Everybody focuses on the forwards, but the Premier League is home to some of the best goalkeepers in the world.
In fact, it is currently home to the world’s best goalkeeper, according to FIFA’s awards, with Edouard Mendy taking the crown for his role in Chelsea winning the Champions League last season.
But has he been the best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season? There is a lot of competition, with Alisson and Ederson in particular contesting at the top of the table in the Premier League title race.
It’s not just about the big teams and big names, though. There are a number of impressive shot-stoppers across the division who have been vital to their team’s seasons.
So, who does come out on top across the season as a whole (not just the final few weeks)?
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10. Robert Sanchez (Brighton)
There are a few goalkeepers who could make a case to be in at 10 on this list, but we’ve gone for Brighton’s Robert Sanchez.
The Spaniard is one of eight goalkeepers to have made 100 saves this season, reaching his century in Brighton’s 1-1 draw with Leeds United, making three to keep Jesse Marsch’s side out until injury time. Sanchez, who made his Spain debut early in the season, also has the tiniest of positives when it comes to goals prevented.
Facing 41.05 Expected Goals on Target Conceded, Sanchez’s 41 goals conceded means he has prevented 0.05 goals. It’s minor, but not too many goalkeepers actually boast a positive score in this sense. And he’s also kept 11 clean sheets, with only five goalkeepers managing more.
9. David Raya (Brentford)
If David Raya hadn’t suffered a knee injury in October, ruling him out for almost three months, Brentford could have been looking at a top-half finish in the Premier League. The Spaniard started life in the Premier League with three clean sheets in his opening five games, keeping out Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Wolves.
Overall, Raya has conceded 25 goals in 23 Premier League appearance this season, with eight clean sheets – averaging one every 2.88 games, an impressive record for a goalkeeper of a newly-promoted side. And he can take a lot of credit for that. With xGOTC at 24.52, Raya has only just conceded more than he should have, but his save percentage is one of the best in the division at 74.23% (caveat: not all saves are equal, of course).
8. Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham)
If you want a penalty saved in the Premier League this season, you want Lukasz Fabianski in goal. The Polish shot-stopper has faced six penalties in the Premier League in 2021/22 and has saved three, including from Riyad Mahrez on Sunday to help West Ham to a point against Manchester City.
But he’s not just a penalty-saver. Fabianski may be one of the more underrated goalkeepers in the division among the household names, and he’s definitely one of the busiest. The West Ham man has had to make 110 saves so far this season with a success rate of 70.06%, conceding 47 goals from 157 shots on target faced. He’s only slightly underperforming against his xGOTC too, which stands at 45.9.
7. David De Gea (Man Utd)
There was a time when David de Gea was considered the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and maybe even the world. And although he is not at that level anymore, he’s still up there in the Premier League.
The Spaniard is arguably one of the two big reasons Manchester United are guaranteed European football for next season, the other being Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals. De Gea has been under fire between the sticks for Man Utd, facing 180 shots on target in the Premier League, with only Illan Meslier (216) facing more.
But from that, De Gea has made 126 saves, again only bettered by Meslier. Conceding 56 goals, De Gea has prevented 0.17 against his xGOTC of 56.17, and he hasn’t been helped by teammates putting the ball into their own net on three occasions (only Everton, five, have scored more own goals than Man United this season).
6. Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)
Edouard Mendy is a great goalkeeper and was fully deserving of his The Best Goalkeeper award, but he hasn’t had the best of seasons with Chelsea, which is why he is only sixth.
First, let’s focus on the positives. The Senegalese shot-stopper has kept 14 clean sheets in the Premier League this season and has conceded just 29 goals in 32 games, making 71 saves. His start of the season in particular was very good, with Mendy keeping six clean sheets in his first 10 matches.
But he has faltered since, dropping him down this list. Mendy’s xGOTC is 26.75 this season but he has, as mentioned, conceded 29 goals – 2.25 per 90 more than he Opta’s analysis would expect him to.
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5. Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
Aaron Ramsdale had been relegated in his past two Premier League seasons. That was what many were highlighting when Arsenal signed the goalkeeper from Sheffield United in the summer. But even though it was rival banter, they were doing Ramsdale a massive disservice.
Ramsdale has been a big reason for Arsenal overcoming their poor start to the season, keeping clean sheets in three of his first four Premier League appearances after replacing Bernd Leno as the Gunners’ number one. Across the entirety of the campaign, Ramsdale has 12 clean sheets and a save percentage of 70.08, while conceding 38 goals from 37.59 xGOT.
There have been some moments in recent weeks where Ramsdale hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory,
4. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Not too long ago, it felt as though Hugo Lloris was winding down as one of the Premier League’s top goalkeepers. Mistakes were creeping into his game and the Frenchman appeared to be letting in more goals than usual. But this season he has looked closer to his best.
Lloris has kept 15 clean sheets so far in 2021/22, with only two goalkeepers managing more, helping Tottenham to what appears to be a top-four finish and a return to the Champions League. The Frenchman has also kept 98 saves, with a save percentage of 71.01%, conceding 40 goals.
3. Ederson (Man City)
There are just three goalkeepers to have ‘prevented’ more than one goal in the Premier League this season according to xGOTC, one of whom is Ederson. The Brazilian has long been considered among the top goalkeepers in the Premier League and has been key to Manchester City’s title chase this season.
Ederson is joint-top for clean sheets this season, keeping 20 so far, and has conceded 24 goals from 25.08 xGOTC, making 60 saves. The Brazilian is also, of course, one of the modern goalkeepers who is more than capable with the ball at his feet and starts a fair few of Man City’s attacks.
The one thing keeping Ederson from top spot is his save percentage. While 70.37% isn’t a bad percentage, there are a handful of goalkeepers with a better record this season.
2. Jose Sa (Wolves)
Perhaps the goalkeeping story of the season has been Jose Sa’s arrival at Wolves. The 29-year-old was drafted in from Olympiacos to replace Rui Patricio who left for Roma, and he had big gloves to fill. But he’s had no problems whatsoever.
Despite sitting eighth, Wolves have one of the worst attacks in the Premier League this season, with only Norwich, Watford and Burnley scoring fewer than their 37 across the campaign. So how are they in the top half of the table? Jose Sa, that’s how.
The Portuguese shot-stopper has been unbeatable at times and has the best difference between Expected Goals on Target Conceded and actual goals conceded in the Premier League this season. Sa’s xGOTC is 46.77, the fifth-highest in the league, but he has conceded just 39 goals for a difference of 7.77 goals prevented. His closest rival in this specific metric has prevented 1.27 goals.
He’s also one of only three goalkeepers to assist a Premier League goal this season. The others? Watford’s Ben Foster and the next man on this list.
1. Alisson (Liverpool)
It was always going to be one of the Brazilians, and it’s Alisson that gets the nod. The Liverpool goalkeeper joins Ederson on 20 clean sheets for the season but has done so in 90 fewer minutes (not that minutes played counts for the Golden Glove award).
Alisson has also conceded fewer goals, letting in 23 across the campaign from an xGOTC of 23.62, preventing 0.62 goals. Like Ederson, Alisson is also fantastic with the ball at his feet and may be the best in the world at that, even if they are all capable of an error here and there.
But what sets Alisson above the rest, on top of everything else, is his save percentage. At one of the best teams in the league, Alisson isn’t going to have as many saves as those in struggling teams, so how he deals with the shots he does face is vital. And of goalkeepers to have faced at least 20 shots on target in the Premier League this season, Alisson comes out on top with a save percentage of 75.79%.
In fact, even if you lower the limit to 10, only Kepa Arrizabalaga (84.62% of 13), has a better save percentage.