Hero and Villain, it is a fine line in football but it is the finest of lines for a goalkeeper. What looks destined to be a world class save can easily become a costly howler. There isn’t a goalkeeper that knows this better than Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes. After a less than impressive start to his Lilywhites career, the Brazilian looked to have turned a corner and be establishing himself as a Spurs number one for years to come, however, in recent months the costly errors have crept back into the former PSV man’s game. Where would Spurs find themselves in the League and Europe if it weren’t for a few costly clangers from their keeper?
1- In the most recent hotly contested North London Derby, in which Tottenham heroically came back from two goals down to prevent Arsenal claiming the bragging rights until the next fixture between the two, but could the game have been more profitable for Spurs if Gomes hadn’t let Samir Nasri score? The ball was straight down his throat, in the middle of the goal; no keeper should be beaten by a shot in that position. Nasri’s goal made it 2-1 to the Gunners; at 1-1 Spurs had every chance of going on to win the game. Points cost: 2
2- Real Madrid second leg- ok, so I know Spurs were 4-0 down from the first leg, but stranger things have happened, especially for Spurs who appear to be the masters of coming back when defeat appears the only option; but as Gomes let Ronaldo’s tame effort in, Spurs’ European dream was over, for this season at least.
3- Whether it was a goal or not, the fact of the matter is Gomes made the ultimate goalkeeping clanger, allowing the ball to go through his body and roll into the goal. The Lampard ‘goal’ was crucial in swinging the tie in Chelsea’s favour, as Tottenham were about to enter their half time team talk against their London rivals 1-0 up, but this body blow on the stroke of half time allowed Chelsea into the game and ultimately costed Spurs a minimum of a point. Points cost: 1-3
4- One of the most bizarre and controversial goals you are ever likely to see in the Premier League was scored by Nani, when Spurs visited Old Trafford this season. Was it a penalty? Was it handball? Was it a free kick? Was it unsportsmanlike behaviour? One thing is for certain, Gomes’ stupidity to place the ball down without hearing a whistle cost Spurs a potential point, maybe even three. Points cost: 1
5- Perhaps Gomes is actually on Chelsea’s payroll, because the first time the two sides met this season Gomes also cost Spurs dearly. 1-0 up against the reigning Champions with twenty minutes to go and Gomes allowed Drogba’s shot to bobble over the line (although he did later redeem himself with a last minute penalty save), but ultimately Gomes cost Spurs two points. Points cost 2
Admittedly it is all ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’, and Gomes hasn’t single handedly derailed Spurs’ Champions League qualification dreams, but how vital could an extra seven points or so could have been to the Lilywhites European aspirations? As the current Premier League table shows: incredibly vital.