Heurelho Gomes: the Octopus or the Clown?

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Chris Miller of WindyCOYS profiles Heurelho Gomes’ time at Spurs…

Heurelho Gomes was brought to Tottenham by Juande Ramos in 2008 – he was familiar to Spurs fans already, of course, having saved a Jermaine Jenas’ penalty to halt Spurs’ progression in the 2007/8 UEFA Cup. Indeed, reading the BBC’s match report from that day could have told Spurs fans all they needed to know: “Gomes had an erratic game, frequently keeping his side in the game, only to then endanger his team with a rush of blood to the head.” Those rushes of blood have, seemingly, ended his Spurs career.

Gomes often got what was, in my opinion, unfair criticism in the press and amongst football fans in general for another area of his game – punching. Gomes is a pro-active goalkeeper, something that English football fans are not too used to seeing. His natural inclination is to come for every cross, punch everything away, dominate his penalty box.

In Europe and South America, this style of goalkeeping is widely-lauded; it is seen as a positive for crosses to be punched to safety, punching being lower-risk than catching the ball, as there is less chance of spilling it. Goalkeepers are, therefore, trained to punch crosses rather than catch crosses when competing with other bodies in a crowded penalty area. Continue reading