Friday, 27 November 2009
It's Myhill versus Duke - again
Boaz Myhill needs to come back into the Hull City team this weekend.
It's always a pity to tell Matt Duke that yet another period of sturdy deputising must come to an end, but it's also always necessary.
Myhill's hamstring injury, suffered in the last seconds of the turgid goalless draw against Portsmouth, has kept him out for the subsequent four games. Hull City have lost just one of those games and, more to the point, won two. But the victories have come via a policy to thrill in attack in order to protect a rearguard that isn't absolutely watertight. While much can be said about the back four and where it could be altered, ultimately a defence of any description can only do so much before its confidence in the goalkeeper behind it has to take over.
And Duke simply does not inspire the same confidence as Myhill. Duke is fine - indeed, the club and supporters should feel grateful that such an able stand-in is around to wear the gloves when absolutely necessary - but he simply isn't as good as Myhill. He fumbles the ball more, his shot-stopping is not as emphatic and, most oddly, his catching above a crowd of players has looked decidedly suspect, even though he has some height advantage over Myhill.
Myhill and Duke have been the senior goalkeepers at Hull City for a long time now. They have been through much together, not least two promotions and Premier League survival. Recently, spoiled members of the Tiger Nation have taken it upon themselves to scorn Myhill, even though his only absolute weakness, obvious to the naked eye, is his distribution; and as long as he doesn't miskick the ball to an opposing striker every time he needs to clear his lines, its hardly the most serious of goalkeeping flaws. Duke chooses to fling the ball to the flanks a lot more, which gets cheers from the crowd and, on the rare occasions Myhill does this, earns cheers of a more ironic nature from the same people. Ultimately, however, a goalkeeper is there to save shots, catch dangerous crosses and position himself ideally in accordance with the movement of the ball. Myhill is simply far better at this stuff than Duke.
Duke kept goal for ten Premier League games last season and though at times he performed well (saving a penalty at West Ham United on his Premier League debut springs to mind) ultimately Phil Brown realised that in the slump of form the Tigers were suffering, he needed his best people on the park, and Myhill returned after one Duke howler too many at Middlesbrough. Duke has not been eccentric or awful in this short spell of games, but he has dropped a cross too many already and with Myhill fit again, his return to the side at Manchester City is simply essential.
Posted by Boyhood Dreams