Goalkeeping has been a hot topic in the 2016-17 Premier League season so far with many goalkeepers either coming into scrutiny, the limelight or both. So with the season nearly half-way done it is time to look at which goalkeepers have made the most positive impact on their sides and which one’s have crumbled under the pressure.
Why Saves Per Goal?
Saves per goal is the best way to look at how successful a goalkeeper has been over a given period of time. Other statistics like number of clean sheets, total saves or average goals conceded per game may actually be strongly affected by how strong the defense or entire team in front of the goalkeeper is and may not actually be a true representation of how well a goalkeeper has played. Saves per goal on the other hand looks at how goalkeepers have responded when they’ve been called upon and virtually does not leave anything else open to interpretation. For example, a goalkeeper at a team fighting for relegation will obviously face more shots per game than the average goalkeeper, but if they are up to the task, they should still manage to save far more shots than they let in. Similarly, a goalkeeper playing for one of the league’s elite clubs may face comparatively far less shots but if they are up to the task, should still be saving the vast majority of them. So without further ado let’s get to it! These are the five best and five worst goalkeepers in the Premier League this season by saves per goal.
The 5 Worst
5. Lukasz Fabianski – 1.26 saves per goal
Lukasz Fabianski had a pretty decent start to this season and even made The Mastermind’s Team of the Month for September. However the past few months have been a really rocky time for Fabianski in goal as he hasn’t done anything noteworthy and has let in far too many goals to count. The Polish goalkeeper has conceded more goals than anyone this season with 37 and keeping just 44 shots out comparatively hasn’t been enough. This has given him a shocking saves per goal ratio of just 1.26. Although the defense in front of him has arguably been worse than any goalkeeper ranked below, Fabianski has let in far too many goals this season and is statistically one of the worst goalkeepers of the first half of the season.
4. David Marshall – 1.25 saves per goal
David Marshall has been dreadful this season and his inclusion in Hull’s setup has been a strange one given that when Eldin Jakupovic was in the side, the Tigers were flourishing, losing just one of their opening 4 matches. In that time Jakupovic had made a stunning 2.57 saves per game, which would have still been enough to carry him into the list of best goalkeepers had he made enough appearances to be eligible. Since Marshall has arrived at the club, Mike Phelan’s side have won just one out of twelve matches, compared to two in the first two when Jakupovic was playing. What’s even worse is that Marshall has made just 1.25 saves per goal, conceding 29 goals in 12 games and only keeping out 35 shots from going in. David Marshall has been dredful this season but there are three goalkeepers who have been statistically even worse.
3. Loris Karius – 1.17 saves per goal
Simon Mignolet had a torrid time to start the season, conceding the first five shots that he faced this season. So when Loris Karius recovered from a broken hand his return to the side was a welcomed one. However, Karius has come under an incredibly amount of scrutiny this season for his lacklustre displays. Even though I believe the German goalkeeper will come good again and just needs time to develop, the stats don’t lie and 1.17 saves per goal is a shocking return. Karius has only conceded 12 goals in 10 matches this season which isn’t that bad, but when you realize he’s only saved two more than he’s conceded, it gets very bad for him again. Making just 14 saves to 12 goals conceded gives him an average save per goal score of 1.17, the third lowest in the league, justifying Jurgen Klopp’s decision to leave him out of the side in the previous two matches.
2. Steve Mandanda – 1.12 saves per goal
For nearly a decade Steve Mandanda was one of the best goalkeepers in Ligue 1. So when Alan Pardew secured his signature for just £1.5 million from Marseille it was looking to be one of the smartest summer acquisitions. However, Mandanda has had a torrid time to start life at Crystal Palace, conceding a ridiculous 17 goals in 9 matches and only keeping 19 shots out along the way. This means that Mandanda has only kept out 1.12 shots per goal that he has conceded, the second lowest in the league.
1. Ron-Robert Zieler – 1.00 save per goal
Oh how Leicester City have missed Kasper Schmeichel this season. Not only is the Danish goalkeeper a crucial leader for the Foxes, he is also a pivotal player for Ranieri’s side and was one of their key members in their title-winning season of last year. The acquisition of Ron-Robert Zieler from Hannover 96 as back-up for Schmeichel seemed like a smart one for Ranieri as the German keeper had regularly been Joachim Low’s third-choice in goal for the full national team. However, Zieler has arguably been worse than any goalkeeper so far this season and the stats back that statement up. The German is the only goalkeeper to make 4+ appearances this season to have conceded more goals than he has saved, conceding 16 and saving just 15. This gives Ron-Robert Zieler an average of just 1 save per goal and the crown as the worst goalkeeper in the league so far.
The 5 Best
5. Tom Heaton – 2.35 saves per goal
Narrowly beating out Jordan Pickford (2.17) to the number 5 spot is Burnley’s Tom Heaton who has been in stellar form for Sean Dyche’s side so far this season. The Burnley captain has managed 2.35 saves per goal this season, with a total of 54 saves in 15 matches. His two game absence was a massive miss for the Clarets as they lost both matches that he didn’t feature and his form this season has all but affirmed his place in Gareth Southgate’s next England squad.
4. Kasper Schmeichel – 2.77 saves goal
Despite Leicester City’s struggles so far this season, Kasper Schmeichel has maintained his excellent form in-goal, making 4 saves per game to just 1.44 goals conceded per game. This has given him a save to goal ratio of 2.77, the fourth highest in the league and better than any goalkeeper below him in the table. Schmeichel has been on the opposite end of the spectrum to Ron-Robert Zieler this season, who has statistically been one of the worst goalkeepers in the league. The Foxes have won just two games out of eight in his absence proving how essential he is to Claudio Ranieri’s side.
3. Hugo Lloris – 2.80 saves per goal
It is with good reason that Hugo Lloris is considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He has been one of Tottenham’s most integral players since his arrival in 2012 and is having another fantastic 2016-17 campaign so far. The Ballon d’Or nominee has made 2.80 saves per goal and has lost just two of the games he has played in, helping Tottenham to 6 clean sheets in the process.
2. Thibaut Courtois – 2.90 saves per goal
Anyone who says that Thibaut Courtois hasn’t been tested this season won’t be saying that anymore. The Belgian goalkeeper has been brilliant in Chelsea’s resurgence of form, keeping 9 clean sheets in his last 11 matches. The 6’6 goalkeeper has made 2.9 saves per goal this season, conceding just 0.65 goals per game and making 29 total saves in 17 matches. This gives Courtois the second best ratio of saves to goals conceded and illustrates why he has been one of this season’s standout goalkeepers.
1. Lee Grant – 3.67 saves per goal
If Jack Butland had never gotten injured, Lee Grant may have never become a Premier League goalkeeper. The Derby County loanee has been sensational this season for Stoke as since he has come into the side the Potters have lost just two games from twelve. When you compare that to losing four of their opening five matches when veteran goalkeeper Shay Given was in goal, that is an incredible statistic. The British goalkeeper has made 3.67 saves per goal this season, making 2.75 saves per game and conceding just 0.83 goals per game. Grant has also kept 5 clean sheets in 12 matches and has easily been one of this season’s standout goalkeepers.
So there it is! The five best and worst goalkeepers based on saves per goal so far this season. Like what you read? Comment below to share your thoughts or click the follow button below to get more articles like this delivered right to your inbox. See you next time!