Goalkeeper, one of the most important positions in world football, is finally getting its dues.
For years the position was overlooked and unappreciated both in terms of fans but, in particular, through the way clubs approached signing and selling them. But now they’re getting the love they’ve always deserved. Twice last summer we saw the world-record transfer fee for goalkeepers broken by Premier League clubs.
So now, several months down the line, how have those goalkeepers done? How have the other shot-stoppers who didn’t move done? Here we look at the top 10 Premier League goalkeepers so far this season. Obviously, weighting will be given to their general quality but their performances in 2018/19 will count heavily.
10. Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United)
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a Rafa Benitez goalkeeper is doing well, but Dubravka really is doing quite well for Newcastle United.
Sure Newcastle have conceded 40 goals, but he’s also had to face an immense 417 shots. Dubravka has often been the last line of defence for Newcastle, and his nine clean sheets can only be bettered by four shot-stoppers.
9. Jordan Pickford (Everton)
England’s no. 1 has all the tools to be a top-class goalkeeper but he can’t seem to help himself in an Everton shirt. No goalkeeper has made more errors leading to goals than his four, the most high-profile of those being whatever the hell did in the closing seconds of the season’s first Merseyside derby, handing Liverpool a huge win.
But he will rise up this list when he learns to get out of his own way.
8. Rui Patricio (Wolves)
Rui Patricio is a handsome man. He’s also a great goalkeeper and definitely one of the signings of the season he saves 69.11% of the shots on target he faces but his value is the confidence he transmits to the defence in front of him.
Even though he’s a goalkeeper wearing no. 11 – his intentions are noble but it still looks weird – Patricio shepherds and organises with true authority and is why Wolves can play on the break as often as they do.
7. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)
What a strange goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is. As capable of the sublime as he is of the ridiculous, the French no. 1 often lurches from one to the other within the same match. For example he “did a Karius” in the World Cup final but still won.
Lloris has a very impressive save percentage of 73% but always looks like he’s just five seconds away from costing Spurs a goal with some needless error – see the dying stages of Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.
6. Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea)
The world’s most expensive goalkeeper probably has handled the massive expectation that has come with his huge price-tag fairly well.
It would have been easy for Arrizabalaga to fold under pressure but barring a flew loose moments he has looked like a confident and competent stopper who most importantly is quality with the ball at his feet. Chelsea have many issues but goalkeeper isn’t one of them.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
5. Ben Foster (Watford)
Almost a decade after bombing as Manchester United goalkeeper, Ben Foster has excelled for Watford having signed from West Brom in the summer. He was one of the few good things about the Baggies and is now a powerhouse at the back for Watford.
His 100 saves and seven clean sheets have gone a long way to making the Hornets a solid side this season.
4. Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham)
Lukasz Fabianski was relegated with Swansea last season and that was atrocious because he had been waging a one-man war to try and keep them in the top-flight. West Ham snapped by the man once known as “FlappyHandski” and the Polish stopper has gone on a mad one for the Hammers.
He has faced more shots than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League (446) but has responded by making more saves than anyone else (126) and has saved 71.76% of the shots on target that he’s dealt with.
3. Ederson (Manchester City)
Ederson may look like a strung-out Soundcloud rapper who dates actresses but he keeps goal with all the confidence of, well, a strung-out Soundcloud rapper who dates actresses. Ederson is quick off his line, sharp at 1v1s and an absolute poet with the ball at his feet.
Sure, his 15 clean sheets are impressive but he’s only faced 190 shots (that’s 6.13 per-90 minutes, the best in the Premier League) so his most-impressive statistic by quite some distance is the fact that he has one assist!
2. David de Gea (Manchester United)
David de Gea is certainly the most-talented goalkeeper in the Premier League and if we’re ranking individual seasons then the absolute madness that was his 2017/18 is probably one of the greatest goalkeeping campaigns of all-time, but this year he’s not quite hit the heights.
Part of that is the disaster that was Manchester United up until December 18, but still, the performances were what they were. He’s saved 71.53% of shots on target, making 104 saves.
What’s even wilder is that only three goalkeepers have faced more shots than the 412 that have been sent his way! With a better defence ahead of him De Gea could post some absurd numbers.
1. Alisson (Liverpool)
Alisson has an amazing beard. If that was all you could say about him, it’d still be impressive. As it turns out he’s actually a ruddy good goalkeeper and probably more “deserving” of being the world’s most-expensive goalkeeper for longer than 20 days.
Alisson has, along with Virgil van Dijk, brought a sense of stability and serenity to Liverpool’s defence which is impressive considering he Cruyff turned into Kelechi Iheanacho and gave the ball away back in autumn. To shrug that kind of mistake off in your debut season is genuinely impressive.
Of course, Alisson is not as good as David de Gea, but no one could argue he’s not having a better season. He has 17 clean sheets for Liverpool which is a higher total than anyone else in the league and he’s only conceded 19 goals, again the best in the league. He stops 76.54% of the shots on target he faces, which is also the best in the Premier League.
Sure, he benefits from playing behind the best centre-back in the division, but the performances and numbers can’t be argued with right now. He may be Liverpool’s no. 13 but he’s the Premier League’s no. 1.