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WBA vs Saints - Match Thread


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All credit to West Brom. They have been stuck in 19th place for most of the season and despite their wins against Chelsea and us, they are still 19th in mid-April. It is still mathematically probable for them to escape relegation but it is a big ask, especially as Newcastle have the likes of Saint-Maximin back in their team. Some teams would have given up by now and accepted the inevitable but not West Brom, it seems. They were better all over the pitch and played with a sense of purpose that Saints did not possess. Ralph will get the blame from some but just look at the squad he has. His 1st team choice is limited in footballing ability and he can't look to the bench to see much in the way of quality there, either. Ings is eyeing the exit and if Ralph doesn't get the green light to offload some of the players and have some money to buy new to strengthen the team, then he may well walk too. It is our salvation that we had a purple patch at the end of 2020 because the points won then are keeping us away from the trapdoor to the Championship. 

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Managers styles are different. Some will want to watch from the stands. Others like Antonio Conte spend the match having convulsions on the touchline. The Van Gael style of management is to sit through the game writing in a notepad. They all do it their way. I used to like watching Barry Fry. He put everything he had into 90 minutes. 

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Big Sam had WBA set up well and knew how to play us. The way that they started didn't give us a chance to settle into the game, their quick passing, movement, tricks and flicks were very good and every 50/50 seemed to go to them. Our running around like headless chickens and quickly giving the ball away back to them didn't help though, at this stage Ralph should have set us up to be more compact and leaving less space for them to exploit. If WBA had started the game like they did the second half the overall game could have been much different.

In the second half WBA did what they needed to do to protect their lead and they always seemed to get a toe in to nick the ball and the ball didn't fall for us around the box, if we had made it 2-1 before their 3rd it could have been different.

To me it was just one of those nights where we were out thought and played. We need to change our game to become less predictable, I thought that one of our best games played in recent months was the more solid and compact set up against Chelsea. Without Romeo our midfield is very light weight, Diallo is more of a JWP replacement than for Romeo I think that a solid defensive midfielder is a priority in the summer transfer window.

 

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From the non pressing play, to players not putting in a challenge, I think it was pretty obvious they were all told to play at 50% to ensure that are fully ready on Sunday.

It we win on Sunday then I can forgive last nights performance.

Edited by warsash saint
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7 minutes ago, warsash saint said:

From the non pressing play, to players not putting in a challenge, I think it was previous obvious they were all told to play at 50% to ensure that are fully ready on Sunday.

It we win on Sunday then I can forgive last nights performance.

Think you're right. First half especially we seemed to hold our formation well, rarely did I look at the defense/midfield and wonder where one of them had gone. It's just that WBA were ghosting past them as if they weren't there. Apart from one excellent chasing back tackle by Bertrand I can hardly remember a challenge being made. Then when we did get the ball I can't remember seeing so many underhit passes.

They sat on the lead after HT so Vestergaard spent most of his time pushing up into midfield but there was still too many passes going nowhere, no-one making the incisive runs to enable a defernce splitting pass.

Hopefully Adams can start in the semi, really don't think we can accomodate Theo and Redmond in the same team. (assuming Mimimimo cup-tied?)

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I want to say that performance was shocking.  It was not, it was purely the norm these days. We have been comfortably one of the worst teams in the division for many months.

Not sure what so ever that Ralph is the man to take us into next season. None at all.  That view started when he balled his eyes out at beating Liverpool, which was very strange.

Edited by AlexLaw76
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7 minutes ago, Wurzel said:

Think you're right. First half especially we seemed to hold our formation well, rarely did I look at the defense/midfield and wonder where one of them had gone. It's just that WBA were ghosting past them as if they weren't there. Apart from one excellent chasing back tackle by Bertrand I can hardly remember a challenge being made. Then when we did get the ball I can't remember seeing so many underhit passes.

They sat on the lead after HT so Vestergaard spent most of his time pushing up into midfield but there was still too many passes going nowhere, no-one making the incisive runs to enable a defernce splitting pass.

Hopefully Adams can start in the semi, really don't think we can accomodate Theo and Redmond in the same team. (assuming Mimimimo cup-tied?)

I have to disagree I'm afraid.  I spent a large part of the first half wondering where the midfield had gone - especially when the WBA midfield were running in behind.  Diallo frequently seemed to be in full FIFA21 mode - just charging forward at all the wrong times.  If you watch the build up to the first goal (pen) you can see both JWP and Diallo caught forward (albeit marginally) and Maitland-Niles then running into a cavernous space behind them.  Shades of the 2nd half of the Leeds game all over again.

