I was skimming over various news items regarding Tottenham today, and came across one that really grated on me. It’s not the most shocking piece, nor is it that original, yet the Daily Mail are still continuing to invent new rumours regarding an “alternative” to Heurelho Gomes. It seems absurd the way that the papers are still continuing to grip on to his early season mistakes, yet even then it was clear that he was a quality keeper. He has been a significant improvement to Paul Robinson let’s not forget, who I seriously cannot remember making more than a handful of saves last season, yet the rumours persist.
Way back in November I believe, Martin Tyler produced a list of the stats of Premier League goalkeepers in his weekly column, and if im not very much mistaken, Gomes was the top of the shot-to-save ratio lists, just ahead of Shay Given. Forget about the amount of clean sheets, as that is a figure that is very much down to the strenght of the defence, but when you come down to straight saves, it is only the skill of the goalkeeper that can help out the team. Edwin Van Der Sar’s recent record of 1,311 minutes without conceding was impressive, yes, but with perhaps the best defensive talent in the league spread across the back four he was rarely tested or called upon. Gomes does not have this luxury, his defence is good, but at the same time prone to some pretty poor shows, yet throughout the season he has been there to make those crucial saves. In light of this, we have produced a list of his game saving performances that have helped us to a share of the points.
Cheslea 1 – 1 Spurs
A fine performance from Gomes at Stamford Bridge when Tottenham needed everyone to be at their best to get something from a ground where we have not found the greatest amount of success in recent years. He was excellent when called upon to pick up all manner of crosses and corners, and really proved a thorn in the side of the Chelsea side when coming forward. His showing was topped off with an excellent save early in the fifth minute, brilliantly diving backwards to tip a Frank Lampard chip over the bar.
Spurs 0 – 0 Wigan
The first clean sheet of his Spurs career was overshadowed by a failing from the Tottenham attack to convert their chances, yet Gomes showed that he was the deserving owner of the No.1 Jersey with a good game. Undoubtedly the busy of the two stoppers in the first half, Gomes made a wonderful full-stretch save to prevent Paul Scharner from scoring a well hit volley just before the break. When the sides changed ends Tottenham took more of the game to the Wigan defence and Gomes was left fairly untested, but gripped on tightly to the point with another good save, this time from the right boot of Olivier Kapo.
Arsenal 4 – 4 Spurs
It is not often you will see a keeper who has let in four goals recieve praise for his contribution to the match, but on this occasion I think that Gomes deserves some credit for our remarkable comeback against the other team from North London. His early game saves when still 1-0 up from a Van Persie freekick and a low Cesc Fabregas drive kept us in the game, and followed this up with a smart save from Denilson in the second half. Although not his greatest game, he showed his excellent shot stopping ability to aid a superb team comeback.
Spurs 2 – 1 Liverpool
His next performance was just as good as the Arsenal game, producing two excellent saves to help us grab the full three points. The first was a smart little reaction save from a poor Darren Bent clearance that sliced back towards goal, but the second was really something to be proud of. Perhaps his best save of the season, and definately a contender for the Premier League save of the season , it was made that much sweeter after the comeback that followed it. It came on the stroke of 50 minutes and after a powerful Gerrard shot skimmed off a Ledley King block, Gomes dove at full stretch to tip the ball onto the post and keep Spurs in the game,and enabled them to go on and win it.
Spurs 0 – 0 Man Utd
Another sensational performance here from Gomes, who started to prove that he can really up his game against the biggest teams in the league. Not much of note in the first half, with only a Rio Ferdinand drive testing him, but when Man Utd came back out in the second half they threw alot more at the Brazilian, testing him with some routine saves from Park Ji-Sung and Vidic. Then, seven minutes from time, the ever improving keeper defied gravity to fly through the air and tip and Park Ji-Sung shot over the bar. Tottenham were holding on to the death, but if it were not for another remarkable save from Gomes, the points would have travelled back to Manchester. Marvelously diving across his goal to turn away a Ryan Gigg’s free kick that looked certain to hit the back of the net, Gomes helped Tottenham to a much deserved point against the league champions.
Aston Villa 1 – 2 Spurs
Not an outstanding performance from Gomes in terms of remarkable saves, yet I think that this match shows the real progress he has made to the English game. One save of note in blocking a shot from Martin Petrov well with his body, but it was his ability to come out and collect the ball from crosses, corners and set pieces that really aided in our win, and prevented Villa from really making use of their strong strikers John Carew and Emile Heskey.
Spurs 1 – 0 Chelsea
It was clear that Gomes took his excellent performance from the Villa game into the clash with Chelsea at the Lane, with another fine performance from our No.1. Two good saves in the first half from Essien and Anelka’s shots respectively proved to be all that troubled him before the break. After the short interval, Chelsea came out with a slighlty better attitude, testing Gomes with numerous high balls that he delt with comfortably, but it was 11 minutes from time that the Brazilian came to the rescue again with a splendid reaction save to stop John Terry’s close range header from going into the bottom left corner of the goal. A splendid performance from Gomes, matched only perhaps by the draw with Man Utd in December.