The “One on One” is the most feared situation a GK will face – it’s you versus the striker, winner takes all.

Examples are;

  • a ball punted over the defense, landing between the striker running onto it, and you the goalkeeper
  • the striker dribbles through the defense and is alone running at you, no defenders to help
  • a penalty – yes that’s a one-on-one – you versus the penalty taker.

All one-on-one’s require similar techniques, and in this and future posts we’ll discuss what are the best options, dependent upon the exact situation.

But here we’ll focus on a specific example, which we feel exemplfies the need to choose carefully whether or not to come flying out of your penalty area, just to “make yourself big”.

With the scoreline 0-1, Arsenal went in search of an equalizer, and were caught on the hop… the Man City striker Aguero collected the ball just inside the Arsenal half and was  through on goal with only Peter Cech, the keeper to beat…..he even had support from Kevin De Bruyne, who could also score easily….

Man City’s Aguero is through on goal
he even has De Bruyne to pass to – a certain goal
but he opts to shoot
And Cech, who has stood on his “six” saves brilliantly

Aguero is one of the best strikers in the World, and while he never has perfect control of the ball, it’s pointless for Cech to come charging out to try to meet Aguero outside the box, where he loses his hands as a weapon.

Instead he judges that by drawing Aguero into the box, and offering him the “left of the goal” to shoot at, that the striker will be too greedy and shoot rather than pass to Debruyne.

This is a gamble obviously, and only a keeper brave as Cech would take such a gamble.

But the options were pretty poor, and making Aguero take the shot rather than the easy pass to De Bruyne who would be onside provided he remained behind Aguero, was really his only option. For those convinced Aguero messed up, remember this is one of the best strikers in the World, and that Cech know this is a “battle of minds”, one which he got the better of his opponent through cunning and skill.

For less “world class mortals”, the GK should “set” themselves towards the edge of the penalty area and draw the striker into the box where the keeper can use their hands, make themself plenty big enough to reduce the goal exposed, and increase the pressure on the striker, inducing panic.

By committing too early, the GK would be handing the striker the initiative and an advantage.

However, it’s critical to maintain the best possible angle, narrowing the amount of goal exposed, and requires excellent understanding of the GK’s position on the field, as they come out to “set” – in other words they need good “GPS”

To see the whole save, “Cech” out the video here…..

Peter, from Hungary, says he wishes Cech wasn’t Czech…