I was shouting at the TV for one or both of them just to sit in for a bit and Theo to come in tighter to KWP -  just to try and gain some control for 5 mins and take the pressure off the defence. 

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he has achieved good things with this club but everyone should stop overcomplicating things and just look at the facts. 11 defeats in 14. He is unable to motivate the players to want to win, keeps blaming the budget. Most clubs are in a sticky situation financially and they are getting on with it. I think ralph is trying to be clever in many situations and it is failing us

Sure, the FA cup run is good and I hope we can pull a good performance on sunday against a very strong leicester team. But we played shrewsbury (easy win), then we played a very out of form Arsenal to which we score a scammy deflection and then hold on to the 1-0. Then we manage to put two past a very out of shape wolves team. To then put in a good performance against Bournemouth but that is not hard at all. We havent been challenged much this cup run so it will b interesting to see what happens on sunday.

For those saying Ralph in, it should not be because of the FA cup.

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13 hours ago, Lee On Solent Saint said:

Maybe Ralph needs a different view or perspective. Maybe try watching a half in the stands, might give him a better view of how to change things.

He did, when ralph had covid he watched from his home on tv. he said the performance made him uncomfortable and made him see things he hadnt seen before. yet next game he changes nothing

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20 minutes ago, charliemarriott99 said:

He did, when ralph had covid he watched from his home on tv. he said the performance made him uncomfortable and made him see things he hadnt seen before. yet next game he changes nothing

I'm sure he watches every game afterwards from a TV perspective but he'd still not get an overall view of the game like from sitting in the stands...and seeing what we're seeing  (when we're sitting in the stands!).

I've been a Ralph fan, his philosophy is good but we constantly fail to adapt and the results and performances speak for themselves.

I have the same trepidation going into this weekend's semi as I did with the Chelsea one, what should be something to look forward to has become a fear of what could happen. This time last year we were a joy to watch, right now I can't shake those two 9-0s from my thoughts.

Edited by alehouseboys
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Looking backwards is usually the philosophy of regret but that performance needs looking at. We just didn’t play the way that we can and haven’t for a considerable time now. Responsibility rests completely on the shoulders of the non-performers who for some reason are selected week after week to little or no effect. I accept that we have a very thin squad of limited ability who are at times mediocre and lethargic. So too do the Baggies hence their position in the table. If we can see this why can’t the Coaching Staff. Apparently we had ‘our best team’ out last night.  Where were they? The old adage of ‘you can’t make a silk purse out of a pigs ear’ is our current problem. 
In an earlier build up post my Baggies friends suggested that no one in their team could get into ours backfired! Giving away and missing penalties is no excuse for an abysmal performance. Sunday is another day. Who knows? We may even win. I can but hope.

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15 hours ago, Teddeer said:

That penalty from JWP was just so poor. Why is he hitting it at the perfect height to the goalkeeper's strong side? It was begging to be saved. Absolutely insane for a dead ball specialist.

His corners were all so predictable. No out swingers, just placed in the same spot each time just  to be gobbled up by WBA.  We had so many corners too.Can't see any one wanting to buy Ings on that showing. an absolute horror show from Saints.

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Our biggest problem imo is our complete inability to defend - we've gone from being hard to score against to being woefully inept.

Bednarek has played shockingly for months now and still keeps his place in the team. vestergaard looks a shadow of his former self and looks like he needs a rest. This combined with Bertrand's form being iffy means we are soft as shit at the back.

Yesterday this was exacerbated by JWP and diallo having crap games.

I lost count of the number of times we stood off their attacking players and let them come onto us. In contrast their defenders were all over our attacking players and limited our chances.

I know he may not have many options, but if Ralph can't see this then he needs to go. Bednarek should have been off the field at half time and yet somehow he played the whole game...

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2 hours ago, AlexLaw76 said:

I want to say that performance was shocking.  It was not, it was purely the norm these days. We have been comfortably one of the worst teams in the division for many months.

Not sure what so ever that Ralph is the man to take us into next season. None at all.  That view started when he balled his eyes out at beating Liverpool, which was very strange.

Saints fell off a cliff after that game. That was Ralph's peak.

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We gave them so much space in the first half, particularly down our right where KWP was having to deal with the threat without any support. In central midfield Naitland- Miles ran the show -- and we let him.  In short, they played like we did when we were on fire earlier in the season and we played like they did when they were crap earlier in the season. 

Edited by Shropshire Saint
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2 hours ago, Totton Saint said:

His corners were all so predictable. No out swingers, just placed in the same spot each time just  to be gobbled up by WBA.  We had so many corners too.Can't see any one wanting to buy Ings on that showing. an absolute horror show from Saints.

