Player Focus: Simon Mignolet

Horrible keeper, aura of panic, poor one-on-one, erratic, and the list goes on.

What we expect from a top class goalkeeper – commanding, BRAVE, confident, organisational, composed.

So, what is exactly wrong with our Belgian goalkeeper.

He’s not a bad GK, let’s admit it. There are times where he rescued us – big saves, including fingertip ones, penalty saves, and the occasional  one-on-one brilliance.

Honestly, he’s a good shot stopper. In fact, I think his reflexes are up there with the rest of the top GK in EPL. He improved on his ability to clear balls from wide areas, especially high balls, either by catching or punching them away, although, like any other human being, he would misjudge one or two once in a while.

The main problem with Mignolet, is bravery, or a lack of bravery. I am definitely not saying he’s a coward, because cowards can’t play goalkeepers, and certainly can never make it to the top level. When we talk about a top GK, bravery is always up there as one of the highest trait that one has.

Why? Simply because 99% of the time, if a GK goes for a ball knowing he will collide with an opposing player or even his own player, he and his team will get the foul, and more importantly, relieve the pressure on his defenders. Such sacrifice is selfless, and taking one for the team.

These decisions whether to go for the ball or not had to be made by the goalkeepers in split-second, almost like an instincts reaction, and any minor thought of backing out midway will show, and affect his team of defenders.

Unfortunately for Mignolet, his weaknesses are both of them. He is not the bravest keeper out there, and sometimes when he goes for the ball, he’s hesitant, or he backs out of the challenge midway if he doesn’t think he gonna be able to get the ball cleanly.

This, in turn, makes defenders playing in front of him, especially with the likes on Lovren and Moreno who had played with him for a couple of years, emit uncertainty around and onto them.

I guess it is not easy and rather impossible to coach or teach players to react in split second, because it is more of an instinct reaction, which I think is hard to change. Maybe that is one of the reasons why some goalkeepers are deemed solid, but never reach being a top-class quality.

And of course, is it even possible to coach players to be brave? Mental attributes are the hardest to coach, that’s for sure.

So maybe, just maybe, Mignolet might never be a top class goalkeeper because of his mental attributes, but definitely good enough to be a solid goalkeeper for a mid-table team.

Let me know what you think about goalkeepers and Simon Mignolet, and share your thoughts with me below. Cheers!


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