More often than not, a good goalkeeper can keep a poor team out of the relegation zone, saving points here there and everywhere. So far, both Martin Dubravka and Joe Hart have had to do that for their respective sides, Newcastle and Burnley, but with the ‘keepers going head-to-head this weekend, we look at just who is the better of the two.
If we’re all being completely honest, no one had heard of Dubravka when Rafa Benitez opted to bring the Slovakian shot-stopper in on-loan in January. However, he was the cure to the problems that The Magpies never knew they even had. Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot simply aren’t good enough to be number one at St James Park, leaving the role open for Dubravka to step in and show the Premier League what he’s capable of, as he did against Manchester United on his debut, keeping a clean sheet as his side won 1-0.
Since that game against United at St James Park, no one has looked back when it’s come to Dubravka. He was signed in the summer permanently and the Magpies have so much faith in the shot-stopper to keep the opposition out. He’s already managed four clean-sheets this season under Benitez, even though his side has picked up just nine points from 12 games, seeing the Slovakian pull off 34 saves in the process.
TT GRADE: A
In complete contrast to Dubravka, Joe Hart is a name that has been kicking about for years. The English goalkeeper has turned out for Birmingham City, Manchester City, West Ham United and now Burnley in the Premier League and he was signed by Sean Dyche over the summer to fill in for the injured Nick Pope and Tom Heaton. After a rocky couple of years being left out of City by Pep Guardiola and struggling on-loan at Torino and West Ham, the 31-year-old looks to be getting back on track at Turf Moor.
Hart has, just like Dubravka, played every single minute of Premier League football for Burnley so far and whilst the Clarets hardly started well, he’s managed to help them kick on and find some form and has pulled off an astonishing 53 saves this season, more than any other ‘keeper in the Premier League. Whilst he doesn’t quite match up to the Newcastle man on clean sheets, it will hardly be something that hardly bothers him as he continues to cherish life in the Premier League when playing well again.
TT GRADE: B+
Whilst Hart may be getting back to form and could well force his way back into the England picture if he keeps it up all season, the way that Dubravka has solved the goalkeeping issue at St. James Park in such a short amount of time and going about it so under the radar as he has means he simply has to win this TT Battle, and he could find himself getting a big move to a top Premier League club soon.
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