Time for Begovic to stand up and be counted
Yesterday was one of the most painful experiences I have suffered while watching Stoke. I saw them lose 8-0 at home to Liverpool several years ago in the old Worthington Cup and 6-0 at Nottingham Forest in the Championship but yesterday was even worse. Because the whole world was watching.
I could cope with the Liverpool defeat, we were two divisions lower then we are now and that was when Liverpool was winning trophies of any significance. Notts Forest wasn`t so bad because no-one was interested in a sub-standard Championship game. But yesterday, the world tuned in perhaps half expecting Chelsea to fail and Stoke to spring a surprise. Listening to all of the build up from the likes of Andy Gray I was squirming in my chair. We were built up and up and up by everyone, but when that whistle sounded we were brought quickly back to earth.
Not only were we humiliated but we lost two key players to injuries. Skipper Abdoulaye Faye`s dismal season continued as he limped off after less than then minutes with a groin strain. And then after Kalou jumped into the ball to score his second, keeper Thomas Sorensen came off with a dislocated elbow. It appeared it couldn`t get any worse. Although at full-time, it was.
However I always say take a positive out of every negative and although Sorensen should make the world cup, he won`t play for Stoke again this season. So at long last we welcome Asmir Begovic.
Signed for around £3milion on deadline day back in January the highly rated Bosnian has been chomping at the bit to play. Although he made his debut yesterday and conceded 5 goals that really he couldn`t do much about, he made one astounding save to prevent Malouda that had everyone on their feet.
There is no doubt he will become a top keeper and maybe, if he impresses now, he may be the new Stoke number one going into next season. This could be a fascinating little battle between the two keepers and with Sorensen out of the way, this is his chance to really gain the attention of TP and perhaps even more so his Danish team mate or is it now rival?