Tim Howard is no longer the goalkeeper he once was and it is a source of concern for me that at age 35 with a contract that will run until June 2018 there is quite frankly at this point in time nobody else on our books who could effortlessly and seamlessly take his place between the sticks. Howard, in other words, has no real challenge to his shoo-in berth on say a big Premier League day such as when we play the shower from across the park.

My concern about this situation boils down to two things in particular: (1) the lack of credible options between the sticks which is partly – but nowhere near wholly – a consequence of Bobby Martinez’s wheeling and dealing and thinking since he walked in through the door, and (2) Tim Howard’s unreliability, inconsistency, and overall gaff-prone performances.

As of now we have 35-year-old Howard (with a magnificent 352 appearances under his belt); Joel Robies aged only 24 but for many it seems a risk too far; 18-year-old Pole Mateusz Taudul; and 18-year-old Russell Griffiths from somewhere down south I think. Inaki Bergera, goalkeeping coach, followed Bobby to EFC, and although he has a decent looking bunch of clubs on his CV he was nearly always second choice, although that might not matter a great deal when it comes down to the daily grind of Finch Farm and coaching.

Sadly, Martinez’s mistakes – and rest assured I still believe in him – are mounting up but perhaps one of the largest is his failure to address this goalkeeper situation. IMHO I believe that Bobby thinks that it is ‘sorted at the back’. But as we have seen it is not. We were in dire need of a new central defender and a new goalkeeper who could have stepped seamlessly into Howard’s boots, but we ended up with neither.

Fraser Forster, Peter Cech, David Marshall (to name but three from a far longer list), any one of them would have brought some much needed reassurance to our goalkeeper slate but we ended up getting rid of two young keepers and bringing in nobody.

This was a mistake and we simply must buy a quality keeper and central defender in the next window. They are I believe our top priorities based on what we have seen so far in this season.

What have we seen in say relation to this question of keeper and also I know, defending (it’s not just down to the keeper but simply stating that is not addressing the Howard question)? Seven games: 37 shots on target on our net; 17 goals scored. Take away Wolfsburg: 24 shots on target; 16 goals scored. Take away West Brom and Wolfsburg: 21 shots on target; 16 goals scored.

Now there are several strands to conceding goals but I would suggest that keeper and central defence are the two key ones. The season is still young but 16 goals conceded from 21 shots on target! Really! The most goals conceded by any Premier League team up to now.

One of the biggest reasons for this is between the sticks. Tim Howard. TH does not control his area/box with any confidence; TH distributes the ball quite poorly too many times for comfort; TH flails and flaps on too many crosses, a key reason why we are so poor defending set pieces; TH to punch or to catch? (Enough said); TH caught once too many times for comfort at the near post; TH far too many examples of poor judgment for a ‘quality’ keeper.

The evidence of the last two matches is striking. Paul Traill’s 2/10 rating says it all, Paul never gives below 4 or 5. And tonight, Swansea: slow to cover for the first goal; Distin massively at fault for the second but he was in acres of space and a shout from the keeper would have helped; and the third goal, near post, TH flailing in the breeze and rain.

So, some – many – will say what about last Thursday, what about last season (one of his better ones), what about loyal service, what about keeping goal for SAF? Tim Howard is unreliable and inconsistent and he has been for a long while now – the last two games have simply been glaring cases – and he maybe always was. I care about today not last Thursday or last season or the one before.

Martinez’s post-match words Sunday (don’t get me started on Tuesday) were hardly the stuff of reassurance and ‘I WILL PUT THINGS RIGHT’. Howard, he said, is top quality and does not need to have attention drawn to the way he lost us the match because of his evident quality. Okay, we can hardly expect public criticism – although others do it and Hart got benched last year for things not quite as poor as Howard’s recent clangers and howlers – but if Martinez did not take Howard to one side on Monday and give him a wake-up call ….. Well, quite simply, he is not doing his job.

But, then, what’s the alternative, Howard’s place is near scripture set in stone but not because he has earned it but because of the poverty of our current goalkeeping options which so far as I am concerned is something Martinez should have addressed but did not.

We need a real alternative to Howard as a matter of some urgency and we need the gaffer to take on board the goalkeeper (and central defence) situation and deal with it cleanly and effectively.

For every Belgium and every Wolfsburg game there are longish interregnums of unreliability and inconsistency. Yes Howard can save the day now and then but the debit side of things is growing all too quickly.

Of course Howard is far from being the only reason for what I feel has been a very revealing start to this season. But he is up there with Bobby’s increasingly worrying decision-making and that central defence partnership. What on earth is going on at Finch Farm day-in and day-out with our goalkeeping and defensive coaching?

