Thursday, 14 February 2013

Jalal is back to his best

Shwan Jalal warms up at Dean Court
After Tuesday nights magnificent result for the Cherries it should not go unnoticed that the man of the match for our team was Shwan Jalal. The newly reinstalled number one goalie has always been a great shot stopper, but it is arguable that he is now back to his very best.

Shwan has had a long road to taking back the coveted keepers jersey. Since his excellent 2010-11 season when he helped the club to six position and into the play-offs, only to narrowly lose out against Huddersfield Town in a penalty shoot off, Jalal has gone through major back surgery and most of last season in rehabilitation to get back on the pitch. He had to look on while Darryl Flahavan continued to be the first choice of Lee Bradbury and while he started this season as the top keeper he had a difficult start when he let a simple shot under his nobody in the first game against Portsmouth FC. Again, when Paul Groves brought in David James he found himself out of favour. But Jalal has a fighting spirit and his inspiring FA Cup performances this season against Dagenham and Redbridge, Carlisle and Wigan have propelled him back into the first team.

Eddie Howe has always been keen to pick Jalal when he is in top form and right now he is playing as if he has been the No1 keeper for some time. His kicking seems to have improved and he has marshaled the newly constructed back four well in his last few games. They need him to be dominant in his six yard area and coming to take crosses. His confidence is growing and there were times on Tuesday night when you could see that with his quick decision making to come off the line.

On his latest interview on Cherries Player, Jalal says it is not the competition that is making him up his game but his own self-motivation to play at his best. Well keep doing what you are doing Shwan, because your standards are extremely high. 

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