It is not exactly a revelatory statement to say that the life of a goalkeeper is a tricky one. For all their heroics, the smallest error can lead to defeat, while the bigger ones can lead to ridicule.
When considering a goalkeeper’s performance in its simplest form – namely the amount of goals they concede – Southampton’s Artur Boruc is in the midst of a glorious early season run of form.
A quick glance at the Premier League table will show that the Saints have conceded just seven goals so far this campaign – three less than third-placed Chelsea (the team they face this afternoon).
And yet in recent weeks Boruc has been starring in a one-man blooper-reel; first conceding a goal from 90 yards against Stoke City that was brilliantly scored but reluctantly celebrated by fellow stopper Asmir Begovic, and then dazzling Olivier Giroud with his footwork, only to get a little too confident and concede the simplest of openers against Arsenal last weekend.
And now Boruc heads to Stamford Bridge, knowing that making it a hat-trick of howlers is out of the question.
Instead he must hope he and his impressive defence can do what they failed to on their last trip to London and keep the opposition at bay.
Southampton have been performing so well that a couple of goalkeeping ricks have not overshadowed some glorious team and individual performances. But they will if they continue.
It is time for the Polish international to do what he is best at, to cut out the (not so) nifty footwork and ensure a defence excellently marshalled by Dejan Lovren continues to impress.
Because if he does so – and if the players ahead of him continue to perform so admirably – there really is no telling where Southampton could finish come May.
image: © celticphotos