Howard, Osman, Hibbert, Jags, and Distin: we need to move on Bobby and quickly please!

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James Stewart
1 Posted 24/09/2014 at 14:48:03
Agreed. Howard is erratic and that is not what you wan't between the sticks. Last season was his best and only good season in my opinion which has clouded RM's judgement. It was a shame we didn't sign Marshall, he would have been great here.
Peter Laing
2 Posted 24/09/2014 at 15:07:07
Old Father time is catching up with the nucleus of David Moyes stalwarts. Distin turns 37 in December, great servant and able replacement for Joleon Lescott although one season too many now on the clock and should have been replaced over the summer. Howard - erratic, is there any other word that would best describe Tim ? Leon Osman - ever present throughout Moyes tenure and struggling with the demands of the modern game. Hibbert - ditto Osman, never should he have been given a new contract. Jagielka - Club Captain, hopefully still has 1-2 seasons left in the tank, poor World Cup, lack of confidence, injury plagued during the spring of 2014.
Steve Ferns
3 Posted 24/09/2014 at 15:12:51
Tim Howard is the same Tim Howard he has always been. He's always been erratic, capable of brilliance one Thursday, capable of calamity the following Tuesday. This is why Man Utd shipped him out so easily. Let's not make any rash statements ont he back of one of his worst games.

Tim's not that old for a goalie, 35 means he still has mileage left on the clock. Big Nev was 35 in 1994, and he still had one of his finest moments to come with the 95 Cup final. Whilst Tim Howard is no where near worthy of camparison for Nev's actual goalkeeping skills he is worthy of comparison for his longevity. 35 year old Tim Howard is in peak shape. There's not an ounce of fat on him. I would doubt anyone would come on here and say otherwise. So physically, Tim Howard is still more than fit enough. Next to consider on the fitness front is his injury record, well he's never really had any. Nev was plagued later in life as his back had gone, meaning that he was unable to train with the ferocity that he had done as a younger man and leading to his transformation from stocky to fat. As far as I know, Howard's never been said to have any back issues. So my conclusion is that physically he is fine.

Next we should consider the mental aspects. Goalkeepering is all in the mind. Schmiechel and Southall have said so on many occasions and this is why goalies always got better with age. You will know as you get into your 30s you become better mentally. The impetulance of youth gives way to greater patience, greater powers of dealing with stress, and goalies like Schmeichel are able to impose themselves upon strikers and the fear factor alone causes the striker to rush or hurry his shot and these errors enable a great keeper to make saves more easily.

I think, and I always have done, that Howard seems to be lacking mentally. He is, very unusually for a keeper, a player who relies heavily upon confidence. When he's in form, he's in form, and he performs week in, week out. Once he has a bad game, several tend to follow. He also seems to suffer with lapses of concentration. He always seemed to me to be a risk to a top side for this reason. If he had one save, and one save only, to make all game, then chances were he'd suffer a concentration lapse and commit an error. On the flip side, when we are really up against it and he's in constant action, see Wolfsburg and a few games in the world cup, then he's able to get in "the zone" and stay there.

For me, Howard has all the aspects of a great keeper physically, though he's not quite as tall as either of the Chelsea keepers, and as a shot stopper there's few better than him. However, for a really top side, there's questions marks over his mentality. But this has always been the same. He's not not declining with age, he's just the same Tim Howard who struggled at Man Utd and does his best when constantly in the action and when he's had a run of good games under his belt.

Dick Brady
4 Posted 24/09/2014 at 15:26:52
Tim Howard conceeded the third lowest number of goals in the Premiership last season.

Tim Howard was one of the Top 3 goalkeepers at the World Cup. He saved more shots in a single match than any other keeper and became a national hero in America.

Tim Howard was also incredible against Wolfsburg. Again I think he broke the Europa Cup record of saves in a single match. That night every save he made was like an 'ole' moment.

There's no arguing he was awful against both Palace and Swansea but are we ready to turn against after just a few bad performances in the opening half dozen games?

Personally I think we owe him a bit of time. If I was Roberto I would tell Howard that he needs to find form soon but I would stick with him for now.

I don't like these knee-jerk reactions after every single game. I try to look at the big picture.

Howard's position should be under close scutiny by Roberto but at the moment he needs our support.

I don't expect things will improve over the weekend. In fact I fear come Sunday things will be much worse but I remain hopefully that this is just a blip and the real Everton will emerge soon.

