In Depth

Szczesny and De Gea: in praise of Premier League goalkeepers

Brilliant saves up and down the country as keepers prove their worth - video

ARSENAL goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny pulled off one of the saves of the season when he brilliantly tipped Robin van Persie's point-blank header onto the crossbar to earn Arsenal a share of the spoils against Manchester United. It earned him the man of the match award from broadcaster BT Sport, but Szczesny is by no means the only keeper who deserves plaudits after a week that has seen some fantastic work by goalkeepers up and down the country. "We need to have a moment of appreciation for the Premier League's young goalkeepers," says the Daily Mirror. "Szczensy and De Gea pulled off some impeccable saves, and both players left the pitch at the end of the match to rounds of boos and jeers from both sets of fans." But were it not for the Arsenal stopper's heroics – he also denied Van Persie early in the first half – and those of his opposite number, who made two fine saves at the death, the "boring" draw at the Emirates last night could easily have ended 2-2, in which case it would have been hailed as a "thriller".

With so much at stake and the critics ready to pounce on the losing side, both Arsene Wenger and David Moyes owe their keepers a big debt of thanks today. Brilliant goalkeeping rarely makes headlines, notes the Mirror, although The Times has at least begun showcasing the Premier League's best saves after each round of games. But although wonder-saves are routinely forgotten while wonder-goals are replayed for months, goalkeepers can have a massive influence on a team’s fortunes, inspiring victories and saving them from defeat. Elsewhere in the Premier League this week, Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris made several outstanding stops against Newcastle, which will go down as footnotes to their 4-0 win over the Magpies, while David Marshall of Cardiff almost gave himself whiplash as he pulled off an astounding last-minute save against Villa, and earn his side a point that could yet keep the Bluebirds in the top flight.

Hugo Lloris played class tonight. http://t.co/nxH9jVqOMG

— Football Vines (@Vine_Football) February 12, 2014

But they are not alone, also in the last few days inspired keeping from Julian Speroni of Crystal Palace and West Ham's Adrian ensured both sides earned three vital points, while Darren Bent's late equaliser for Fulham against Man United on Sunday was only possible because of the earlier excellence of Maarten Stekelenberg in nets.

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