To be fair, without Romeu we have such a short side. We have two players over 6ft. It's pretty easy to defend against when you know we are looking for someone whose name starts with Jan. 

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12 minutes ago, Boris Karloff said:

To be fair, without Romeu we have such a short side. We have two players over 6ft. It's pretty easy to defend against when you know we are looking for someone whose name starts with Jan. 

Wikipedia has Romeu at 183cm.

I'm flat footed and I'm 6'1, I've been stood directly next to him almost and I'd say he's a lot more than 1 inch shorter than me, he's barely 6ft.

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3 hours ago, Totton Saint said:

If we win against Leicester god help us because Saints will be playing not to get injured again until the final. If Ralph wants to new players in the summer why sign Walcott?

I’d take that :)

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3 hours ago, cloggy saint said:

I didn't see the game but no doubt we weren't quite as bad as people are making out. Credit to WBA, it's probably too little too late but they're making a decent fist of it lately.

You didn't see the game. I can confirm to you that we were as bad as some people are making out. In fact we were much worse than some people are making out, especially in the first half. We were shocking, in much the same way that we were shocking in the first 15/20 minutes against Burnley. We couldn't get hold of the ball, and when we did we gave it away with sloppy passing, and we left the centre midfield completely unattended, and Forster had a brain fart, and and and and. Don't be fooled, we were abysmal, and some of our key players were the worst culprits. Bednarek has resorted to wrestling in the penalty area now, instead of defending as he used to do, he just wants to pull an hang on to opponents shirts, he has forgotten the basics (which he was good at) and has become a liability, OK it was his birthday yesterday, so I guess Ralph couldn't drop him, but his confidence is shot to pieces since the ManU debacle, and he is getting worse. To be fair to WBA they were playing some really neat football (obviously Fat Sam has got some other coach in behind the scenes). It wasn't really a tactical thing last night, it was players not being arsed, not motivated and on the beach, and looking exhausted (JWP). By the way all my comments are based on the first half. I didn't watch the 2nd half, dinner was on the table, and the prospect of another 45 minutes of that awful stuff was too much to stomach (don't worry I could hear the commentary and would have rushed back to the settee if there had been any sign of a comeback.

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26 minutes ago, VectisSaint said:

You didn't see the game. I can confirm to you that we were as bad as some people are making out. In fact we were much worse than some people are making out, especially in the first half. We were shocking, in much the same way that we were shocking in the first 15/20 minutes against Burnley. We couldn't get hold of the ball, and when we did we gave it away with sloppy passing, and we left the centre midfield completely unattended, and Forster had a brain fart, and and and and. Don't be fooled, we were abysmal, and some of our key players were the worst culprits. Bednarek has resorted to wrestling in the penalty area now, instead of defending as he used to do, he just wants to pull an hang on to opponents shirts, he has forgotten the basics (which he was good at) and has become a liability, OK it was his birthday yesterday, so I guess Ralph couldn't drop him, but his confidence is shot to pieces since the ManU debacle, and he is getting worse. To be fair to WBA they were playing some really neat football (obviously Fat Sam has got some other coach in behind the scenes). It wasn't really a tactical thing last night, it was players not being arsed, not motivated and on the beach, and looking exhausted (JWP). By the way all my comments are based on the first half. I didn't watch the 2nd half, dinner was on the table, and the prospect of another 45 minutes of that awful stuff was too much to stomach (don't worry I could hear the commentary and would have rushed back to the settee if there had been any sign of a comeback.

Thing is you’re right. What really annoyed me was the sloppy passing which just kept piling the pressure on ourselves.

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4 hours ago, Boris Karloff said:

To be fair, without Romeu we have such a short side. We have two players over 6ft. It's pretty easy to defend against when you know we are looking for someone whose name starts with Jan. 

This is one of my major concerns. We are a very small side apart from central defence and goalkeeper. We need more strength, power and physically to compete and are easily bullied out of games. The mix is completely wrong and it is a wonder we do not concede more goals fro corners and set pieces.

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10 minutes ago, Toadhall Saint said:

Thing is you’re right. What really annoyed me was the sloppy passing which just kept piling the pressure on ourselves.

