Freddie Woodman has now made four Premier League starts in what hasn’t been the easiest introduction to life in the top tier.
Martin Dubravka unavailable for the foreseeable future as he still recovers from his operation, Karl Darlow’s bad case of Covid then ensuring the 24 year old was given his chance finally for Newcastle in the Premier League.
Four games in and Newcastle United and Freddie Woodman have conceded more goals (12) than any other club / goalkeeper in the Premier League.
Talk now of Karl Darlow potentially coming in on Friday against Leeds, having sat on the bench for the first time this season on Saturday.
Reflecting on the Man Utd match, Freddie Woodman has had this to say via Instagram:
“Tough day at the office yesterday [at Old Trafford].
“Never been one to avoid responsibility, hold my hands up, wasn’t good enough.
“Life of a goalkeeper.
“Important now to learn and react in the right way.”
With the shambles at Newcastle United this summer and since the season started, with Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce producing a perfect storm. Only a fool would be blaming Freddie Woodman for this shocking start to the season.
Clearly the first Ronaldo goal was chiefly Woodman’s fault, although the Newcastle defence, especially Isaac Hayden, were really poor as they remained motionless and left Ronaldo standing alone to finish.
As for that second Man Utd goal, I am amazed that some people are wanting to put the main blame down to Freddie Woodman, Isaac Hayden was woeful as 36 year old Ronaldo strolled past him and into the box, shooting from only around 12 yards with just Woodman to beat, the shot was right at the keeper’s feet and often the most difficult to save. Yes, on a good day you would hope to save it but this was yet another example this season of the players in front of Freddie Woodman leaving him totally exposed.
You also had Steve Bruce yet again chopping and changing the defence, dropping three of the back five, not exactly giving any continuity.
I don’t think any of the dropped points this season are down to the goalkeeper, as Man Utd would have won regardless of that first goal, it was only a matter of time, whilst I would argue that Freddie Woodman arguably won Newcastle the point against Southampton by keeping United in the match before the late goals.
That day Southampton had a massive 22 shots as Steve Bruce’s negative tactics gifted the Saints domination of most of the game, with 64% possession and that serious number of shots.
Indeed, Newcastle United and Freddie Woodman have seen their opponents have 71 shots in total in the four PL matches, only Leeds have faced more (75).
Woodman has also had to face three penalties in the opening three Premier League games and actually saved one of them (as well as one in the League Cup penalty shootout against Burnley) but was left down by his defence yet again, Ritchie especially so slow in not following in on the spot-kick.
Back in February, Steve Bruce was happy to throw Karl Darlow under a bus, the keeper doing a great job overall but after a 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford (sounding familiar…?) the Head Coach publicly said this:
“Obviously, with goalkeepers, it is the cardinal sin if they let one in at their near post.
“We will have a look at the goalkeeper [Karl Darlow].
“He will be disappointed to be beaten at the near post for the first goal.”
After that public go at Darlow who had done so well for him, Steve Bruce dropped him for the next game and indeed the rest of the season.
Steve Bruce has once again been happy to go public and make a big thing of Freddie Woodman conceding that first goal on Saturday, rather than talk about it being a team game and glossing over it etc.
Bruce will very possibly now make a show of bringing Karl Darlow in for Freddie Woodman on Friday, what that will do to Woodman’s confidence is anybody’s guess, whilst lets just hope Darlow isn’t pondering too much on Bruce’s treatment of him last season when the head coach was happy to make him a scapegoat.