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Is a Goalkeepers Down Fall the Fault of the Media?

Football enthusiasts who is studying football journalism. I will be writing articles dedicated to football news.

Over the last few years we have seen some downfalls of some of the greatest keepers in the premier league such as Arrizabalaga, Karius, De Gea etc. I will agree that some of these keepers have made mistakes that have led to goals, however when they do the commentators and media are the first to report on these mistakes. From watching these premier league football matches I have come to notice how quick they are to point out the mistakes of a goalkeeper, but what I have also noticed is that sometimes these so called "goalkeeper mistakes" have actually come from the fault of the outfield players.

In the opening Chelsea game of the 2020/21 premier league season, the commentators went straight after Arrizabalaga for letting in a goal from a shot outside the box from Leandro Trossard in the 54th minute. As soon as the ball crossed the line for this goal the commentator said "Although it went into the bottom corner you have to look at Arrizabalaga for this", for me this is a red flag on commentators blaming the goalkeepers. As a goalkeeper myself I have analysed this many times and in my opinion Arrizabalaga is not at fault but more blame should have been put on Mount for this one. If mount had closed down Trossard the he would never have had time to take this shot but instead didn't get close enough which then gave Trossard more space to look up and have a shot. Another reason why I don't believe that this was a mistake from Arrizabalaga is because he had players crowded in front of him, which meant that if he didn't see the ball until it cleared through everyone, then he would have a milliseconds to react to it.


Another time in which commentators picked out a "goalkeepers mistake" was in the Everton vs West Bromwich Albion game. Within the first few minutes of this game Yerry Mina is being closed down by Callum Robinson and decides to play a bouncing ball back to Pickford, instead of playing a back pass on the floor. Pickford then attempts to clear the ball as he is being closed down Robinson, the ball doesn't get fully cleared and it picked up by Robinson straight away. The commentator then proceeds to say it was "his initial error", this shows that the commentator is blaming Pickford for this. I do agree that Pickford could have made a better clearance attempt however, not once do the commentators blame Mina for a very poor pass back to Pickford. This pass may not have been too bad if it was being played to an outfielder however, if a defender is going to play a back pass then they should always be perfect as the goalkeeper is a teams last line of defence which means that if the make a mistake then it will most likely result in a goal.

These are just two examples this season of where commentators will overlook the mistake of an outfielder and will just focus on the goalkeeper. The goalkeepers position is one of the hardest in football as one mistake can cost you the game however what people don't realise is that every player on a pitch will make a mistake by misplacing a pass and giving up possession. Commentators will overlook this because it doesn't always lead to a goal. The more a goalkeeper gets criticised for mistakes that aren't always their fault can really damage a players confidence and mentality. In the 2018 Champions League final Karius made two very costly mistakes the lost Liverpool the game. These mistakes were his fault however the way the media had pin pointed this probably ended up damaging his confidence. I understand this this was something important to cover as it did cost Liverpool the win however in the 20/21 Champions League Sterling missed a very easy tap in goal against Lyon which could have cost them. Had he scored that it may have caused Man City to get increased motivation and win the game. In my opinion these two mistakes were as costly as each other however, the media covered them very differently, Sterling's mistake was forgotten about much quicker than Karius's mistake.

The point of this article was to give people a different view on how goalkeepers are portrayed in the media and how they are spoken about by commentators. A goalkeeper can make as many mistakes as some of your favourite footballers such as Messi and Ronaldo however their mistakes wont lead to goals but by them not scoring can cause them the win. I believe that the way goalkeepers are looked at by commentators should be more specific, they don't realise that if the ball is in a non threatening area that keepers aren't always going to be ready for every shot. Also goalkeepers can be blind to a shot as it is taken if there are defenders in the way and will only have milliseconds to react. Mistakes are made by everyone in football however they are worse when done by a keeper and this is what commentators need to realise as pin pointing them all the time can be damaging to a goalkeepers confidence.

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