Rick Tarleton
5 Posted 24/09/2014 at 16:03:50
Howard is inconsistent, always was, that's why United sold him. He's a great shot-stopper on his day, but on crosses and at set-pieces, he's like a cat on hot coals and flaps at the ball without any confidence. In the panoply of Everton keepers I've seen he's behind Southall, West and Martyn.
He was ideally suited to star in the World Cup where the emphasis was on shot stopping and agility,. In a crowded English penalty area , it's a different story. I don't think it is essentially an age issue, I've complained over the years about Howard's inability to deal with crosses and his panic at corners, it's just the way he is.
Jim Knightley
6 Posted 24/09/2014 at 16:14:33
I can't believe the absurdity of some of the points this article appears to be making... Shots on targets in relation to goals scored this season!? Yes, because that makes alot more sense than considering the entirety of last season. I'm with Dick on this one.

Strikers have bad games, midfielders have bad games and defenders do. When goalkeepers have them, it's the end of the world. But goalkeepers do have them, and some big errors from the likes of Buffon, Casillas, Hart, Lopez, Szczesny etc illustrate that it happens to the best of them. It's driving me mad seeing the short-term criticism of so many Everton players, and the utter failure to legitimately offer suitable alternatives. Forster may turn out to be a good goalkeeper, and an expensive one at that, but there was no way in hell we were going to get Cech! picking up Valdes on a free would be more realistic, but that is not realistic at all. Marshall is certainly not better than Howard. I remember widespread calls for Ruddy on here a few years ago...where have they gone now?

John Daley
7 Posted 24/09/2014 at 16:29:46
"Timothy Matthew Howard is no longer the goalkeeper he once was"

Paul,

I would argue he's exactly the same goalkeeper he's always been.

The same guy Ferguson saw something special in to suggest he might possibly be up to the task of succeeding Peter Schmiechel but, simultaneously, the same guy who, upon closer scrutiny, he ultimately chose to get rid of because he didn't quite possess the concentration, consistency or commanding presence required to truly cut it at the top level.

He's a superb shot-stopper, capable of pulling off some truly fantastic reaction saves, particularly from close range, but he also brings to the table a number of deficiencies that are, seemingly, deeply encoded in his DNA.

For starters, there's the inopportune silences when his defenders are screaming out for a call, a failure to anticipate shots from distance, a real reluctance to come for crosses, and a tendency to become visibly, ridiculously, rattled when an opposition player has the temerity to stand too close to his bad Bluto beard at a corner ('JUST FUCKING IGNORE HIM, TIM!!!!').

Basically, having Howard has always been a bit like banging Buster Gonad in goal. He'll block a lot of shots and have his fair share of days where nothing can get past him, but unfortunately, the accompanying unfeasible bollocks will always be there to trip him up from time to time.

John Daley
8 Posted 24/09/2014 at 16:31:09
Sorry Steve (#3). I posted before reading any of the comments, so never clocked you'd already said almost the exact same thing at the start of your post. No plagiarism intended.
Mark Taylor
9 Posted 24/09/2014 at 16:06:32
The problem with goalies is that when they make a mistake, it costs you a goal and quite often, a defeat. If McGeady or McCarthy make a load of mistakes (as they have been) they may get criticism but it won't be on the same scale.

Their successes (saves) are applauded but not to the same degree as strikers. Lukaku has been bought for an eye watering 㿈m because he has shown he puts the ball in the back of the net at relatively frequent intervals, even though outside that, he often looks seriously mediocre. There is no way you'd buy a goalie who could pull off match winning saves but often played poorly (which arguably, defines Howard) for that sort of money. Just about the only time the odds are stacked in favour of a goalie in terms of the glory/disgrace equation is penalties and shoot outs, where to some extent, they can't lose.

Every side I can think off has dealt with goalies harder than pretty much any outfield player. Even the supposedly good keepers like De Gea, Reina, Casillas, Hart can find themselves sold or in exile. It's a tough gig. Maybe that's why they need a streak of madness.

Howard is basically what we have always had- a great shot stopper, one of the best around, but he has always made me nervous on crosses because he just doesn't command his six yard box. That's harder than it used to be, with all the blocking, but even so, there aren't many Schmeichels of Neuers out there.

The one point I think is fair is that every position needs competition for places to avoid complacency and I don't believe Robles counts as that. He makes Howard look positively assured.

MIke McLean
12 Posted 24/09/2014 at 16:41:49
Seemingly a nice chap who has his heroic moments - and who certainly put in a few match winning performances for the first half of last season - but who never was first class.

Don Roberto had a call to make: his decision was to go broke on the striker position in the knowledge that other areas couldn’t be improved significantly given our resources.

Sadly, it isn’t working well for him at the present though things may well improve.

