The decline of Mark Schwarzer (or not, as the case probably is)

I read on FOF that Schwarzer going away in January cost us, that when he got back we were worse off and that because he wanted to be elsewhere his performances have dipped which is also partly because he’s older now…. and so on.  I don’t believe this, frankly, and if he’s declined at all a) it was from a very high starting point and b) I don’t know that any of us would really notice it.  As I mentioned to Mart on Monday, if Stockdale had played like Schwarzer against Liverpool it’d be evidence that he’s not ready/to be trusted, when it’s Schwarzer he’s too old.   In reality it was a bad day at the office brought about by the unhelpful behaviour of others (in this case his defence and the people dressed in red).

Anyhow, here are some quick numbers:

Goals allowed Shots on target % sot that went in
Stockdale 6 38 16%
Early Schwarzer 20 106 19%
Late Schwarzer 15 87 17%

This season there’s more or less nothing between our keepers when we look at how good they’ve been at saving the shots they’ve faced.  Early Schwarzer is almost identical to late Schwarzer, Stockdale is Stockdale.  If there were any glaring problems they might show up in these numbers, but I can’t see anything.   There are other elements to goalkeeping, of course, but ultimately it comes down to keeping the ball out of the net.   And if you take Monday out of the equation Schwarzer’s conceded only ten goals from 76 shots, or 13%, which you’d have to say is pretty good.

So, what do you use for evidence?   One terrible game or a good number of excellent ones?

The wider question is what this (Monday) means for Stockdale, but I would assume the answer, for now, is nothing.

5 thoughts on “The decline of Mark Schwarzer (or not, as the case probably is)

  1. Schwarzer’s play wasn’t materially worse than the rest of the team’s for the first 15 minutes of Monday’s game. It’s ridiculous to judge him on one mistake. He has been excellent all season, apart from a dodgy goal kick every now and then. Fulham have been far from perfect this year, but we are lucky not to have a keeper issue and luckier still to have two decent keepers.

  2. If anything I felt Monday showed the importance of our team ethic.

    The midfield got overrun and struggled to retain the ball and claim control of the game.

    This put pressure on the back four who all made uncharacteristic mistakes.

    Which put additional pressure on Schwarzer and led to his individual mistakes.

    For whatever reason hardly any of the team were quite ready for the onslaught we faced in the opening few minutes and in trying to make up for this we got into more and more trouble. Bad day at the office for everyone. I’m hoping for a reaction at St. Andrews.

  3. The goalkeeping and fitness coaches will know by constant measurement whether Schwarzer is declining physically. I can’t see it myself but he’s now reached an age when it will soon come.

    The argument for playing Stockdale essentially is to see whether he’s good enough. We don’t want to find that he’s not in September/October if Schwarzer is not fit or performing adequately and we’re therefore in the Zamora/Almunia situation.

    That’s a reason to give Stockdale the next two games but not if the priority is to restore Schwarzer’s confidence which will have taken a knock.

    A dilemma needing good management.

    1. We can’t always agree….If he doesn’t play the last two games then that sends a message, however it’s dressed up. Moreover two games are not enough to tell if Stockdale is up to it, just as his previous >2 games have not been…whereas two games (we can afford to lose) might suffice to tell if Schwarzer had dramatically lost nerve.

      I may have missed previous discussion of the Manninger rumour, so please forgive is this has already been suggested. Doesn’t it suggest that they want someone as decent reserve for a potentially final season of Schwarzer while Stockdale is on a loan that will make or break his succession.

  4. Schwarzer simply had a shocker on Mon night, no two ways about it.

    I don’t think his defensive skills have declined, but his distribution to set up attacks etc has suffered of late. Mark is a consumate profesional, and I am sure he is working on this though.

    The question is, would you rather have a goalkeeper who is one of the most reliable in the prem, but is ageing, in goal or a younger keeper who has not played much and does not have the experience/reliability that the former has?

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