Player: Tim Howard, #24
GS: Games Started, SB: Used as Substitute, YC: Yellow Cards, RC: Red Cards, FC: Fouls Committed, FS: Fouls Suffered, SV: Saves, GC: Goals conceded, W: W, L: Losses, D: Draws
The American has shown his stripes at times, most of them with some wonderful examples of first class goalkeeping. Howard has usually been one of those players that comes to the end of a Premier League season without missing a minute of football, but this season has seen him miss out on some games through injury.
What he did well
The things that Howard has done well this season have been done to the highest of standards. I think as a result of our tactics, as a team, from January onwards, he has seen himself become more relied upon and has performed to his best. For example, his performances against the top four teams were, on the whole, the best of the season. None more so than his terrific double save against Tottenham at White Hart Lane to keep the score at 1-0, only to be beaten by a later attempt.
He and his defence kept 11 clean sheets this season from a total of 36 games. He recorded 93 saves, good enough for 6th best in the league. He also accumulated five double saves (the most in the league). The most saves he made in one game was, surprisingly, away to Oldham. This is his first season, since joining Everton he has missed more than 3 Premier league games.
As a goalkeeper myself, I know that you very rarely get plaudits or man of the match awards, but this season has seen him recieve some large thanks if nothing more. Games such as Oldham away in the Cup, Spurs both home and away, and his efforts to keep the score down at Old Trafford have been his standout performances along with many other individual saves.
What he could do better
As a season ticket holder, I've seen Tim have some good games this year, but admittedly it hasn't always been good from the American. Early in the season there were some noticeable communication problems between him and his defence. Whether his defenders consisted of Jagielka, Distin or Heitinga, he seemed to struggle to click straight away. Howard was the target of some grumblings from many fans talking about his lack of movement off his line, that he was like a statue and wasn't quick enough to come and collect the ball. Yes that has been the case and yes, unfortunately, it has cost us some goals (both Aston Villa and Newcastle at home spring to mind). By his own high standards he hasn't been at his tip top best this season.
Three things i'd like to see him do better next season are: collecting the ball more often from corners, instead of being glued to his goal line; second would be seeing him kick the ball from a goal kick more often (there has been nothing more frustrating than watching us pass the ball from the back then lose it in midfield) ; and finally I'd like to see him back to his loud self. He has been fairly quiet this season, noticeably, when the team comes under pressure.
On the whole, however, I feel his performances have been up to a fairly good standard and not one game, that we have lost this season, has been solely down to him. Remembering he suffered two broken bones in his back, mid-way through the year, I feel he has bounced back well and certainly stepped up his performances since his return from injury. A thing that would help him to continue his improvement is a little bit of competition in his position.
Using the school grading system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season, C an average season, and F a very poor season, how do you grade Tim Howard on his performance this year according to the expectations you had for him?