We have our own demographic timebomb: the Horlicks brigade are either well and truly past it or reaching that point quickly ... Hibbert, Distin, Osman, Pienaar, Jags, Eto’o, Howard, Alcaraz: a third of the squad in their sporting dotage. Now whence cometh the dosh to replace that lot?!

Tony J Williams
13 Posted 24/09/2014 at 17:04:18
Nothings changed, he makes mistakes in some games and always has done.

That's why he is playing for us and not Man Utd, Chelsea or Arsenal.

Ray Said
14 Posted 24/09/2014 at 16:55:39
He may well have set a record for most saves in Europa League and that sums up the problem-the defence should be giving him better cover so he isn't having to make 10-15 saves in a game.

When Coleman scored from a Baines cross the other day, I looked up the pitch and we had both full backs in the box, two wide attackers pushing up and wide, a defensive mid dropped back in between the two centre backs and down both wings were acres of space, behind the centre backs were acres of space. The team is unbalanced. If we are using attacking full backs then do we really need two wide attackers like McGeady/Atsu as well-do these players have the ability to cover the full backs when the backs have pushed beyond them?

If we are sticking with two attacking full backs then go with three centre mids so we can cover wide and central when the full backs push on. Some periods of the game we have six players attacking and four defending/covering. Get a better balance-five attacking and five defending/covering. The individual defensive mistakes may stop if the defenders are covered better by the midfield.

Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 24/09/2014 at 17:22:17
Steve Ferns(3) so would you keep Timmy or find a replacement.

As for myself, I saw him play for Man Utd. So I Wouldn’t have signed him in the first place due to all the faults highlighted by yourself and others on here.

Mike Owen
16 Posted 24/09/2014 at 17:32:54
I do wonder if Howard is another one who may be suffering some kind of World Cup hangover. I know he was praised to the skies for his performances in the tournament but how much did it take out of him, physically and mentally? Not much rest for him. In fact, how many summers has he had off?

I have not checked stats but he often seems CONCACAFed-up, flying to some far-flung game organised by the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football to play for the US. Is there anyone with more air miles? I'm basically happy with Tim, but the lad wants to put his feet up now and again. A weekend in New Brighton would do him the world of good.

Colin Williams
17 Posted 24/09/2014 at 17:09:40
Tim Howard 10 years ago was inconsistent and a very average goalkeeper with Man Utd, that’s why they shipped him out. During his time with the Blues he’s be very lucky to have manager’s who believes in him.

How the feck they could see a good goalkeeper in him, I will never know! He causes so many problems for the back four with his poor decision-making within the 18-yd box and his overall general game when defending our first third of pitch. Also, his ability to come and claim any type of cross from wide areas is the poorest I have ever seen from a Premier League goalkeeper.

He should have been shipped out years ago, he is shitte!! And the sad thing is, there are quite a few more players of ages 30 plus who are in a similar position (way past their sell-by date) who are weakening our progression as a top five Prem club. We are fecked until players are released from our club.

Mike Gaynes
18 Posted 24/09/2014 at 17:52:19
Frustrating though the past week has been, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Howard that hasn't been a problem before -- he fails to command in the air and flaps at crosses. Always has, always will. Some keepers are just better staying on their lines... the aforementioned Casillas being a prime example.

But Howard remains an outstanding shot-stopper -- none of the dribble-through-the-legs crap or the little tricklers under the body that we've seen from so many "better" keepers in the Prem (Hart especially). Howard makes every save he's supposed to make and a few that other keepers don't make, particularly reflex saves at close range. And I'd suggest that his distribution, once among the worst in the Prem, has actually improved significantly under Roberto.

Do we need another keeper? Hell yes, as soon as possible. Maybe it's Robles, maybe not (certainly what I've seen doesn't fill me with confidence, but bad hands are curable with the right coaching). However, while the need for a backup is urgent because of the heavy schedule, I'm not ready to write off Howard based on his current sour patch. I've seen him come back strong from these stretches before, and age is irrelevant for a well-conditioned keeper.

Peter Cummings
19 Posted 24/09/2014 at 17:55:05
It seems as if IÂ’m not the only poster who has spotted the flaws in HowardÂ’s makeup. In my case, it has been his consistent failure to dominate the penalty area and inability to cope with high balls into the box.

Sure,on his day he is unbeatable, as we saw in the World Cup and vs Wolfsburg; it is also a fact that we have no reliable cover for him. On another note, he is often left stranded by poor defending which has proved to be our undoing since day one of this, so far, disastrous season, which a lot of Evertonians think will continue into the next few weeks.

