The Champions League semis are set, with United and Arsenal squaring off in the now-obligatory 'all Premiership' semi, and Barcelona and Chelsea battling in the equally obligatory 'Barcelona vs. the other Premiership team' semi. Let's have a look at the current form of the goalkeepers:
Edwin Van der Sar, Manchester United
It was more of the same for Slim Ed against Porto: clean handling, few challenging saves. The Dutch ace is by far the most experienced keeper still in the tournament, having played in three finals, winning two. United know what to expect from him, and with Ferdinand and Vidic back in defense, they should again be tough to crack.
Lucas Fabianski, Arsenal
At the other end of the experience scale is Fabianski, deputizing for the injured Manuel Almunia, who may or may not play a part. Fabianski has looked solid in his few outings, showing a willingness to come for balls played almost anywhere in the box. Almunia played most of the 2006 Final after Jens Lehman was sent off.
Victor Valdes, Barcelona
The oft-maligned Valdes has been in reasonable form for high-scoring Barca, but chances are Chelsea and in-form Didier Drogba will put him to the test. Nobody can match the depth and dynamism of Barca's attack, but they'll need to keep them out too if they want to win their second European title in four years.
Petr Cech, Chelsea
Who would have guessed that the biggest question mark would hang over Chelsea keeper Peter Cech? His shaky performance in the home leg against Liverpool came on the heels of a shaky performance against Bolton in the league. All the attention will be focused on the Czech keeper, and given Barca's attacking strength, it's probably not a stretch to predict that if he doesn't play well, Chelsea will go out.
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Man, I wish Barca and Real Madrid could trade keepers! Then I wouldn't have one giant reservation about Barca being one of my favorite clubs. Valdes is just annoying. Poor and falsely cocky.
BTW, keep up the good work. I know this is a fairly casual blog, but I always dig the content.
Thanks Josh! Valdes is in a strange situation at Barca. He's let them down a few times, but they don't seem at all interested in upgrading. It's scary to think how good they'd be with Casillas or another top class keeper in goal.
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