Last Friday, I decided to discuss, with nobody, who would be potent the strongest in attack as a team and individually. Looking at each team’s attack, it’ll look likely that Anderlecht could well be the strongest along with Club Brugge. The same could be said between the sticks with Frank Boeckx and either Ludovic Butelle, Ethan Horvath and Guillaume Hubert. The reason why I’ve picked all 3 possibilities is because Butelle of course was ever present until Horvath came in during the Play Offs and performed superbly. Hubert is a new signing from Standard and probably didn’t sign to sit on the bench.
But along with those 4, much like the strikers, there are more than capable goalkeepers who could follow Courtois and Mignolet to pastures new. But not all goalkeepers are the reason for keeping clean sheets. The defence in front of them tends to be as I because they prevent shots, crosses and headers coming in on the goalkeeper. In England, Arsenal had a great goalkeeper in David Seaman in the past and Petr Cech at Chelsea have kept records for goals not conceded in a season. One thing in common, they had fantastic defenders in front of them.
That goes for now as well. For example, Hendrik Van Crombrugge is a very good goalkeeper in my opinion, but unfortunately, and Diawandou Diagne agreed, defensively Eupen are just not good at all. Will Genk perform as well without Mathew Ryan this coming season? Mouscron have the same problem with Logan Bailly being their only goalkeeper, apparently, and Lokeren will need to replace Copa Barry too.
Goalkeepers are the toughest position to replace or look after as it’s the costliest position. Nicolas Penneteau and Colin Coosemans had extremely good seasons individually last term keeping 25 clean sheets in the league combined. Hopefully they’ll be able to replicate that form this season, which will be tough! Along with them, we will get to see a full season out of Lovre Kalinic at Gent and a favourite of mine who somehow never fully hit the heights, Guillermo Ochoa. The Mexican who signed recently for Standard Liege could help the team progress better than last season. I remember writing a piece where if the team who scored first went on to win the match, Standard Liege would’ve actually finished top! So clean sheets are a major issue for Les Rouches, along with seeing out matches.
Within this post I’ve purposely named goalkeepers as they are the most underrated position in my opinion, along with full backs in football. They are the players who receive specialist coaching and equipment and can win you as many points as a striker or attacking midfielder. They deserve a huge amount of credit and mentions! There is a list of real quality keepers within the Belgian Pro League who may, unfortunately, not see out the season or may be bought come next summer. As long as that doesn’t disrupt teams too much, which it most probably will, then we could see some real quality performances!