The 2018/19 Premier League season arrived somewhat suddenly, as can happen in a World Cup year. With so much attention on the best international tournament football has to offer, the summer transfer market and the beginning of domestic seasons were almost afterthoughts. Nevertheless, the EPL is now back in action, and with it fairly high total of nine new goalkeepers. Here’s a round-up of who they are, where they’re playing, and how their debuts went.
Joe Hart – Burnley
It’s early to say too much, but Joe Hart’s start at Burnley appears to be very positive. Football fans know that Hart can be excellent at his best, but his best has looked to be decidedly behind him of late. He was demoted as the England no.1 and set out on loan by Manchester City. Now, however, he’s getting an opportunity to shine once more, and in his own words he feels as if he’s been set free. It’s shown on the pitch so far, with Hart having earned two clean sheets, including in a 0-0 draw with Southampton to earn a point for the Clarets in the opener.
Kepa Arrizabalaga – Chelsea
Arrizabalaga arrived at Stamford Bridge after rumors linked him to Real Madrid for a while. That duel for the young keeper’s services tells you all you need to know about how his talent and potential are viewed. He’ll face tougher tests than he did in Chelsea’s opening 3-0 win against Huddersfield Town, but so far so good for a player who could be between the posts for quite some time for the Blues.
Lukasz Fabianski – West Ham
It feels like there’s more buzz than usual about the league’s potential top scorers this year. Granted, it’s always a major talking point. Identifying in-form strikers is known to be a major aspect of football and EPL betting and speculation, and preseason predictions are always flying around. But with Harry Kane coming off a terrific World Cup and Mohamed Salah looking to build on his historic 2017/18 campaign, individual scoring is under the spotlight. And Fabianski and West Ham succumbed to it in the opening match, losing 4-0 to Salah’s high-powered Liverpool offense. It looks bad, but Fabianski wasn’t really to blame for most of the action.
Alisson – Liverpool
In his first EPL match since moving over from AS Roma, Alisson was on the other side of the 4-0 match just mentioned. As with Arrizabalaga at Chelsea, the reaction ought to be, so far so good. There wasn’t too much work for the 25-year-old, but it’s a nice confidence boost to start, and he can go ahead and get used to anchoring a team that’s going to put in a lot of goals.
Fabri – Fulham
After coming over from Besiktas, Fabri may have been a little bit overexcited in his debut for Fulham. Already down 1-0 (on a more excusable goal), Fabri made a disastrous decision to come out against a Crystal Palace breakaway that wasn’t quite even a direct threat yet. He conceded a trickling goal that sealed the outcome at 2-0.
Rui Patricio – Wolves
The 30-year-old veteran and Portugal no.1 was a pretty nice pickup for Wolves over the summer, and supporters would be right to be excited about what he has to offer. The opener was a fairly satisfactory 2-2 draw against Everton in which Rui Patricio let up two difficult goals – one off of a confused set piece that landed right in front of the goal, and another off an extremely well-placed shot on the ground to his far post. Rui Patricio also threw in an excellent save on a shot from Cenk Tosun that probably should have resulted in a goal, and might have propelled Everton to a win.
Neil Etheridge – Cardiff
Top flight football is a whole new expense for Neil Etheridge, who has only played in lower leagues up to this point. His debut likely didn’t go as he’d have liked as Cardiff lost 2-0 to Bournemouth – though he did manage to stop a penalty that would have made the final score even worse.
Ben Hamer – Huddersfield
Ben Hamer made the move over from Leicester City, so this stage and competition shouldn’t be particularly intimidating. That said, he looked to be somewhat frozen against Chelsea in an 0-3 defeat. That’s not to say losing a match like that against such a strong club is his fault, and there was no egregious error akin to Fabri’s for Fulham. But he could have looked a little more imposing in the back.
Ben Foster – Watford
Ben Foster was one of the more surprising additions to the EPL goalkeeping ranks, and though he recently “opened up” about his departure from West Brom, he really didn’t provide any detail. It sounds as if the culture simply declined, from his perspective, leading him to try his Premier League fortunes elsewhere. Foster ought to feel at home given that he’s played for Watford in the past, and a 2-0 opening win over Brighton has to have supporters feeling optimistic.