I believe with the return of our walking wounded, Coleman, and Pienaar, and those ’rested’ for the cup debacle – Jags, Baines, Mirallas,Naismith, etc – we can put up a better performance in the derby because their latest results have proved that, without the Sewer Rat and, hopefully, Sturridge, their biggest threat is Sterling.

I would start both Atsu and EtoÂ’o, with Lukaku on the bench. Besic to me is a risky option with his dodgy tackling style. I just hope Barry and McCarthy can curb their Â’enthusiasmÂ’ too.

Les Fitzpatrick
20 Posted 24/09/2014 at 18:29:10
If you pay a footballer/goalkeeper mega bucks per week, whether they are performing or not, I imagine it is quite difficult to motivate them into improving their fitness,conditioning and or their technique.

When you have the likes of calamity Howard, Osman, McGeady, Distin etc all not performing, or, up to standard in the first place on the pitch at the same time you are going to struggle.

As in many types of commerce once people know they can fall below an acceptable standard and still be paid, and they are not chastised or placed on notice to improve, or be shipped out the door, a collection of individual players will not function as a team.

Martinez needs to get a grip before itÂ’s too late.... WE ARE EVERTON. Not WIGAN. Relegation is not an option.

If Howard is not up to it, give Robles 3 or 4 games; he has to get experience somehow, he canÂ’t be much worse than Howard.

Same scenario with Distin and Alcaraz, tor just use Stones and consign Distin to the bench for 10 games or so.

For godÂ’s sake, Martinez, get a grip.

Mike Price
21 Posted 24/09/2014 at 19:16:23
Never rated him, his tendency to end up outside the frame of the goal or over the goal line, ergo no possible way to stop a goal drives me mad. His lack of ability to command the area is ridiculous and affects the rest of the team.

I'm a fan of the manager but have always been worried by his lack of ruthlessness and his faith in Howard, 2-year contract to Hibbert and no nasty winners anywhere in the team has really set alarm bells going.

Mike Gaynes
22 Posted 24/09/2014 at 19:57:26
Mike Owen #16, Howard left the US national team program after the World Cup and won't be flying off to CONCACAF games this year.
Alex Trevalyn
23 Posted 24/09/2014 at 20:34:29
Spurs keepers: Lloris, Vorm & Freidel.
Kevin Tully
24 Posted 24/09/2014 at 20:40:24
Lost count of the number of times I have said at the game 'Should've come for that one, Tim.'

He's not a bad 'keeper, but he has always lacked that instant decision making that all the best goalies possess. Hesitancy has always been his downfall, and he's not going to change now.

Like the rest of the team though, he will find his form, and we will go back to thinking he's a decent 'keeper.

He does need replacing, but not just yet. Forster will prove to be the best 㾶m Southampton have ever spent, but we don't have that sort of money, do we?

Dean Adams
26 Posted 24/09/2014 at 20:57:56
No keeper should have to make as many saves as ours does on such a regular basis. The problems with this team stem from the lack of defensive cover being offered by the midfield. I mentioned a few days ago that we really do not need wide forwards when the fullbacks push on, unless those same forwards are capable of tucking in and covering the spaces. The dynamics of playing the way we do means that we push forwards slowly, but end up committing players forward, only to lose the ball cheaply ( see McGeady and Osman) which leaves our defense exposed. WE end up making all opposition forwards look good because they have so much time and space.

By contrast when we attack most of the time we allow the opposition defence plenty of time to regroup, often more than once per attack and so space is not afforded to our forwards and they fail to find the composure to put the ball away as often.It all seems good and exciting to have lots of possession in the opponents half, but we look so much better when we ghost forward at pace and don’t have time to think. In those instances the defence also have no time resulting in quick incisive goals.

Generally we are far too slow in our play and it is costing us as most clubs have worked us out.

Jay Harris
27 Posted 24/09/2014 at 21:23:34
Why pick on Tim Howard or old father times.

IMO that is ridiculous some of the best defenders have been in their 30s in their peak.

The problem is with the manager.

He consistently had the worst defensive record in the Prem and it took him half a season to get Everton to Wigan standards.

The defenders and GK are always going to look bad when they consistently come under pressure.

The whole squad look unfit and directionless.

They pass the ball around with no purpose.

Preseason was an abomination which some fans thought was meaningless but it wasn't taken heed of by the hierarchy and our lethargy has spilled over to this season.

Mike Price
28 Posted 24/09/2014 at 21:38:26
I agree Jay #27, shocking pre season and there is no excuse for players to be unfit and/or 10 lbs overweight like Lukaku.
Getting a bit sick of some people being so 'nice' and over the top positive all the time too.
Harold Matthews
29 Posted 25/09/2014 at 00:07:28
We are not talking about the manager. We are talking about Howard.

