Heurelho Gomes is not a brave man (he’d probably wimp out in an arm wrestle with Christopher Biggins), yet you can’t help but love the big galoot. Gomes is pure theatre. One minute he is writhing on the ground in agony from a challenge that would require the application of a band aid for the average six-year-old, the next he is plucking a goal-bound effort from the sky.
Gomes' flakiness often (unfairly) draws more attention than his excellence. But while his form has not hit the dizzy heights of last season his saves still far outnumber his bloopers. During Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea, ‘Gomo’ made two fine stops (a ridiculous own goal attempt by Wilson Palacios and a fizzing effort by Didier Drogba), before the familiar eccentricity kicked in.
Spurs were holding the resurgent blues 1-0 twenty minutes from time when Michael Dawson appeared to have dragged the impressive Drogba too wide for a goalscoring opportunity yet the Ivorian’s shot somehow cannoned off the big Brazilian keeper and looped painfully into the net. The madness wasn't over.
Deep in injury time, Gomes needlessly brought down child-like compatriot Ramires in the box for what felt like the 100th penalty awarded at White Hart Lane this season. And it went the way of most of the rest with Gomes diving superbly to palm away the bemused Drogba’s spot-kick. Amazingly, dozens of Spurs fans in the Paxton End were streaming for the exits as soon as the penalty was awarded. Oh ye of little faith.
And so a draw that felt like two points dropped became like a point gained and another madcap chapter was written in Gomes folklore.
Heurelho, you give us heart attacks and CPR in equal measure, but we still love you. Shine on, you crazy diamond.