Thursday, 23 October 2014

Is Artur Boruc the best keeper in the Championship?

It is hard to look beyond the qualities of Artur Boruc in the Championship for a better keeper, but the on loan Saint's keep has plenty of competition even if his record has been outstanding in recent weeks. It is not surprise that when looking for the best keepers your eye is naturally drawn to the top of the table, and while you can claim that the keeper who has kept the most clean sheets or saved the most shots are good indicators, I suspect many fans will say their club's keeper is number one. 
Artur Boruc might not be able to put his hands on his knees
for long during games, but at least his hands are not the busiest in the Championship.
I believe it also depends also on who is playing in front of the shot stopper and how often a keeper is being made to work. In recent games Artur has thankfully not been worked too hard, but in some ways it is even harder for a keeper to suddenly be called into action and have to make a great save when he has been a virtual spectator for much of the game. Artur had only played five times for the Cherries before the Reading game and with 14 saves that was an average of below three a game. He had also picked up a yellow card in one game, so perhaps there is still even better to come for Artur.

My personal favourite in the Championship may surprise some of you, but I am not saying he is the best. It is Lee Grant at Derby County. He is agile and also imposing and has more than a season's experience now at this level. I know he has a great defence in front of him that had only let in 10 goals after 12 games, but he consistently keeps clean sheets for the Rams and is one that is only going to get better. 

Every one will also know two previous Premier league keepers at Watford and Norwich. Both Heurelho Gomes and John Ruddy will have their admirers, but I don't see them as keepers on the way up in their careers. A better pick for me is Karl Darlow on loan at Nottingham Forest. I can see why Newcastle came in for him. While he may not seem a big frightening character between the sticks, he is certainly one of those with outstanding ability. The saves he has made this season already have been highly regarded with 38 saves in 14 league and cup matches.

The other keeper that I think would rival Boruc for top spot is David Marshall at Cardiff City. Another former Premier League keeper, it is a wonder how come Marshall was not picked up be a Premier League club over the summer. He has had a slow start to the season though and Cardiff have let in 15 goals in their first 12 matches.
Is Artur No1 keeper in the Championship for you?
Yet for all the big names, if you check out who has let in the least goals this season in the early stages it is Dimitrios Konstantopoulos at Middlesbrough and before this season I bet hardly any of us had even heard of him. He had made nine appearances and 14 saves before this week's midweek game, which still puts him quite some way behind Karl Darlow in my opinion.

So, much as I might hate to admit it, if there was a keeper who I would say is No1 in the Championship at the moment, I'd probably go for Karl Darlow, but if Artur Boruc can be loured to extend his contact at AFCB past January, I can see him showing AFCB fans that he has helped saved many points for the team. Perhaps you think there is another keeper in the Championship who is currently the best? Let me know who and why?

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