My opinion of our goalie has never altered. A fantastic shot-stopper but a nightmare with time to think. The 2nd Palace goal was not the first time he has completely misjudged the flight of a ball. When Kone nodded one in for Wigan Howard could have leaned forward and took it off his head. Instead, he dived to his left, did a forward role and came up with his mouth wide open. When Johnson trapped a cross and scored for Sunderland he rolled the ball into the space vacated by Howard who thought the cross was headed 20 feet to the left. It goes on and on and on.

Totally silent when things are happening, he screams like a madman when the action has finished. Unfortunately he has a long contract and Martinez will never drop him. Robles gets no gametime but was good enough to displace El Hadji at Wigan. It's a pity we didn't send him out on loan.

Gavin Johnson
30 Posted 25/09/2014 at 01:19:19
Howard's always been a calamity goalkeeper, a bit of a David James type. Would be at the level of Southall and Schmeichel if it wasn't for the f**k ups that down grade him to the best of the rest level. I couldn't have put it better than John Daley's Buster Gonad analogy which made me laugh.

Unfortunately for him he probably had his worst game in the Everton goalkeeping jersey at a time when the back line is being scrutinised more than any time in his tenure. I think you've got to place the blame with Bobby with the signing of Robles. After all Tim Howard is just being Tim Howard. I was hopeful when we signed Robles He was young, had a good pedigree and had dislodged the other keeper at Wigan who everyone used to rave about. But it looks as though Bobby's lost faith in him and we're back to square one with inadequate cover.

Personally if there was any way it could happen I'd love us to sign Valdes on a free and sell Howard to a MLS team while his stocks still high .

As for the rest of Dad's army I wouldn't mind if I never saw Osman, Distin and Hibbert in a blue shirt again

Dave Abrahams
31 Posted 25/09/2014 at 08:39:41
Thanks, Harold, for putting the focus back on Howard.
Dan Hollingworth
32 Posted 25/09/2014 at 09:14:00
So glad I am not the only one who makes this point. Howard has been too suspect for a long time now. He cost's us way more points than he gains us.

Unfortunately Everton fans love a yard dog and one good performance gets the whole ground screaming USA! USA! USA!, and as a result of this see's him buy another 10 games.

If the ball is hit straight at him, he has a big presence and body and he makes the save. But other players know now, just put it the side of him and on target and you will score.
Even in the world cup game, every single shot Belgium had at him was hit straight at him.

I personally think we should go all out for Asmir Begović at Stoke. 27 years old, probably cost you 10Million (Don't know if we have that) but he is a proven stopper, and will give you 5-6 quality seasons.

David Ellis
33 Posted 25/09/2014 at 09:13:49
If our first choice backline becomes Coleman, Stones, Jags and Baines it is neither old or rubbish. 3 are current England internationals and Coleman would walk into the English team.

As for Howard like other posters I cannot understand where the OP is coming from. Yes he has a had a calmatous couple of games, but last season was his best ever, there is certainly no evidence that he is declining (he's always had the odd clanger as every 'keeper has, even Big Nev) and 'keepers can go on until the end of their 30s - there's still 3 or 4 years left in Howard.

Not so sure about Distin though.......

Rick Tarleton
34 Posted 25/09/2014 at 10:54:28
As stated by so many including myself, Howard is little different now to when he left United. I'm intrigued by the idea of commanding the penalty area , the way Southall or West used to do. It's very rare now to see keepers come out and grab all the crosses, at corners modern keepers stay glued to the line. The marking of the goalkeeper which basically began with Leeds in the 60s has made it more difficult, but keepers like Southall, Jennings or Shilton were definitely the bosses of their areas. Only Cech in recent seasons seems to be willing to attempt to be more positive. Every club now has a goal-keeping coach, a specialist, presumably the keepers are told to be shot-stoppers.
Gary Drain
35 Posted 25/09/2014 at 11:15:07
Tim Howard has been a great keeper for us over the years! He can't be blamed for having a a defence that has been told to pass the ball out from their own goal line! Yes, he has made the odd blunder but any mistake made by a keeper usually/inevitably leads to a goal.

His fitness, speed and reactions in my opinion are up there with the best in the league and I think we should be grateful for the service he has given us over the years as well as saving our asses on more occasions than he has made a mistake.

John Barnes
36 Posted 25/09/2014 at 11:27:42
As others have said, Howard is no different now from when he joined us. I've personally never rated him as being more than average PL standard, similar to the club's and team's level over much of the same period.

Capable of great days but too often slipping below even mediocrity to be considered top drawer. How come we expect more than that now?

