On the third week of the Premier League season, Patrick
van Aanholt scored deep into stoppage time to claim Crystal Palace’s first win at Old
Trafford since 1989. Immediately after the goal, there were questions
asked of how Manchester United keeper David De Gea was beat at his near post. As per the
maxim, everyone knows that goalkeepers shouldn’t be beaten at their near post. Right? Few things are more irritating than misinformation
surrounding the goalkeeper position, and this myth is right at the top of the list. If the
ball goes in at the far post, criticism rarely follows. But if it sneaks in at the near post,
fans and pundits are quick to pass blame. It’s lazy
analysis, and something that doesn’t make sense. There is a quote that Borussia Dortmund keeper
Roman Burki attributed to Kasper Schmeichel a couple of years ago that sums up this point:
“Anyone who has played in goal knows it’s a huge area and you try to cover the whole
goal. You can’t try and cover the whole goal and guarantee the ball won’t go in
at the near post if it’s a great shot. Near post, far post, you try to cover it all and
you’re not happy if it goes in anywhere.” There are far too many variables involved
— the angle, distance, speed and height of the shot, and reaction time (just to name
a few) — to say the ball should never go in at the near post. Truthfully, a goalkeeper of De Gea’s quality
should be expected to save that sort of shot, but the fact it went in at the near post is
irrelevant. Are there moments when a keeper exposes their near post leading to an easy
goal? Yes. But this wasn’t one of those instances. While De Gea wouldn’t have been upset because
of where it went in, he will been disappointed at how. It all stems from a breakdown in one
of the most basic goalkeeping fundamentals: his set position. When facing shots from in and around his six-yard
box, De Gea likes to keep himself quite upright as he gets set (even as the shooter is coming
towards him), using his tall, lanky frame to cover as much of the goal as possible.
His upper body is erect and square to the ball, his legs are bent and slightly wider
than shoulder-length apart, and his hands are around waist height. Against shots above his waist, he uses his
quick hand-eye coordination to tip balls up and over the goal. For balls that are low
and near his body, he relies on his exceptional ability to block shots with his feet. It is
his body shape (in addition to his incredible reflexes) that allows his decision making
to be as fluid and exact as it is. When he gets his set position correct, he almost always
the correct choice between going for the ball with his hands versus his feet. Against Van Aanholt, De Gea did something
a little peculiar, and it made all the difference. Instead of being more upright, the Spaniard
chose to get set in a lower crouch position, with his legs bent significantly wider apart
than normal. This awkward set position created a hesitation in choosing the correct approach
to take against the shot. De Gea then got caught in the choice of whether
to use his hands or his feet to make the save. It wasn’t until the ball is almost halfway
to the goal (about six yards out, compared to the original 12) that De Gea began to manoeuvre
his body to make the save with his hands. Once the decision was made, De Gea would ideally
then want to fall towards the ball as quickly as possible, get a strong barrier behind it,
and push his hands forward to meet their target. Yet, he couldn’t. The lower half of his
body, specifically the right knee, was impeding the hands’ direct path to the ball. Whether it goes in far corner or near corner,
it’s still a goal. And it would be the same exact error, regardless. As inefficient as De Gea was on this shot,
credit must also be given to Van Aanholt. The location of the strike made life difficult
for the United No 1. It’s one of the areas goalkeepers call “black holes” . They
are the toughest areas to reach with their hands or feet. That’s not to say that De Gea shouldn’t
do better, because a goalkeeper of his quality clearly should, but it shows how vital a clear
mind and proper set position is, even for the most experienced players. Furthermore,
it serves to reinforce just how fine the margins between
a save and a goal truly are.

David De Gea & the Near Post Myth

100 thoughts on “David De Gea & the Near Post Myth

  • September 6, 2019 at 9:43 am
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    We're so pleased to be working with The Athletic – and we're delighted to say that for our viewers, the best way to support Tifo is to support The Athletic. Not only do you get to help us continue to make videos regularly, but in doing so, you get access to a treasure trove of football writing. https://www.theathletic.co.uk/tifofootball – Sign up now for your 30-day free trial and 50% off an annual subscription (that's about 8p per day).

