalkeepers from around Europe in their ranks, with clubs such as PSG and Real Madrid currently circling for his signature this summer. That could be a disastrous piece of business for the London outfit, with Lloris having been a star turn at White Hart Lane over the past nine months.
Without the fantastic Frenchman in their starting line-up, Tottenham could have endured a torrid term, with Pochettino’s men having already conceded 45 league goals, despite the best efforts of Lloris.
The France international number one has been a constant figure for Tottenham this season and, without his acrobatic displays between the sticks this season, Tottenham may have found themselves in mid-table obscurity rather than chasing a European spot.
Watch Lloris make a sublime save to deny Manchester United’s Ashley Young from scoring in a Premier League clash last year.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has had two world class goalkeepers to choose from during the course of the current campaign, a term which has seen his side climb to a superior spot at the table’s summit.
However, it is brilliant Belgian Courtois who has been a key figure in the Blues’ number one role, rather than Petr Cech, helping his side secure the best shut-out record within the Premier League’s top six clubs.
Atletico Madrid reaped the rewards of Courtois’ sublime defensive efforts last season, famously winning La Liga and reaching an all-Spanish Champions League final, but Mourinho chose to show faith in his 22-year-old at the beginning of this term, a decision which has been vital to Chelsea’s title ambitions.
At such a young age and, having been a star figure in his maiden campaign in England’s top tier, the Belgian stopper could potentially be between the Stamford Bridge sticks for the next decade, making him a credible case to win our award.
Watch Courtois make a terrific triple save to deny Hull City at the KC Stadium in a Premier League encounter earlier this year.
Swansea City have enjoyed a successful season under Garry Monk, and have benefited immensely from the potent performances of Polish shot stopper Fabianski. The Arsenal reject was offloaded by Arsene Wenger last summer, following a decline in form and confidence, but he has looked a completely different player this term.
Having featured in 30 top-flight games for Monk’s impressive Swans, the reliable Pole has played a vital role in Swansea’s climb to eighth position, with his dynamic displays at the Liberty Stadium.
It seems Fabianski only needed regular action to reach his goalkeeping potential, having made just two league appearances less for the Welsh club this term than he did during a seven year spell in London. The crucial Poland international has been a rejuvenated stopper this term and his outstanding outings in a successful season for Swansea would make him a worthy winner of our award, with Monk’s men now odds-on 1/14 for a top 10 finish.
Watch highlights of Fabianski’s impressive season so far between the sticks for Swansea City.