I agree with many on here that his days do look numbered now and we should be able to count to the end of the next window to find out how many that will be.

Moving away from the heading on the OP, the manager is solely responsible for not dealing with the situation before it became a problem... or is that inability going to stop him, in turn, being top drawer? Are we expecting too much of the manager?

Sam Hoare
37 Posted 25/09/2014 at 12:39:19
Not much fresh to add. Tim is better than he has been this week. He is however as already stated not consistent and not controlling of his area. I'd probably rate him mid-table in terms of Premier League goalkeepers. We could do better; having a second choice who seemingly offers no real competition does not help.

Perhaps Martinez has been loath to change too much too quickly but the stalwarts Howard, Distin, Osman and Jagielka have all started the season very slowly, not to mention Tony Hibbert who really is not a Premier League right back any more and should not have been offered a new contract. (Why was Browning not playing there on Thursday?!) Fresher blood needed.

John Crook
38 Posted 25/09/2014 at 12:58:02
We are at the stage now where Tim Howard would be an ideal backup keeper but we need a much more consistent Number 1 goalkeeper.

Seems Peter Cech is looking for a game?

Sean Patton
39 Posted 25/09/2014 at 13:27:50
I agree with a few posts above namely we should have sold him in the summer to the MLS when his stock was high I would seriously consider doing this in January if the poor league form continues.

Begovic is a great shout I would have gone all out for Navas from Costa Rica after the World Cup, maybe a cheeky loan bid for Cech from our feeder club and Marshall is another option.

Jim Harrison
40 Posted 25/09/2014 at 14:18:17
A good keeper who has been as consistent as anyone else in the league over the past 6 seasons barring Cech, but probably his last first choice season. Robles looks shit to me, and generally second choice keepers don't make the step up to first at their current club too well. Lindegaard would be a good choice for me. Solid, experienced, at 30 has 4 to 5 years to go and wouldnt cost as much as someone like Bergovic (who to be honest is pretty much a younger Howard)
Craig Walker
41 Posted 25/09/2014 at 15:03:29
Completely agree about Howard. He's been a good servant for our club but he always has a costly mistake in him. In all the time that I've supported the blues - 37 of my 40 years - I've only known us have two truly great goalkeepers: Southall and Martyn. The latter, we should have signed before he went to Leeds. We've had some shockers down the years: Gerrard, Simonsen, Wright etc. I'm always amazed that we sign keepers and they only ever serve as Tim's deputy. I thought Mucha was decent when he was given the opportunity a few years' back.

In terms of the defence in general, I think there were signs last year that we were struggling. The own goals at Southampton. The butchering by the RS. Switching off at a free-kick at Spurs and losing the game to their only shot. We got a lot of luck at times last season. I remember was it Barry getting away with a possible red card against West Ham and Seamus rescuing us with a mis-kick at home to Cardiff. In the draw at home to the RS, Joe Allen missed an absolute sitter to make it 3-1 I think. Things seem to be going against us at the moment. A good result at Anfield could act as a spring board to our season but history isn't on our side. I hate derby games. It's a magical feeling when we win but one we've experienced too infrequently.

Paul Ferry
42 Posted 25/09/2014 at 17:06:41
Just a few points if I may.

(1) David Ellis – 4: As for Howard like other posters I cannot understand where the OP is coming from”.

“Other posters” should more properly and correctly be “the minority of other posters”! Thankfully the majority of posters on this thread – and it”s so good to see that it has created a healthy diversity of shades and strands of opinion – do see why a discussion of Howard and our keeper situation is both timely and necessary. Heck, even Martinez has now had a few things to say recognizing – unlike David – that our defending and goalkeeping this season has become as issue.

(2) Dick Brady – 4: “Tim Howard conceded the third lowest number of goals in the Premiership last season ” Tim Howard was also incredible against Wolfsburg – I don’t like these knee-jerk reactions after every single game. I try to look at the big picture–.

The first thing to say is that in my case at any rate is not at all knee-jerk” and to call it so suggests a lack of attention to detail. I make it clear – as others have also done – that my concerns are not based on the last few matches or so but a longer term pattern pf inconsistency (the last few matches do, however, make the need for such a debate as this more pressing).

The point about last season adds little of substance to this thread. Howard alone did not concede the third lowest number of goals, the defence did – and I also make it clear that while my post is about Howard the “issue” is a much bigger one than him alone. Also, and this logic bewilders me: if on that basis we were the third best defence (or in Dick”s formulation: we had the third best keeper), we now at this moment in time have the worst defence and/or keeper! Making David the need for a discussion such as this here, at Finch Firm, or anywhere else extremely timely and absolutely necessary. I care about now, and this season is uppermost in my thougths and concerns not the last. The Wolfsburg point simply backs up all that I and the majority of here have been saying; Howard has been inconsistent for to many years now.