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 11:39 am
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    Considering how regularly he gives them up at the near post over the last three seasons, this was not the ideal title lol

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 11:42 am
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    Pepe Reina at the back end of his Liverpool career faced similar criticism. Was that unwarranted?

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 11:44 am
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    Now do one where De Gea let's the ball go through underneath his armpits…

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 11:52 am
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    Is De Gea's set position atypical? I feel like I've noticed a lot of other good goalkeepers (Alisson is the main one as I'm a Liverpool fan) using a set position with their knees bet a lot, pelvises tilted posteriorly (imagine doing a sit-up, that's kinda what the back/hips look like), and their hands down very low.
    De Gea has such an exceptional ability to save the ball with his feet, so maybe it's a unique approach that works for him, especially for close shots.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 11:58 am
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    Could you do a video on Bill Hamid

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:04 pm
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    Football writing: exists

    The Athletic: 'It's free real estate'

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:07 pm
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    De Gea has been so far off his usual form for the last 2 years. Shoot at De Gea's near post and he probably won't save it like he used to, just like everyone shoots to Joe Hart's left when shooting from range, almost guaranteed a goal.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:08 pm
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    This is a WHOLE video on how it wasn't De Gea's fault that he got beat on the near post and how good he really is. Miss me like de gea did the ball bro.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:08 pm
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    The maxim holds true because it is such a large goal though. Don't be beat on near post thru the legs or a long shot. Anything else that goes in is fine so long as a true effort is given. This maxim is simply giving the goalie a reasonable standard because the net is so big!!!

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:09 pm
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    Only Man United would get a study about conceding a goal like this lool

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:24 pm
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    Now do a video about De Gea's World Cup and how the hell did he regressed at least a decade, please. (Yeah spanish football fans are still angry at him… a manequin would've done better).

    Oh and I guess it's a stupid question, but why do a lot of goalkeepers ignore their feet altogether? Sometimes you see them trying to block a shot by going down and putting their hands exactly a feet from where their foot was. Why don't just extend your leg dude? I feel like a lot of goalies could learn from futsal or handball goalies.

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  • September 6, 2019 at 12:28 pm
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    Although i get what you mean, i still disagree. When making a save at the near post, albeit from a tighter angle, a keeper should be saving it 8/10 times. Of course, if it's a fantastic shot straight in the top corner with lots of pace, fine. But any average strike should be saved. I'm not a goalkeeper, but it makes sense geometrically.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:37 pm
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    2:18 to hear alex say erect

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:38 pm
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    Do one on tibo curtios real Madrid keep legs cant keep close 😑

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:39 pm
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    Can you please make a video on Bayern Munich.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:42 pm
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    The man needs to leave Manchester United

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:47 pm
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    Tifo please make a video of how Manchester United finished 2nd in 2017/18 under Mourinho?

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 12:48 pm
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    This presenters over pronunciation is so annoying

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:03 pm
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    Still the best goal keeper in the world

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:03 pm
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    De Gea's shit mate

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:04 pm
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    if a shooter kicks it flat meaning little spin with top whip you can put 2 goals keepers that ball is going in. juninho and pirlo were the 2 main guys who could shock a ball to move so flatly that the keeper would have to literally be able to fly to have a chance.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:05 pm
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    If you look at De Gea’s performances throughout his career he shone under Moyes, was imperious in LVGs tenure and out of this world in Jose Mourinihos first two seasons..

    That being said his form for Spain during both LVGs and Mourinios tenure did not match, in which whenever I speak to the Spanish natives they don’t rate De Gea as a goalkeeper. Something Chris Sutton could never get his head round whenever de gea was in the topic of discussion.

    The one aspect I agree with in this video is the fact that punditry and TV analysis of the goalkeeping position is not only lazy but judged by outfield players who do not have a clue how to play in goal.

    in De Gea’s case his form decline has coincided with solskjars appointment, where we have one memorable performance to come back to which was the away victory at white hart lane. Where ironically Ole set them up in the Jose mourinho low block something that ole admitted to after the game.

    So why is this key?

    David De gea is a reactionary goal keeper he isn’t a space playing goalkeeper. Reactionary saves are beneficial in a low block system as the low block has a 80% success rate of reducing shooting angles meaning that a goalkeeper can rely on the reactions if shots do come through.

