think back to the time in the early Eighties, when Ray Clemence
signed for Tottenham. A few game sin and he had conceded
more goals than he was accustomed to and when asked why, he said
that at Liverpool, the side was set up to force opponents wide,
thus resulting in them putting crosses into the box. Thus,
he was not used to facing shots, which was happening at Spurs,
as the side funnelled opponents infield.
another England keeper and another time of goalkeeping crisis or
so say the newspapers.
there anything to be learned from Clem's experience ?
Well, the way we seem to play at the moment is to let opponents
come forward and from what we have seen so far this season,
invite the shot. Long range efforts have flown past
Robinson and not all cleanly, it must be said. Last season
saw the same, with our defenders throwing themselves in the way
of shots on goal, often resulting in them being deflected enough
to beat our keeper.
is a good shot stopper. Witness some of the saves he has
made this season to protect his goal. So, is this the
right policy ?
is currently coming in for a lot of flak for his unfortunate
knack of knocking shots down or letting the ball bounce off him
in front of goal, thus giving sharp forwards an opportunity to
nip in and convert the rebound.
this is to be the preferred way of defending, then the defenders
(and midfielders for that matter) must be aware of the part they
have to play.
Closing down players swiftly (as we DIDN'T see against Arsenal)
is a necessity to prevent them having the time to line up a shot
on goal. This means the midfield have to help out the back
four in this.
Also, the men nearest the goal must be alert enough to follow in
and be first to any ball which might come back off Robbo.
the keeper's part, he must make sure that he gets the ball as
far away from the goal when parrying the ball as possible.
With our defenders following up any rebound, they will need to
be aware that if Paul does get a good hand on the ball and it
does come forward, then they might have to take evasive action
to avoid running the ball back into their own net.
it is decided not to show opponents the whites of the posts,
then they will need to be compact in the middle and force the
ball wide. This will lead to crosses coming into the
Tottenham area, which might be a better option.
However, Robinson has not excelled in dealing with crosses
either. His attempts to punch are ill-advised, as he fails
to convincingly come for the ball, but with a goalkeeper his
size, he should be able to come through a crowd to take the
ball, team-mate, opponent, referee ... in fact, anyone who gets
in his way. He also needs to take up a position where he
can make a run-up to get some elevation in his jump to help him
reach the ball. This means standing a little deeper and
moving forward to the ball, rather than being under the ball at
it's highest point and trying to reach it from a standing leap.
Despite missing Ledley King, we should have enough height in the
side to head the ball away and there are not too many goals
conceded in the air this season.
Personally, I feel that the crossing option might suit the team
last issue that Robinson needs to improve on is his
communication with the team. He needs to boss them about
in his area and outside it, let them know what is happening and
where they should be going.
needs to make sure his defenders know what to expect from him.
If the ball comes into the box, they need to know that he is
going to come for it and that they can expect a clattering.
That way, they will not need to go for it - especially if it
when they are facing their own goal.
back four need to know that any low ball into the area along the
six yard line will be claimed by the goalie. This will stop them
having to slide in and they can cover any subsequent second
how the side defends must be down to the Head Coach and his
assistant, who was a defender himself ... one who played in
front of Ray Clemence too. The players must be comfortable
with the system and the zonal marking system has allowed players
from the other side to move into areas, which have not been
attacked by our players. Maybe, some of them could be more
suited to a man-to-man marking regime, but only the Coach and
the players would know.
Whatever way things pan out, it will not see Robinson take the
field at Newcastle, as a calf injury picked up in England's
defeat in Russia will keep him out. With Radek Cerny in
goal, it will be interesting to see how he fares in goal with
the same defence in front of him that Robbo had. A
different type of keeper, but only as good as the back four in
front of him.
While Robinson has a blip in his form, will Cerny show that his
goalkeeping skills are up to the way we play ??