Heurelho Gomes has had an interesting few seasons at Tottenham. Initially brought to the attention of Tottenham and Comolli after playing marvellously against us in the two-legged Uefa Cup ties against us for PSV Eindhoven when he denied Steed Malbranque in the final minute of extra time with one of his trademark reaction saves, and saved two penalties in the penalty shootout.
Sure enough, Spurs went down the route previously used by Comolli, and bought a keeper simply because he played well against us – Ben Alwnick.
He set spurs back 8 million, and although this was a man who kept clean sheets in 60% of his league games for PSV his arrival was met with scepticism because he had been playing in the Eredivise(Dutch League) which was known for being one of Europe’s weaker leagues.
In his first few months playing for Tottenham, it appeared Gomes was trying his hardest to join the list of spurs flops who had been bought for big bucks- he came rushing out for every set piece the opposition had with VERY limited success right up until Redknapp sacked Hans Leitert the goalkeeping coach after the fateful Fulham match in November 2008 when Gomes let a routine Simon Davies shot through his legs, much to the amusement of the Fulham fans.
I remember quaking every time the opposition had a corner in fear Gomes would rush out and drop the ball, or decide to take out a spurs player just like when he knocked out Vedran Corluka at Stoke.
It would have been very easy for new Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp to flog Gomes in the upcoming January transfer window seeing as he didn’t buy Gomes, and because Gomes was playing so badly.
Instead Redknapp kept faith in Gomes, and didn’t drop him which resulted in December 2008 Gomes having a brilliant match for Tottenham, and receiving a standing ovation from White Hart Lane after saving a Ryan Giggs free-kick that looked destined for the net.
January came, and Redknapp did buy a keeper – Carlo Cudicini, but Gomes remained, and continued to be the number 1 goalkeeper at spurs. For the second part of this season Spurs started to play well with the relegation fears washed aside and a respectable finish of 8th place obtained.
A key stat from that strange season was spurs only conceded 10 goals at white hart lane all season which is a record for spurs, and proof of how Gomes improved as the season progressed. It could be argued that this was because of Tony Parks the new goalkeeping coach, but Gomes not only played well, he established a strong relationship with the spurs fans with his comic routine before each match when he touches the crossbar, and celebrating madly like someone in the shelf when spurs scored.
It didn’t help either that Gomes had an injured rib at the start of that season, but as all spurs know Gomes happens the goalkeeper who gets ‘injured’ the most i.e he’s a wimp. The highly successful 2009/10 season was Gomes at his finest best. He arguably won us the north London derby against Arsenal when in the second half he made amazing saves time and time again, and versus Man City in the penultimate game of spurs’ season he played really well again.
Yes, he did have moments when he went down injured far too easily as well as giving away a penalty on the opening day of the season, but I genuinely believed that last season the only goalkeeper that was better than Gomes was Shay Given. However, this season has for Gomes has resembled something more similar to the first few months of Gomes’ spell at Spurs having been sent off at Inter Milan, spilling the ball from his hands from routine shots, and giving away penalties needlessly.
On Sunday against Chelsea Gomes was majorly at fault for Drogba’s goal, making a hash of a seemingly simple save, and giving away a penalty in the last minute, but in true Gomes style he saved the penalty, and came out of the match with a little of his integrity left in tact.
Personally I feel Heurelho Gomes is a good goalkeeper because he has proved over the last few seasons that he can respond to the errors he makes, and in high-pressure situations more often than not Gomes comes out on top, and be considered reliable.
Despite this, I feel Gomes is also an inconsistent keeper due to the fact he has returned to weak form of old when it looked like it was behind him. He was always make the headline saves, and have the good-natured personality because that is what Gomes is all about, but my major worry with Gomes is if this bad spell continues it could have disastrous effects for spurs in the upcoming months where the race for finishing in the top four and the champions league is at stake.
If we really want to push on as a football club, and start challenging for titles can we really afford to have a goalkeeper of which we are not sure which Gomes will show up?
My hope is that Gomes gets through this, and returns to his fantastic form because he is now a big part of Tottenham’s recent history and in my opinion should be remembered for being much better than Paul Robinson ever was – but if he continues to make mistakes I fear we might need to invest in a new keeper.
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