Saturday September 15 2018
Handanovic underappreciated

Everyone at Inter is up for debate at the moment and Richard Hall notes that includes goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

“As for Samir Handanovic, I'd start with an appointment to get his eyes tested. He needs to work on his mentality to stay focused for 90 minutes." (Sandro Mazzola)

Following Inter’s 2-2 draw with Torino, Sandro Mazzola hadn’t held back in his criticism of the Nerazzurri goalkeeper. After all, the mistake was a bad one and in some quarters, this saw the custodian branded not good enough. Days later in La Gazzetta Dello Sport, Luciano Spalletti claimed that along with Milan Skriniar, Radja Nainggolan and Marcelo Brozovic, the Slovenian would be one of the men the Coach would rely on this term. The week after against Bologna, he showed just why he perhaps should not be underestimated.

After the game against Bologna, the Corriere Dello Sport said that after the mistakes he had made against the Granata, he had to send a message to stop Inter looking for a replacement next season. They admitted that this comment was perhaps more based on the reaction from the fans on social media rather than from the club itself, but it still highlighted the constant debate he causes.

They went on to say that the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara is one of the stadiums where he has made some great saves before, often rescuing Inter. He did it again in that game and this perhaps is why the enigma that is Handanovic becomes so confusing. Whilst he seems to be often the saviour, he is also quickly branded the villain.

It is the Corriere Dello Sport who seem to be mostly behind the debate. Perhaps the Rome based newspaper has been so blessed with goalkeepers in the capital recently that they can be critical? Back in March in 2017, they concluded that Handanovic was being forced to make fewer saves, but was conceding more goals. The Corriere calculated that in the first half of the season the Nerazzurri team had conceded 96 shots on goal, for an average of 5.05 shots per match where Handanovic intervened on 60 occasions, or 3.16 times per match. However, the goals conceded were 14 averaging 0.74 goals per match.

They went on to talk about the second half of the season and said that here the number of saves reduced, and in the first seven rounds the average of opposing chances had been 4.86 per game and the average number of saves 2.72 per game with only four clean sheets.

Perhaps with these statistics they have a point, but when you compare his overall season he stacks up to the best in the league. Clean sheets – Gigi Buffon 11 in 18 games, Handanovic 16 in 34 and Alisson 15 in 34. Saves per game Alisson 2.71, Handanovic 2.32 and Buffon 2.01. Average claim success, Alisson 90%, Buffon 89% and Handanovic 88% and finally, average saves per goal, Handanovic 3.76, Buffon 3.70 and Alisson 3.41. There is enough evidence to suggest that (as he finished second in the goalkeeping statistical rankings) he had an excellent season.

It is true statistics can be twisted to support either argument and the above is evidence of this. More people will remember this season’s mistake on Torino’s long ball, or his wonder save against Filip Helander. These are the moments that stick in the memory, not his average claim percentage. The Slovenian seems doomed to be judged by the media continually as he was by Tuttosport, who labelled him Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Perhaps they have a point? After all he has won Inter so many games in such spectacular fashion. His penalty saving record, his amazing reaction saves and his ability to reach for shots he has no right to get. On the other hand, his mistakes are also often bad ones and often in decisive games (albeit few and far between).

Mazzola was perhaps harsh on the ‘keeper, but did touch on a point about his concentration. Every so often he does seem to be absent and in those few moments a season, it has cost Inter. The mistakes are glaring and cause uproar with fans who see are often so angry with other components in the team, that Handanovic simply exacerbates this on occasion. Perhaps this is why when Inter had less pressure in the second half of last the season, he conceded more? He switched off?

On the other hand, he has won Inter countless games in heroic style and he certainly has been forced to play behind some quite poor defences. His reactions, agility and often decisive actions have allowed Inter to punch above their weight at times and he has been a key factor in this. His loyalty is also second to none, refusing moves elsewhere despite the fact this is the first season where he'll be in the Champions League.

Handanovic perhaps should be appreciated for what he is. He is imperfect in an imperfect team, but at the same time he has an incredible amount of ability. One could argue that he is much more decisive than divisive.