    Since ole has come in a higher defensive line and front pressing approach is being implemented in which more shooting angles are presented, more space is available behind the back line and more command of the box from the keeper is required. This ultimately requires a more dimensional approach in reading the game from between the sticks in which de gea does not possess. This has always been evident when he plays with Spain especially at the World Cup where he conceded 6 out of the 7 shots faced.

    If you look at both Ederson and Allison you often don’t see the acrobatic saves for the camera like you do with De gea.. you see a simple save where it caught or palmed away.. this is because their reading of the open game is on another level where they’re always in the right position for the phase of play.

    In addition no one ever picks up on the success rate of Allison or Edersons 1 v 1 saving ability. Both of them have the timing of their runs and body position down to a tee where they’re both favorites in the 1 v 1 position. Something de gea does not posses look at palaces first goal and how he came out.

    Goalkeeping is 70% mental 30% physical in which the mental side of the game makes a goalkeepers job much much easier…

    I will never forget what the Arsenal goalkeeping coach said to me and I quote “the reason why David Semen is the England Number one and not David James or Nigel Martyn, is down to their positioning and mental side of the game, Nigel martyn always looks great for his club, david James is alway athletic and agile but what they both lack in their games is both concentration and reading of the game. Semen will still pull of world class saves even though he’s not as agile as James… he will still pull of saves as the last line of defense although he is at as quick as Nigel Martyn, he will always do the routine saves when required after been quiet for 70 minutes something both James and Martyn we’re guilty of most often.” He further stated that Martyns performances in goal were based on how busy he was in the box, the busier he was the better his performances were where as if he was quiet he would often let in a blunder in the later minutes of the game”

    Since that conversation I’ve seen goalkeeping in a completely different way and understood how and why David Semen and Peter Schimicael (spelling) were amazing goal keepers.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:14 pm
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    Just a quick question, if i buy this sub to the athletic will i still get ads on their site?

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:15 pm
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    De Gea is ridiculously overrated. The only thing he was world class in was shot stopping and even that's letting him down now

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:20 pm
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    He is the world's third best, after Oblak and Ter Stegen.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:28 pm
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    Do you not produce your own content any more?

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:39 pm
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    The 2:19 – 2:53 part felt weird because he’s very often in that position when playing, and thanks to the vid I finally realized how much of a difference it makes

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:45 pm
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    Should've kicked it.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:52 pm
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    Fantastic analysis

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 1:54 pm
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    I like to watch city largely because of Ederson. He's unbelievable with the ball at his feet.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    De Gea is no longer the keeper he once was. Simple as that.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 2:03 pm
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    Very precise!

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 2:08 pm
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    With every single video you guys are climbing a new high, mate. Apart from Jonathan Wilson, I have never listened to anyone talking tactics and making it sound like bedtime story of unicorn and princes in faraway lands. All the best.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 2:15 pm
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    Can I drop all my uni courses and take your course on football

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 2:18 pm
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    Unpopular opinion:
    The ball has to go past 10 players before getting to the keeper, so it's never the keeper's fault.

    unless you're Leno…. or Lloris…

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 2:19 pm
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    You still did not explain why a goal scored in the near post is irrelevant.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 2:30 pm
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    Krasnodar and their owner, we want thaat storyyy

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 2:57 pm
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    As a keeper you're either a hero or a villain, there is no in-between

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  • September 6, 2019 at 3:18 pm
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    So de gea makes this mistake often then because he always gets beat there. And you need a video done on how he gets beat in the bottom low corner the middle near post and high near post mate . Common denominator he gets beat at the near post . And the Messi goal that went under his body . He’s checked out. That’s the analysis.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 3:21 pm
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    Near Post OP

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 3:48 pm
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    Could you please do a video on Brian cloughs tactics at Nottingham Forest

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 4:13 pm
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    Opinions of pundits are worth less than a 1 year old's babbling. Mediocre players in their yesteryears giving opinions on world class players

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  • September 6, 2019 at 4:26 pm
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    if I was through 1v1 vs a keeper, I invariably shaped as if I was going to put it in the far corner and actually aimed near post. One of the most effective methods to beat a keeper. Almost everybody aims for the far corner and if you can get the keeper shifting his weight that way, it is nearly impossible to readjust to the near post shot.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 4:31 pm
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    I remember perišić scoring a nearpost goal on de gea in the european championship to beat spain.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 4:32 pm
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    fuckin 2 ads? that's pathetic no thx

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 4:43 pm
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    Great video Joe!

