1st – Scott Carson
Behind the first window of our calendar today, I’ve actually switched up my plan and gone with a topical one in the form of Derby’s Number 1, Super Scott Carson.
The current player of the year has been almost flawless for the last three seasons. But now, for the first time since joining The Rams, Scotty finds himself a little bit under the microscope.
In a shit swamp of horrific recruitment, big Scott stands out like a beacon as an inspired signing by Derby when we rescued him from Wigan in 2015.
The amiable Cumbrian (who literally looks and sounds like an extra from Emmerdale Farm) has been great since day one and has consistently improved season on season.
Although he has certainly made his fair share of wonder saves, his key attribute has been his positional sense and his handy Shiltonesque habit of second guessing the opposition to block a point blank chance, or make a striker running through just hit him.
His kicking has also noticeably improved, comfortable on the ball, hitting distance with both feet and having no major problems with the new play it out at all costs tactics preferred by Lampard.
To my mind Carson has been the best keeper in this league for a while and, despite the comedy factor of the classic ‘on the plane next to Kane’ chant, can count himself unlucky not to have been in Russia last summer. The man himself said he was in the form of his life, rightly sweeping the board in any Derby County player of the year poll you care to mention.
Everyone loves Carson, so with no obvious howlers and no demonstrable loss of form, why are people starting to quietly question him?
Whilst he hasn’t directly cost us any goals, he also hasn’t made many major saves of late either. How many points has he earned us this season? Is it me or does he seem a bit less dominant on crosses? Has he got away with a few fumbles when players have saved him? Was he at fault for both goals on Wednesday at Stoke? Has he been too comfortable with no genuine competition for his shirt for too long? Why the bloody hell does he keep forgetting to lock his car?
All questions that Scotty is quite capable of making redundant with a couple of dominant, point achieving performances. But equally questions that will only get louder until he does.