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Have your say...
I appreciated his non-attempt at saving Parma's goal last night. And his complaints about blocking his view are embarrassing, even IF his view was blocked (and that's a big if given the angle), the shot was from 30 yards, he had more than enough time to see the ball. But of course Inter fans need to complain rather than focus on the fact they can't beat Parma at home.
on the 16th September, 2018 at 1:15pm
Just read his comments or excuses after the match. He has the the full Inter parasite in his head now. "Blocking his view", "deserved a penalty", Inter might be a spy club or a comedy club but they aren't a football club. Present the with the Sudetto now, they're entitled because the complain.
on the 16th September, 2018 at 3:09am
He was better and more consistent at Udinese. At Inter he caught the itis of being good but always a danger of a blooper when you don't expect it.
on the 16th September, 2018 at 2:57am
@Pino more successful??? HAHAHAHAHA

Juventus - Champions 96, Runners-up 97 98 03 15 17, Semi 99, 1/4 Finals 05 06 13 18

Inter - Champions 2010, Semi 03, 1/4 Finals 99 05 06 11

Not even close buddy.
on the 15th September, 2018 at 11:36pm
@Pino - Inter qualifying once every 8 years is a service to the league and Juventus losing 2 finals in that time to 2 of the best clubs by far those respective years is embarrassing? for somebody who's not an Inter fan you sure sound like one, i had to double check to make sure it's not Paolo speaking. I guess one team that was more embarrassing to Serie A this decade than Inter is Milan so i guess you'd have to think Inter is still relevant because if they're not what does that mean for you?
on the 15th September, 2018 at 10:59pm
Going into a final is considered an embarrassment now? Wow just wow. I would bet that when Juve start winning finals, you'll begin a new discrimination and says that winning final is embarrassing. Do you know why your team is in such a pathetic shape? Cause a loser will always be a loser.
on the 15th September, 2018 at 10:41pm
Hahaha ususal nonsense. 100 yrs from now yall losers will still be talking about 2010. Also 3 is soooooo much more than 2. Its ok to admit if your feeling sad about not winning anything for forever hahahahah. But you ppl are just starting to sound overly stupid. Same comments over and over again. These things matter in your world only. lol the trophy cabinet is all that will be remembered.
on the 15th September, 2018 at 9:09pm
@Anon I'm not an Inter fan, but I'm pretty sure that Inter has been more successful in the Champion's League than Juve, both in the recent past (actually winning in 2010, as opposed to embarrassingly blowing a final every few years) and overall.

So you should worry about covering yourselves, and not embarrassing yourselves (and Serie A, and Italy for that matter) in another Final.
on the 15th September, 2018 at 8:34pm
I have never seen a keeper who lets shots sail by them, without even making an effort to move, more than him. It is happening to often right now. He has played his role in Inters lack of consistency the past few seasons.
on the 15th September, 2018 at 5:13pm
It's truly a shame that Inter actually qualified for CL again (any other team would probably do more for Serie A) the way they're playing at the moment they're just going to embarrass themselves. Luckily for Serie A Juventus is also there and we'll cover for them, us reaching the semis or the final should compensate for their 0 points they're going to get and them "participating" once a decade shouldn't hurt the coefficient that much with Juvnetus covering for them, we're happy to do it.
on the 15th September, 2018 at 4:58pm
As a Juventus fan, I’d say that Handa is the best Inter player in the last 5 years. I got shocked when Mazzola made that really harsh comment. Buffon made a much more ridiculous mistake in the game vs Lecce and almost cost Juventus the Scudetto. But everyone tried to protect him. Shame on inter fans and Mazzola.
on the 15th September, 2018 at 10:07am
People who know Serie A know he has best one of the best gk's in this league in a decade, people should accept his value for the team, (wish he was in Juve instead of Szczesny) but calling him underrated is an overstanding that does not make sense. Mattia Perin is underated. - Juve Fan
on the 15th September, 2018 at 8:24am
- class standard. Calling him underated now while he has constantly been one of the best gk's in Serie A, is bull. The praise he has received over the years happened in the era of the great legend Buffon. If anything Handanovic has been overrated because though he has exceptional skill he has never won anything of significance. - Just because he is now being criticised and rightly so, does not mean he is underrated. When everyone criticised Buffon years ago, was he also underated?
on the 15th September, 2018 at 8:21am
When Inter wins, Handanovic is one of the best gk's in the world. When they lose he doesn't often get criticised for playing a part in it. - Now he is facing criticism for his recent form and you write an article how he is underated????

For many years at Inter he has been praised of being Serie A's best goalkeeper. Even when Inter didn't play good. The start of the 17/18 season a blog was written here about how FINALLY Handavonic has a competent team to resemble his own world-
on the 15th September, 2018 at 8:14am
As an Inter fan, criticism of Handanovic has always taken me by surprise. I didn't even notice there were that many critics until recently, and I can only assume that they haven't been watching Handa as often as I do. When the criticism comes from Inter fans is when I feel disgusted. Without Handa these last few years, as bad as we have been, we would have been so much worse. So many MOTM performances that I felt we didn't deserve him in our dark days. Be grateful you fools.
on the 15th September, 2018 at 8:06am

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