Written By Justin on Sunday, September 16, 2007 | 4:24:00 PM
Manchester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has made a dream start to his Premiership career. 4 wins from 6, 4 clean sheets, and City sit 2nd in the table (for now). Unsurprisingly, the British press whipped themselves into a premature frenzy over the son of the legendary Manchester United keeper Peter, speculating that he could solve the England goalkeeper crisis. Although technically he could qualify to play for England, he's Danish, and has made it clear we wants to play for Denmark. But the bigger point is, he isn't even ready to play for City, let alone England.
I hear from reliable sources that young Schmikes is a charming, modest, and hardworking lad, and I begrudge him none of his success. But my word, he's been unbelievably lucky in every game he has played. I can't remember the last time I saw a professional goalkeeper struggle so mightily with crosses. He flaps more than a hummingbird. His timing is worse than...I can't think of the right metaphor, but his timing is bad. Today against Villa, he came for and completely missed the first few crosses and corners that came his way, yet once again, he wasn't punished for it. SkySports rated him a 5. I don't think it's possible for a keeper who keeps a clean sheet to be rated lower. I do think he'll be a quality keeper one day, but right now he's far more lucky than good.
Another keeper who continues to struggle, but without the benefit of good luck, is Paul Robinson. 3 more goals allowed in the North London derby, two of them from outside the box, and the other a cross he came for and failed to claim. He can't be blamed for Adebayor's brilliant volley, but the Fabregas goal was just like so many of the goals he concedes from distance: a well struck shot that nobody blames him for. But upon inspection we find it wasn't way up in the top corner, but merely a few steps to his right. Robbo just doesn't get to these shots, and I'm getting tired of asking these questions - why doesn't he move his feet before he dives? Who is coaching him? And how soon until Martin Jol pays the price for another crushing defeat?
UPDATE, March 6, 2011: three-and-a-half years later and this post keeps getting hits. It turns out I was correct when I said young Kasper was not ready for the Premiership, yet I also suggested he would be a quality goalkeeper, and this indeed ha come to pass. Paul Robinson moved to Blackburn and almost immediately solved the footwork problem I bemoaned, and has been in sparkling form for two seasons now.