This weekend’s football was not for the purists, characterised by scrappy tight affairs and goalkeeping howlers With such a dull week of domestic football to delve through the second half of this weeks mauling branches out to the far flung reaches of Africa and Canada where the opportunities to pick up on blunders were plentiful and amusing to boot.

David De Gea

Eyebrows were raised as De Gea was recalled in place of Anders Lindegaard for the much anticipated FA Cup fourth-round clash between Liverpool and Manchester United, with many United fans preferring the experienced head of the Dane for such a big game. They would be proved right in their thinking as De Gea hesitated to claim Steven Gerrard’s first-half corner, allowing Daniel Agger to head into an unguarded net. The under-pressure stopper looked indecisive throughout nearly gifting another goal to Liverpool with a very risky pass out of defence. Some people will also claim he could have done far better with Dirk Kuyt’s late winner as he allowed the Dutchman’s shot to creep under his outstretched leg.

Whether De Gea eventually steps into the big gloves vacated by Van Der Sar is still anybodies guess, however I can’t help but think the way Fegie has handled the situation is an unusual case of bad management on his behalf. De Gea was looking good after a shaky start and established himself as first choice around October time, then for no reason he was benched for two matches against QPR and Wigan, before being reinstated against Blackburn where he looked very short on confidence and subsequently gifted Rovers their winner. Again he was dropped for the next three games and was yesterday brought back for a high pressure away game. I can’t help but wonder if all this would have been avoided had he played against QPR and Wigan, allowing his confidence to keep growing. There is no way of determining for certain but frankly chopping and changing the goalkeeping position when you are challenging on various fronts will only damage the team’s confidence and result in one big disappointment, as United’s season is rapidly turning out to be.

As it turns out I believe De Gea will come good, but if Fergie wants United to maintain their title challenge he must choose and stick with one goalkeeper.

On a side note rumours are rife that the struggling Spaniard even attempted to hand in a transfer request following his latest display however he failed to do so after he dropped it outside of Sir Alex’s office. In all seriousness United look to have presently bought a dud and Lindegaard has to be number one choice for the rest of the season or else United will fail to win anything of note.

Exeter goalkeeper Artur Krysiak 

Perhaps Exeter goalkeeper Artur Krysiak caught the end of the Liverpool vs United game and drew inspiration from the blundering buffoon De Gea before he took the field to face table topping Charlton Athletic. The Grecians held their own and probably deserved to win the game against The Addicks however Krysiak dropped a clanger by hopelessly flapping at a Danny Green cross-cum-shot, which found it’s way into the net. An air of disbelief and injustice immediately spread around St. James’s Park as the embarrassed keeper retrieved the ball from his goal. A silly error that cost his side what could prove to be a valuable point.

The second half of this week’s mauling ends on a much lighter note with a brief yet amusing muse over the spectacular football tournaments that are firstly the African Cup of Nations and by scouring arguably the hotbed of world football for a blunder from the qualifying rounds for the women’s Olympic football tournament. Without getting too Keys and Gray on you lot, finding a blunder was not the hardest thing in the world.

Guinea play acting

Hosts Equatorial Guinea have been flying in the African Cup of Nations, impressively racking up two successive wins, notably last weeks win against the much fancied Senegal. It was in this encounter when quite possibly the worst piece of play acting ever occurred. Forget Rivaldo’s face clutch in the 2002 World Cup, Guinea midfielder Narcisse Ekanga takes things to a whole new level. Diving is not something I usually condone or appreciate however in this case it’s hard not to chuckle at the pure audacity and ridiculousness of Ekanga’s attempts to win a free kick. The midfield man hit the deck following a fair tackle at the back end the game, when he realised a foul hadn’t been given he suddenly became the newest member of street dance group Diversity, angrily attempting a break dancing spin, before a prolonged period of rolling about in fake agony resulting in him leaving the field on a stretcher. Needless to say his recovery was swift enabling him to jog back on moments later.

A link to the footage can be found below and it is well worth watching.

Costa Rican Women’s Goalkeeper

The unfortunate keepers name is Julieth Arias. She is considered Costa Rica’s number one choice between the sticks for the women’s national side. Out of the estimated 2.25 million females in Costa Rica she is the best, the undisputed queen. This means whenever Costa Rica play against another nation they turn to this lady first. The hopes of a nation rest upon her shoulders. To conclude she is, somewhat amazingly, the best female goalkeeper in Costa Rica.

Bearing that glowing reference in mind, feast your eyes upon this,

The footage is of Canada’s final goal in their 5-1 thrashing of the Costa Ricans earlier in the week. The embarrassment for Arias occurred shortly after half time. Defender Marianne Ugaldedid gently played the ball back to the bewildered keeper, not a particularly bad pass, one which would normally be comfortably hoofed back downfield, especially with no Canadian players nearby to challenge her.  Arias tried to trap the ball but inexplicably misjudged the pass allowing the ball to roll right under her foot into the back of the net, shocking keeping and well worth a watch.

Another perhaps more important question to ask regarding the footage is why Roque Santa Cruz is occupying a place on the bench next to the manager, 30 seconds into the clip. Maybe he has finally found his level – the women’s Olympic qualifiers – however old habits seem to die hard for poor old Roque, once again failing to find his way off the subs bench.