It has become a thing with us and it is the main reason we bring pressure on ourselves. It is everyone now, but yesterday we looked like we were rushing as well, almost panicking to give it away. Because of the way we play, passing it around at the back waiting for an opening, a trigger, when we are sloppy with the passes it kills us. I don't understand why so many players have caught this disease. Players who in the past were precise and quick with their passes now are all over the place. Was it Bertrand who last night at one point put a simple pass straight into touch, just didn't seem to think about it enough. Until we can get the players back to do these basics right again, which we know they can do, we will ship goals left, right and especially centre. WBA should have been 3 or 4 up before they scored, a combination of poor shooting and lucky defending kept them at bay for a while.

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I really thought we had turned a corner with our 2020 form but we're back to the kind of performances that have become all too familiar with this club since Koeman left in 2016. Toothless. 

Yesterday was as bad of a performance as the 9-0s. We were woeful from minute one, credit to WBA who comfortably beat us.

Ralph had enough warning signs before their penalty to make an adjustment to the system, he didn't and this happens too frequently from him. There was nothing from our CMs, they were all over the place and it made it easy for WBA to pass through us. For him to say that we had a better 25 minutes before their 3rd goal is a ridiculous comment, they let us have the ball knowing full well that we weren't going to do anything with it and that we would have a defensive lapse.

Us losing games of football is always a disappointment but the manner of some of the defeats since the turn of the year have been tough to take. Our players are not leaving everything out on the field, players are hiding. One thing that has been an issue for Ralph since he came here is his inability to set up a defence. Its infuriating how easy we concede chances.

Bednarek has been awful since that second 9-0, personally I think he should be dropped for the semi final on Sunday, along with Redmond who once again put in the type of performance we've seen too many times since he joined us. Give Djenepo a run in the side, I'm still unsure on him but he does offer an element of unpredictability.

I've been a big fan of Bertrand over the years but his time at this club will rightfully come to an end and it is absolutely crucial that we replace him well in the summer.

This summer should be a massive one but we will not have the resources to improve this squad of players and I really do fear for us. We are desperate for a takeover, we lack leadership from the very top with an absent owner. We lack leadership on the pitch and have done since Fonte left.

I'm not advocating for Ralph to be sacked, the club cannot afford it, but I'm definitely questioning him, the players should rightfully have the finger pointed at them as well. 10 points from our last 15 games, how does that compare to our final 15 games under Pellegrino or Hughes? The rot is deep.

Its such a shame that the good work in the first half of the season has been undone, of course we still have the cup but I wouldn't back us to beat Leicester on Sunday when looking at our 2021 form.

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22 hours ago, Teddeer said:

That penalty from JWP was just so poor. Why is he hitting it at the perfect height to the goalkeeper's strong side? It was begging to be saved. Absolutely insane for a dead ball specialist.

3rd penalty miss for him, not great. 

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31 minutes ago, VectisSaint said:

It has become a thing with us and it is the main reason we bring pressure on ourselves. It is everyone now, but yesterday we looked like we were rushing as well, almost panicking to give it away. Because of the way we play, passing it around at the back waiting for an opening, a trigger, when we are sloppy with the passes it kills us. I don't understand why so many players have caught this disease. Players who in the past were precise and quick with their passes now are all over the place. Was it Bertrand who last night at one point put a simple pass straight into touch, just didn't seem to think about it enough. Until we can get the players back to do these basics right again, which we know they can do, we will ship goals left, right and especially centre. WBA should have been 3 or 4 up before they scored, a combination of poor shooting and lucky defending kept them at bay for a while.

Diallo. The sloppy passing always seem to happen on the transition which doesn’t help   Not easy to go from front foot to back peddling which is why it seems we are being over run in MF.

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1 hour ago, Teddeer said:

This is one of my major concerns. We are a very small side apart from central defence and goalkeeper. We need more strength, power and physically to compete and are easily bullied out of games. The mix is completely wrong and it is a wonder we do not concede more goals fro corners and set pieces.

Do we ever score headed goals, not from a corner I mean?

Edited by Whitey Grandad
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9 hours ago, charliemarriott99 said:

he has achieved good things with this club but everyone should stop overcomplicating things and just look at the facts. 11 defeats in 14. He is unable to motivate the players to want to win, keeps blaming the budget. Most clubs are in a sticky situation financially and they are getting on with it. I think ralph is trying to be clever in many situations and it is failing us

Sure, the FA cup run is good and I hope we can pull a good performance on sunday against a very strong leicester team. But we played shrewsbury (easy win), then we played a very out of form Arsenal to which we score a scammy deflection and then hold on to the 1-0. Then we manage to put two past a very out of shape wolves team. To then put in a good performance against Bournemouth but that is not hard at all. We havent been challenged much this cup run so it will b interesting to see what happens on sunday.

For those saying Ralph in, it should not be because of the FA cup.

