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Player Grade: Adrian Isn’t Good Enough

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Goalkeeping errors let West Ham down this season

Peterborough United v West Ham United - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Summary

Adrian has fallen further than anyone outside of Aaron Cresswell this season. The Andalusian started the season rated as one of the better goalkeepers playing in England. In August, he was even called up to the Spanish national side! Over the course of the season, Adrian has dropped to the lowest of lows, losing his spot for a long stretch of the season. At the end of the year,

Expectations

Fans expected consistency, mixed with occasional flashes of brilliance. In his past seasons, Adrian has showed himself to be a talented ‘keeper who occasionally makes disastrous mistakes. Last season, he cut down on the errors, and stepped up the dramatics. Fans will have been hoping for continued excellence, and perhaps even improvement. Instead, they witnessed a dramatic regression.

Cardiff City v West Ham United - Premier League
This should have been the season Adrian pushed on to the next level
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Performance

Adrian’s season can be broken into three parts. The disastrous start, which lead to a long spell on the bench in the middle, followed by a decent final few games.

The year started with an admirable showing in the 2-1 loss to Chelsea, but quickly spiraled out of control from there. The run of four games through September saw West Ham conceded 14 goals, including 4 to Tony Pulis’ West Brom, and three to an offensively impotent Southampton. It was a disastrous run of form, but it would be harsh to blame Adrian totally for these matches. That said, he certainly didn’t help. Issues came to the fore against Stoke City, when a dreadful error allowed Bojan to score. Adrian came out of his box to try and block Jonathan Walters, and left his net unguarded.

Stoke City v West Ham United - Premier League
Adrian’s Mistake cost West Ham against Stoke City
Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

That looked to be that for Adrian’s season. Darren Randolph was handed the starting spot, and for the following 20 games, he would retain it. Adrian’s only game time came in humiliating cup defeats to Manchester United (1-4) and Manchester City (5-0). With his contract winding down, it looked like the end for Adrian. Instead, Randolph's error against Sunderland gave the Spaniard a lifeline.

In the final games of the season, Adrian’s form was up and down. There were a few good moments, and a few bad ones, but all in all, it was better than before. The defense looked more comfortable with Adrian minding the net, and a few important clean sheets followed.

Highlights and Lowpoints

Highs: Clean Sheets against Everton and Tottenham

Two fantastic goalkeeping performances gave West Ham their most impressive results of the season. The 0-0 win against Everton was a defensive masterclass, as Adrian and his backline kept Romelu Lukaku quiet. The result against Tottenham was even better. A stunning 1-0 win that ended Spurs’ title hopes. Adrian was in imperious form, making 5 saves and marshaling a steady defense. Against some of the best in England, Adrian stood firm.

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Lows: Cup Humiliations against Manchester Sides

A pair of disastrous losses seemed set to end Adrian’s career at West Ham. First, in November, he was handed a chance to win back the starting spot and impress against manchester United. Instead, Jose Mourinho’s side strolled through the game, scoring four times and sending Adrian to the bench for three months. Those three months ended with a match against Manchester City that ended in even worse fashion. A 5-0 capitulation marked the lowest point of a dismal year.

Next Season

Despite his improved form, West Ham should look to improve on Adrian. If he’s happy to stay as a backup, that’s fine, but he isn’t starting quality. Look at the goalkeepers of clubs around West Ham. Asmir Begovic has just arrived at Bournemouth. Kasper Schmeichel at Leicester. Ben Foster at West Brom and Jack Butland at Stoke. All fully capped internationals, with experience, talent and consistency. In contrast, Adrian looks like a liability.

Final Grade – C-