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 4:54 pm
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    Thank you for clearing this up. I always thought the near post myth was absolutely ridiculous. Of course different goalkeepers with different styles will be better in different scenarios

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 5:13 pm
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    Can you do a video on Garry Monks tactics and how he’ll change wednesday?

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 5:45 pm
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    Always thought that it was lazy punditry to question being beaten at the near post…most of the people who point this out are usually former outfield players who’ve never played in goal anyway…

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 5:47 pm
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    IMO one of the goals that Ederson let past him against Spurs was way worse, I think it was Lamela's. His positioning was shocking.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 6:11 pm
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    Can you analyse Edersons poor positioning?

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  • September 6, 2019 at 6:26 pm
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    As someone who used to play goalie until I was about 14, even at that age I thought the near post "rule" was a stupid one.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 6:46 pm
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    Could you do a video on Dynamo Kyiv?

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 6:58 pm
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    Hey Tifo Football, kindly requesting if you could do an analysis of the Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo trio as well as the Messi, Neymar and Suarez combination. I’ve always wanted to know how they worked so well. Thanks

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 7:36 pm
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    It's sad that he lost his place to Kepa ….

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 8:32 pm
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    The fact he's been dropped for Spain for Kepa who is the inferior goalkeeper in literally every department , proves that Roberto Moreno doesn't have the slightest clue what he's doing

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 8:34 pm
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    How legendary was AC Milan .. those days ❤️🖤❤️🖤

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 8:35 pm
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    De gea was out of set position because he couldnt see the ball directly, and this didn't need a whole video break down. It wasn't even a mistake, it was just unlucky

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 8:40 pm
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    Did you change your microphone? It sounds like you're recording in a bathroom stall

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 8:53 pm
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    Please do a Lacazette playing-style analysis

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 9:44 pm
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    Another great article turned video! Keep going!

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 9:50 pm
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    Do you guys have shirts or hats? I would buy so much Tifo swag holy shit

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 9:59 pm
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    I am shocked to see tifo football look too far into something that doesn't exist…

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 10:13 pm
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    This channel deserves more traction. Data analysis and perspectives I've never considered come up all the time. Better than all punditry I see right now.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 10:14 pm
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    When are mugs gonna learn that a W in polish is a V sound? ł is their W. Wisła Krakow is Viswa Krakov

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 10:24 pm
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    He did the same stance against Monreal a few years back in the FA Cup at Old Trafford. i just think he doesn't picture Full Backs being so advanced in that position to take a shot at his goal, so those thought bubbles come into his head.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 10:44 pm
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    I was a top class street football goalkeeper couple years ago. Among the best in Kingston, Jamaica. I was sometimes call concrete hopper name derived from grasshopper due to my quick jumping and diving reflexes. Base on my experience I can tell you this much it seems way harder to save a quick shot coming in at my near pose compare to my far post. Most of the goals I've conceded are either swerving shot at my near post or deflecting shot off one of my team mates. While I conceded goals at my far post it wasn't a common thing why? Because most times I deliberately shut down one side of my goal and show the incoming player the far post. Kinda like leaving a trap waiting for him to get caught in it. He would then shoot far post most times in top corner and I would then saving it because I position my body to stretch with a quick jump or use my long legs top block low driven shot. If I show my far post and the striker goes near post it can at times catch me off guard especially if its a quick swerving shot. My diving and movement space are limited at near post compare to my far post. That's the main reason why at times my opponent score at my near post and I believe its another reason why goalkeeper playing professionally conceded goal at their near post as well. Quick shots and limited space to work with is dreadful.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 10:56 pm
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    all this great analysis and De Gea may just have lacked concentration, only De Gea knows how that went in because his normally comfortable with near-shots

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  • September 6, 2019 at 11:13 pm
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    Are you lot just going to re-post stuff from that site as opposed to your own original insight? Seems lazy.