This deserves preservation as the funniest attempt to belittle a semi-final appearance I have ever read!  I am guessing you are one of our less experienced fans!

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We're such an unathletic team. The players we do have who are quick over the turf tend to be pretty slight (KWP and Diallo), our CBs must be as slow a pair as any in the premier league, and we don't really have anyone (aside possibly from Romeu and Adams) who I'd actually categorise as strong. Everyone else in the side just fits into a mediocre middle-ground of not being particularly fast or particularly strong.

The rest of the league now seems to have figured out that as long as they don't dally on the ball during transition from defense to midfield, giving us a chance to press and counter, we can't defend and we can't lay a glove on them creatively.

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38 minutes ago, hackedoff said:

Why not get a keeper who dives towards the ball rather than away from it?

Surely you're aware that the keeper must decide what he's going to do before the ball is struck? Dive left, right or stay put in the middle because if you wait until the ball is hit before diving then you end up doing a Shilton at Italia '90. Yes, he dived the right way for every kick but was still in the air when the ball was in the net.

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I think we are missing Romeu very badly as he is such a combative solid player that our midfield doesn't get steamrollered often.

IMO we must start playing Salisu in hid position to put some backbone into the defensive lidfield which is pretty non existant. JWP should be a constructive midfielder and not forced to defend deep.

For the life of me I cant imagine why Ralph didn't get Salisu or Stephens on after twenty minutes when we were being overrun.

It is the manager's job to analyse and adapt but he seemes to be very blinkered im his tactics.

I'm losing faith in him. 

Compare WBA before Big Sam got hold of them to now, no comparison. In his pre match interview he openly ststed they were going to go hard at us from the off.

 

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6 hours ago, cambsaint said:

Compare WBA before Big Sam got hold of them to now, no comparison.

Yep now with form of 4 wins in last 20 games. Improvement in the last two games with wins is far too late for them.

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Looking back at the game a key factor was the way they stopped us building attacks so the ball kept coming back.

They pressed well to stop us playing out. With no Adams no-one was going to win and hold up the long ball. And for the shorter clearance into midfield we were outnumbered and outmuscled, missing Romeu.

Short clearances we're intercepted under pressure (Ings, goal 2). Longer ones simple came straight back, or they won the second ball. (Goals 1 and 3)

Then they did attack with pace and danger: clearly wanted it more than us. If we're going to get anywhere on Sunday we somehow need to stengthen midfield and play Adams as the get out ball if we're pressed. And be much sharper passing out.

Edited by Shroppie
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1 hour ago, Shroppie said:

Looking back at the game a key factor was the way they stopped us building attacks so the ball kept coming back.

They pressed well to stop us playing out. With no Adams no-one was going to win and hold up the long ball. And for the shorter clearance into midfield we were outnumbered and outmuscled, missing Romeu.

Short clearances we're intercepted under pressure (Ings, goal 2). Longer ones simple came straight back, or they won the second ball. (Goals 1 and 3)

Then they did attack with pace and danger: clearly wanted it more than us. If we're going to get anywhere on Sunday we somehow need to stengthen midfield and play Adams as the get out ball if we're pressed. And be much sharper passing out.

I said a lot of this after the first ten minutes, and that's the most frustrating thing. We we being massively overrun and the way we had setup was not working, and we did not change it once.  Adams may not be the best finisher, but I do believe we are a way better side when he is in it. He gives us an outlet, and can take pressure off our terrible defence.  Obviously we are missing Romeu, but we still should have enough to be competitive.

I'm firmly in the "Ralph In" camp, but he has to learn to adapt when it is not working. We were being bullied in midfield and every time they went forward they were getting in that huge gap between CB's and CM's.  Why do we just wait until half time and then see what the score is, rather than trying to stem the flow whilst it is happening. We could have been 5 or 6 down by HT. Armstrong should have made it a 3 in midfield and Diallo should have just sat in front of the CB's to combat Periera.

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19 hours ago, cloggy saint said:

Surely you're aware that the keeper must decide what he's going to do before the ball is struck? Dive left, right or stay put in the middle because if you wait until the ball is hit before diving then you end up doing a Shilton at Italia '90. Yes, he dived the right way for every kick but was still in the air when the ball was in the net.

Surely you,'re aware that by that logic,our keepers should pull off the odd pen save but they very rarely do,do they.

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1 hour ago, Whitey Grandad said:

Two examples tell you nothing. Someone very kindly posted the figures for McCarthy and Forster and FF came out well ahead.

Two examples of mediocre goalkeepers,sure there will be figures for that as well.

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