‘Fraser Forster Can Save Southampton’: The dream ‘keeper returns in full form…
Arsenal are hungry for more from the Premier League, but they haven’t been constantly convincing throughout the current season. Had Maarten Stekelenburg been in goal for Southampton against Arsenal last night, then the tale could have been different to a goalless draw, and Arsène Wenger’s men could have waltzed away with three points. However, one of Southampton’s strongest weapons, undeniably, was back to throw the Gunners off course; this being Fraser Forster, of course.
One of the chief reasons that Southampton always seemed to have total control for most of their 2014/15 campaign was because their goalkeeper was extremely trustworthy under pressure. Firm hands are often the difference between a decent team and a watertight structure.
Since Forster was ruled out of play last season due to injury, Ronald Koeman was adamant that it could be for up to a year out of action. However, some mild training began again for Forster back in November, and he soon put the division to rights when he returned to the pitch on 13th January, assisting his team with some paramount saves in their 2-0 triumph over Watford.
The 27-year-old has always been far superior to Southampton’s recent shot-stopper, Fulham loanee, Stekelenburg. Although he has indeed saved Saints from some really dire situations, his lack of clean sheets has cost Koeman’s men some extra points; had Forster been in goal, perhaps they might have walked away with more wins up their sleeves, rather than some pesky, but fortunate, draws.
To make his mark on a new month, Fraser Forster was utterly sublime in their showdown against Arsenal yesterday evening. Mesut Özil and Laurent Koscielny both posed threats for Southampton, but Forster was quick and decisive, leaving no margin for error that Wenger’s boys could cash in on.
Although Arsenal’s fearless leader is targeting his team’s lack of finishing ability as the key crux of the 0-0 score, it’s safe to presume that it was the run of about ten top class saves from Forster that kept the Gunners away. Arsenal now sit fourth on the table, and Southampton seventh. So, despite what first appeared a rather woeful bid for Koeman’s squad at the beginning of the season back in August, things are shaping up rather well now, especially with a new injection of faith among the fans.
The state of affairs has been poor of late for Southampton, with many wondering whether Sadio Mané can better his finishing, or whether Graziano Pellè can shake off his funk. The inclusion of Charlie Austin has settled those striking qualms just slightly, and shown off precisely how outstanding Saints can be when the team is oiled and clinical, and when every player is concentrating on those all-important three points.
With more consistent chess pieces standing firm, the team can be even sharper along the back and up front. Their weaker areas should now be shrugged off, with a newly installed set of key members in pivotal positions – notably, in attack, ready to pounce and steal the ball from the opposition, and now, in the goal mouth. Fraser Forster is, therefore, definitely one saviour for Saints and will be able to restore his team to their prestigious regard as Premier League underdogs.