The great wall has been felled. An awkward kick has damaged Fraser Forster's patella tendon and he will be sidelined for a long time. La Gran Muralla (as the Catalans call him) has been the one ever present in the team this season and his absense will be a blow for the league's meanest defense.
Eyebrows were raised when Artur Boruc was allowed to go out on loan in the summer. It seems he wasn't impressed by his demotion and was unwilling to fight for his place. The crazy Pole was well within his rights to feel aggrieved. He had a stellar campaign last year and is far too good for the championship.
Bournemouth's gain is Southampton's loss. The goalkeeping position is once again a position without depth and Koeman must rely on players yet to prove themselves in the premier league.
Last season after twelve games Southampton were firmly ensconced in the fight for the Europe and, as is becoming customary, boasting the best defence in the league.
This all changed at Stamford Bridge, with the saints leading, Ivanovic rose above Wanyama to head a corner kick goalwards. Artur Boruc scuttled to his right as the ball landed at Ba's feet. The striker could only deflect the ball onto the post but in his attempts to stop it the Pole punched the woodwork breaking his hand. To add insult to injury the ball was poked into the goal joining Artur as he toiled in the back of the net grasping his broken bone.
Boruc ended up missing eight games due to the injury, the same number Forster will miss. By the time he was back in goal the saints had dropped to ninth in the league. The season was over and Poch's team were in mid table limbo.
Here are the goalkeeping stats:
|Shots On T
|"Crazy" Artur Boruc
|Paulo Dino Gazzaniga
|"Super" Kelvin Davis
|Fraser "The Great Wall" Forster
With the number two keeper and club captain Kelvin Davis out with a back injury It was Paulo Gazzaniga who was thrust into the action against Chelsea.
And it didn't go well.
He definitely lacked confidence, seemingly unable to leave his goal line and it took a full 170 minutes before he made his first save. Five shots had flown past him during this period. I don't want to be too harsh on the kid but it was obviously too much too soon for the young Argentine.
This season he has been a regular for the under 21s and looks to be developing nicely. If and when he returns to first team football, he'll have to convince the St Mary's crowd that he has improved.
Super Kelvin Davis needs no heroics to win over the St Mary's faithful. He will always be remembered for sticking with the club at its lowest ebb, even when he had offers from the premier league. He is a massive presence in the dressing room, acting as team leader and court jester. The fans sang his name as he walked onto the pitch against Burnley and he repaid them with a man of the match performance.
Those new to the saints these last few years may not know too much about Kelvin Davis and why it is customary to add Super before speaking his name.
Well, he is capable of the sublime. In our march up the leagues an off key display from the outfielders was often met with a heroic one man show of shot stopping power. There is no finer example of this than when he left Neil Warnock of Leeds shouting "How the f*ck did you win that!" after this perfomance:
But there is a reason Les Reed and co have invested in other keepers. Kelv has a weakness in coming for crosses, has been known to make a mistake and at 38 is no spring chicken.
Given the long term injury to Fraser Forster it seems likely Ronald Koeman will have to look for a short term fix for next season. There is rumoured to be interest in Maarten Stekelenburg and Jack Butland and I'm sure the press will link us to every name under the sun.
I, for one, would love to see a return for Artur Boruc, but I fear that bridge has been burned.
For now we focus on the final eight games of this season and hope that we aren't doomed to repeat history's failures.