Yesterday’s FA Cup tie at Arsenal marked the return of our Player of the Season from a year ago, Martin Dubravka. The 31-year-old made some outstanding saves to keep Arsenal at bay the few times they were able to breach the disciplined Magpie defense in normal time.
Dubravka had returned to the bench for the previous two matches after missing four months with a heel injury. In that time, Karl Darlow has taken the gloves as the number one keeper due to his superb displays in the first half of the season.
Yesterday, Martin showed why he was Newcastle’s number one for 88 straight league matches since his debut in February of 2018 against Manchester United. Both keepers are pushing each other to get the maximum out of their ability.
Steve Bruce said the following after the game to NUFC TV about Dubravka’s return:
“It looked as if he had never been away. He made a great save in the first half. It looked as if we were going to keep a clean sheet which we did for 90 minutes, but couldn’t quite hold on.”
Dubravka was also interviewed by NUFC TV after yesterday’s defeat. He was obviously disappointed with how the match turned out. However, he was very happy to be back playing after his long layoff.
The Chronicle have published the following comments from Martin:
“It is disappointing because we were close to penalties but to concede two goals in extra time is a pity.
“It is disappointing, especially for me, because it has been a long time since I have been on the pitch and I didn’t dream the game would be like this.
“I enjoy every minute on the pitch and as I said, it has been a long time.
“Of course, it would have been much better if we won the game and got through to the next round but unfortunately we are not there.
“Finally I am back on the pitch with the other lads and I enjoy every minute of training and on the pitch because I really missed it.
“Obviously losing in extra time is tough but I enjoyed it.”
Newcastle are blessed to have two outstanding goalkeepers in Darlow and Dubravka. Both are signed up long-term so it could be pushing each other for years to come.
However, there’s likely to be another contender soon if Freddie Woodman can continue his tremendous growth as a player over the past two seasons on loan with Swansea.