Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Blackpool at White Hart Lane saw another performance from Heurelho Gomes which showed both sides of the Brazilian goalkeeper’s game – pulling off some outstanding saves, and making a trademark howler.
Possibly the best save he made was the one when he denied Blackpool’s captain Charlie Adam when the Scotland international was through eight-yards out. He also pulled off a brilliant save to clip over DJ Campbell’s shot. Equally impressive was a great save to keep out an Adam spot-kick. The brilliance was quickly followed by disaster for the Brazilian, and he quickly went from hero to villain as he bundled over Gary Taylor-Fletcher in the box after dropping a Blackpool corner. This time Adam scored the resulting penalty, and Spurs only went on to get a point – a missed opportunity in the race for fourth place.
This comes so soon after the infamous Frank Lampard incident against Chelsea, and must call the 30-year-old goalkeeper’s White Hart Lane future into question. The former Cruzeiro and PSV stopper seems to have gone back to his early mistake-prone form for Spurs, after a much more solid period for the club.
Gomes arrived at White Hart Lane in June 2008 for a fee was believed to be around £7.8m. In his debut season, an impressive performance from the goalkeeper helped Spurs win their first point of the season with an away draw against Chelsea. However, Spurs fans got to see the Brazilian’s calamitous side a week later as he fumbled a weak shot from Ashley Young in a game that Spurs went on to lose 2-1 to Aston Villa. A series of blunders saw Spurs sack goalkeeping coach Hans Leitert in November 2008. When the club appointed former Spurs goalkeeper Tony Parks to replace Leitert, Gomes’ performances drastically improved. He made two crucial saves deep into stoppage time in a 2-0 win over West Ham, and was instrumental in keeping Manchester United at bay in a 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane.
At the end of last season, he was immense as Spurs beat Man City 1-0 at Eastlands, in the game that secured the club’s first ever Champions League campaign. But this season, the old Gomes seems to be back. At the San Siro against Inter, he was sent off within the first 10 minutes, and Spurs went on to go 4-0 down after only 35 minutes. A series of serious blunders have followed throughout the course of the campaign, and Harry Redknapp will surely have to replace the eccentric stopper come the summer.
No names have been mentioned regarding possible replacements, but one keeper that will definitely not be between the sticks for Spurs next term is Stipe Pletikosa. The Croatia No.1 arrived in North London on a season-long loan from Spartak Moscow last August, but admits that he regrets making the move after enduring a frustrating season, when he fell behind Carlo Cudicini in the pecking order. “Now, looking back, I realise that my move was a mistake,” said the 32-year-old.