Consistency, Dick, consistency! On Tuesday”s forum you were hammering the defence and goalkeeping and posted that you now agreed that there was a real problem at the back. Admittedly, your own inconsistency is a nice and neat analogy for Tim Howard”s own inconsistency, but you do appear to be quite slippery in the positions you hold at this particular point in time. You are absolutely right, however, to point out that Howard “should be under close scrutiny” and that he “needs our support” against them. I hardly imagine that anyone doubting Timothy would wish him and us nothing else but 100 per cent success.

(3) Jim Knightley – 6: “I can’t believe the absurdity of some of the points this article appears to be making... Shots on targets in relation to goals scored this season!? Yes, because that makes alot more sense than considering the entirety of last season. I’m with Dick on this one”.

Your second “Dick/last season” point has already been addressed. You might not be able to believe in your words “the absurdity” of some points but thankfully others do and you are in a precise minority of one in using this word. There is nothing at all “absurd” in what I and others have to say and if you do not oyurself think that the ratio of shots on target and goals conceded has a relevance for goalkeeping and defending then, well, I don”t quite know what to say!

I wonder at what point that this trumpeting of last season – largely irrelevant I believe – starts to take on the appearance of “absurdity” if – IF – there is not substantive improvement in the near future.

But as Dick says lets hope that this is a “blip”. Martinez it would seem is taking notice and there”s every reason to believe that this will bear fruit.

Rick Tarleton
43 Posted 25/09/2014 at 18:38:32
I remember us winning 4-0 with a few reserves in, but it was in the mid-sixties, recent results and recent refereeing experiences, leave me feeling gloomy. I'll stick to my prediction earlier in the week on this site, 7-5 to the other side given the quality of both defences.
Conn Prosser
44 Posted 25/09/2014 at 20:04:56
So many ex-Liverpool strikers on ToffeeWeb... I digress.

If Robles was 5% less shit, Howard would be that bit more focussed, the defence would be more confident and there would be two or three less goals conceded and more points on the board. Obviously i'm not blaming Robles, but it is such a shame that he isn't up to the standards expected of him.

If Howard saves an early Gerrard penalty on Saturday and we go on to win 3-2, all this talk will evaporate.

Mike Gaynes
45 Posted 25/09/2014 at 21:09:36
Sean #40, I'd like some of what you're smoking. Begovic is a great shout? Yes, if the shout is "oh shit!" Talk about howlers... his blunder against Norwich last year was way worse than anything Howard's ever done, and there was another against Wolves a couple years ago that was even more grim. No thank you.

And as to the others you mentioned, they're all fantasies... can you imagine the reaction if we spent 10 mil on a keeper last month?

Gary Edwards
46 Posted 26/09/2014 at 08:54:00
He needs to ditch that beard, ’kin upside down knobhead... James Hardin looks like a tit, what makes Howard think he looks any different?

We were there a bit early for the Chelsea game and watched Howard warming up... questionable attire and frankly a bit girlie.

Sean Patton
47 Posted 26/09/2014 at 13:43:15
Mike,

Two mistakes in two years then for Begovic, do you want me to list Howard's errors for the same period?

He has this horrible knack of diving behind the line so when the ball goes in he falls in with it, every time he is one-on-one, he just falls on his arse and sticks out a leg. He panics whenever a player is stood next to him at corners, he pulls out of dives if he thinks he will collide with the post.

I could go on but I am getting angrier with every balls-up of his I remember. As for the replacements, if Begovic is not your cup of tea, how about Butland? Surely a second-choice keeper from Stoke does not require inhaling dubious substances to become a reality.

Dan Hollingworth
49 Posted 28/09/2014 at 11:48:46
Yet again, we went a goal down through a shot he should have saved.
Dan Hollingworth
50 Posted 05/10/2014 at 18:03:42
Had to come back a re-visit this post after today.

Yet again we are wondering what might be due to a goal that Howard has cost us. When at the other end. Two outstanding saves from De Gea has won it for United. It's past the point of defending him. Robles might not catch crosses. But his positioning, general goal keeping and presence is all potentially better than Howard and it can't hurt to give him a run.

Just to go back over the last few games:

Man Utd - Stupid Clearence.
Krasnador - Pathetic attempt at saving the shot from Ari.
Liverpool - Should have saved the free kick
Swansea - Had a shocker
Palace - Missed the cross
Chelsea - Another poor performance.

He is costing us too many points!


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