Sunday, 28 January 2018

Begovic is at the top of his game

I was as optimistic as any fan when Eddie Howe decided he would target Asmir Begovic to come to the club. It had been a few years since I had remembered Begovic playing for Stoke and even longer when he was at AFCB for a while, but I knew he wasn't a bad keeper. What he was doing on the bench at Chelsea baffled me but I still thought it might be a gamble making him the Cherries' number one, as Arter Boruc had still won player of the season last year, even if we knew he would make the odd mistake himself.
Begovic can look forward to trying to keep Chelsea out at Stamford Bridge this week.
When Begovic started to play for Bournemouth as the number one he wasn't exactly amazing. The goals were going in against  WBA and Watford, but at the wrong end. Having a new keeper might not have been all of Bournemouth's problems but it was an additional thing that the team had to get used to at the start of this season. But Eddie Howe kept faith in Begovic and a few clean sheets started to come. But the saves that he has started to make since November have suddenly shown Begovic is a complete keeper. In fact, I'd go as far to say that the Cherries have one of the top 10 keepers in the league and that is not bad company when you are talking about De Gea, Ederson, Pope, Pickford, Lloris, Courtois, Gomes, Schmeichel and Butland. Arsenal fans might be getting a bit annoyed right about now!
What I like about Begovic now though is that he is coming off his line earlier and catching the ball from crosses. The match against West Ham also saw him stop Arnautovic more than once with his quick thinking and his decisive decision-making. The reaction save in the first half was as good as I have seen from any keeper and while Begovic has not kept as many clean sheets as he might, the gap now between him and what we have seen from Boruc has suddenly grown into quite a big gap.

What can Begovic do better? Well, I do want to see those clean sheets and I think his kicking can still be a bit ropey at times. I suppose he is similar to Boruc in some one these respects, but there is no doubt at the moment about who is number one at AFCB and I just would not have thought that at the start of this season. 

Of course, he will want a clean sheet against Chelsea above all other teams so let's see what he can bring to AFCB for this next match.

1 comment:

  1. For me he is fantastic. I’ve watched the Cherries regularly since the mid 90s and he is the best keeper we have had since then. Defensively we are getting better and better and I believe he marshals the defence well.

    On an aside - with Francis becoming less certain of starting do you see a change in the captaincy afoot? Provided (touch wood) we remain in the PL do you see the necessity for change and if so who floats your boat?

    World Cup Willy