Ralph Hasenhuttl made it clear during the summer that Southampton would stick with Alex McCarthy and Fraser Forster as his goalkeepers this season, but the former’s performances thus far suggest that this was the wrong call.
The Austrian manager confirmed earlier in the summer, when Southampton were being linked with a move for various goalkeepers, that McCarthy and Forster would remain as his main options in between the sticks this season after they rotated on a regular basis in the 2020/21 campaign.
Despite the regular changes in goal, Southampton still conceded 68 goals in the top-flight, which was the second-most of any side, which suggests that getting a new goalkeeper might have been a good idea.
Given that Southampton were expected to concede just 58.55 goals according to Understat, fingers must be pointed at the goalkeepers, who certainly underperformed for the Saints in the second half of the campaign.
Strangely, it has been reported that Southampton will be in the market for a long-term option in goal next summer, which is hardly going to do Hasenhuttl’s current options’ confidence any good.
Considering the way McCarthy – whose manager called him ‘fantastic‘ not so long ago – has started the new season, you could already argue that the Austrian manager has made a mistake in not pursuing a new goalkeeper for this season.
The former QPR man was slow to come off his line for Richarlison’s equaliser against Everton in the opening day, before being beaten to the ball by Dominic Calvert-Lewin for the Blues’ third.
He also looked anxious against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon and flapped at a number of crosses, before eventually being beaten by one of the visitors’ first real attempts on goal, a tame shot from Mason Greenwood that squirmed under the ‘keeper, despite it being hit straight at him with very little power.
Therefore, it is already time to give Forster an opportunity to start in goal, which Hasenhuttl may well do against Newport County in midweek, but in reality, a new goalkeeper should’ve been brought in this summer.