The Premier League is adjudged as the toughest league in the world and for a long while, there have been a debate as to who the best goalkeeper in the Premier League is. I have come like an umpire to settle the ongoing heated debate. There would be some parameters that would be used to decipher who the top 10 goalkeepers vis a vis the top 5 and the best shot stopper in the league. With 25 league matches already played, it isn’t too early to make such decisions.
The parameters to be used are:
Number of matches played, this will prove the level of fitness.
Number of saves made in the numbers of matches played, this will prove the agility of the goalkeeper
Number of clean sheets had so far this season in the number of matches played
The teams against who the goalkeeper kept the clean sheet. The quality of the opponents would also prove the quality of the goalkeeper
The team the goalkeeper plays for. The quality of the team would show how well the goalkeeper is exposed or protected during matches. Goalkeepers playing for lower teams are rated higher because they are under more pressure during games especially against the top teams. Atimes, it is their brilliance between the sticks that won their teams’ valuable points.
Disciplinary record. The goalkeeper is an outfield player and not expected to get cautionary cards since he is expected to make saves and not silly tackles. Hence, goalkeepers with poor disciplinary records are rated lower.
The top 10 goalkeepers highlighted by me for the purpose of this piece in no particular order are Asmir Begovic, Joe Hart, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Julio Cesar, Petr Cech, David De Gea, Tim Krul, Michel Vorm, Ali Al Habsi, Wojciech Szczesny. Out of these 10 shot stoppers, only 2 have competed in all of the 25 league games played so far this season and they are Joe Hart and Jussi Jaaskelainen. The countdown begins in descending order from 10 to 1.
P:S : This article was written before the last round of EPL matches.
10. Wojciech Szczesny – I have rated the Arsenal goalkeeper the 10th best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season owing to the stats he posted using those aforementioned parameters. Szczesny has only played 17 league games this season meaning he has been having issues with his fitness and from those 17 games, he has only mustered 48 saves and 5 clean sheets. The ratio of his saves vis a vis his appearances is 2.8. Also, the Pole hasn’t kept a clean sheet against a top side as the 5 clean sheets he has kept this season has been against teams in the lower half of the table ( Stoke, Wigan, West Brom, Villa, Sunderland). Hence, in terms of fitness, saves, number of clean sheets and quality of opposition, Szczesny hasn’t been top notch this season.
9. David De Gea – the Manchester United goalkeeper comes next. De Gea hasn’t also been up to the task this season having only managed just 17 games. His missing 8 games this season has been due to fitness issues and him been dropped owing to poor performances in some games. In those 17 games, he has made 66 saves giving him a save ratio of 3.88. De Gea has kept just 4 clean sheets and none was against a top team (Fulham, Wigan, West Brom and Newcastle).
8. Michel Vorm – the Swansea goalkeeper falls on the 8th spot. He has really not had as many games as he had last season owing to his battles with injuries. So far this season, he has only amassed 14 games but out of those 14 games, he has made 46 saves having a save ratio of 3.22. Vorm has also kept 4 clean sheets and none was against a top side (Everton, Reading, Swansea and QPR). He is rated slightly above De Gea because of the quality of the team he plays in. Swansea is not in the class of Manchester United and at the Swans, he doesn’t have a robust defence to protect him, hence, he is often left vulnerable.
7. Tim Krul – the Newcastle goalkeeper is 7th on the list. He has managed 21 Premier League games this season and 68 saves meaning a save ratio of 3.23. He has kept just 3 clean sheets and all were against low teams (Norwich, OPR and Wigan). He stands ahead of Vorm because he has played more games this season showing more fitness.
6. Ali Al-Habsi – the Wigan’s goal keeper is in the 6th spot. Habsi has had a fine season both in terms of his fitness and saves. He has played all the 25 league games of Wigan and has pulled off 75 saves meaning he has a save ratio of 3.0. He has also kept 3 clean sheets albeit against only one top side (Tottenham, Aston –Villa and Southampton).
5.Asmir Begovic – the Stoke goalkeeper stands in the 5th spot. He stands there because he has shown great fitness and consistency in his performances to have been able to play all the 25 league games of Stoke this season. In those 25 games, he has amassed 71 saves and 9 clean sheets. That means he has a save ratio of 7.88. His clean sheets have been against all types of teams; top, average and poor sides (Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Swansea, West Brom, Aston Villa, QPR, Sunderland, Fulham).
4. Petr Cech – the Chelsea goal-keepers stands tall in the 4th spot. He has played 23 league games for the Blues and has amassed 79 saves meaning a save ratio of 3.4. He has kept 9 clean sheets so far this season (Manchester City, Stoke, Norwich, Aston Villa, Fulham, QPR, Newcastle, Wigan, Stoke).
3. Julio Cesar – the QPR goalie is 3rd on the list and maybe a shock candidate for the spot considering how badly his team (QPR) are doing, locked at the bottom of the league. QPR might be a candidate for relegation but one of the few shinning lights in their rather embarrassing campaign has been the former Inter Milan goal tender. He is the reason QPR still has a glimmer of hope to escape the drop. Out of the total 25 games, he has only played 17 games but pulled an astonishing 72 saves meaning he has a save ratio of 4.23. He has also kept 6 clean sheets with 2 been against top sides (Chelsea and Tottenham). The reason why he is rated above Petr Cech is the fact that he has a horrible defence protecting him. If he was priviledged to have the defensive steel Chelsea have, there are chances he would have kept more clean sheets.
2. Joe Hart – the Manchester City shot stopper is in the 2nd spot having showed great fitness to have completed all 25 games but made just 42 saves meaning a goal ratio of 1.68. He has also kept an astonishing 11 clean sheets this season against all manner of sides ( Chelsea, Arsenal, QPR, Fulham, Stoke, Reading, Wigan, Aston Villa, West Ham, Swansea, Sunderland).
1. Jussi Jaaskelainen – my choice of the best goal keeper in the Premier League so far this season is 37 year old West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. So far this season, he has shown huge fitness having completed all of Wet Ham’s 25 Premier League games this season and great form as well. He has the highest number of saves this season with 97 saves with a save ratio of 3.88. Hehas also kept 7 clean sheets (Manchester City, Swansea, West Brom, Newcastle, Norwich, Fulham, Aston Villa). I am picking him ahead of other top juggernauts because with a modest side like the Hammers where he is constantly been exposed, he has still been able to pose such an impressive performance.
These are my picks, you can have yours by posting a comments and listing your own choices. Thanks.
Written By Kolade Omotosho