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  • September 6, 2019 at 11:21 pm
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    You guys should do a gk myth series

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  • September 6, 2019 at 11:22 pm
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    You guys should do a gk myth series

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 11:32 pm
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    This makes me happy as a goalie and a United fan

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  • September 6, 2019 at 11:40 pm
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    De Gea is still by far best GK in the world. As a United fan, he is the only one in the team I would never change, not even when he makes a mistake.

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  • September 6, 2019 at 11:52 pm
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    Yeah nar not buying this as a keeper you don’t want to be beaten at your near post i for one fucking hate it, it’s a smaller gap hence why it’s your near post, smaller gap = harder to score, and most of the time being beaten at your near post is your fault

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 11:52 pm
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    3:14 same happened to buffon with Ronaldo's bicycle kick

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  • September 7, 2019 at 12:04 am
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    Hmm. Bad analysis imo. If someone is attacking the near post with the outside foot, a keeper needs to look toward blocking the near post first as the ball is struck. Then when it's too late for the shot to be going near post as evidenced by the way the foot has struck the ball, the keeper can start a dive to the far post. To just be in a 50/50 position, it's just not good enough in the pl. Most strikers are good enough to beat that.

    I think these keepers are just afraid of getting hit in the face, otherwise they need to close the gap and get their hands down to each side and do some feints to throw attackers off balance. Being 100% reactionary they'll get beaten.

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 12:11 am
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    Please can you make a video on Ben Godfrey from Norwich

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 12:23 am
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    There is a reason you are a YouTube channel and not a goalkeeping / football coach. Stick to delivering high level facts rather than acting as if you are an expert on everything.

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 12:39 am
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    Pundits and commentators have no clue how to praise or criticize goalkeepers tbh

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  • September 7, 2019 at 12:44 am
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    Your video does absolutely nothing to dispel the "myth" of allowing goals at the near post … it simply analyzes why one goal went in at that location

    if you really wanted to dispel this "myth", perhaps you need to take a wider scope of approach

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 12:45 am
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    I’d love to see a video by you guys talking about how Nicolas Anelka’s brother ruined raith rovers fc and how he basically paid his way to become owner and made himself the manager

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 1:17 am
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    Coutinho chipped the ball like 3 yards away at his near post lol

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 1:24 am
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    So he shouldn't face criticism for letting in a goal at the near post yet at the same time he clearly made a mistake in body position that allowed a goal at the near post against palace? Great insight…

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 1:47 am
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    This comment originally appeared in the Athletic!

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 2:52 am
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    the most overrated gk in the world.

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  • September 7, 2019 at 3:39 am
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    Idc how or why it went in, De Gea has been pissing me off since the beginning of 2019. Inconsistent play from one of the best in the world

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 3:50 am
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    De Gea has been a shitty goalkeeper at least for a year, and I don't see any signs of improving his form

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 3:51 am
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    The second half of last season we started to see more and more mistakes by DeGea, I think he's starting to reduce his form, his prime is already gone imo. Great keeper though

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 4:05 am
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    De Gea is definitely the best goalkeeper. ❤️

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 4:52 am
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    They just hating Dave is the best Goalkeeper I’ve ever seen

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 4:56 am
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    this video was annoying tbh

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 5:00 am
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    The lack of knowledge about the Goalkeeper position in the general football cognoscente is horrendous. As a Goalkeeper, the lazy punditry about 'near post', 'wrong hand' and 'the 'Keeper should do better' is infuriating.

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 5:29 am
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    Hardly beat him at the near post. It went through him. He’s been awful for 18 months. Dropped by Spain. Bad example. Tory.

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 5:50 am
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    the narrators voice is so annoying

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 6:33 am
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    Most of the critics aren't and weren't goalkeepers

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 6:54 am
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    "It's lazy analysis, and something that doesn't make sense." One of my favourite quotes of all time. Perhaps you could also bust the myth about "leaning back" every time a shot goes over the bar.

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 7:12 am
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    I hate the "any ball inside the small area should be the keeper's ball" myth.

    Reply
  • September 7, 2019 at 7:12 am
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    He gets too much criticism I’m a Utd fan

    Reply

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