Who's the greatest of them all?
Statistics such as clean sheets, save percentage and goals conceded have long been used to measure a goalkeeper's performance. However, the rise of Expected Goals (xG) - a measure of chance quality which rates every attempt between 0 and 1 depending on the likelihood of it being scored - has provided us with a more accurate way to judge shot-stoppers.
In this slideshow we rank every Premier League goalkeeper who has played at least 600 minutes this season by their performance against xG. A negative figure suggests that a custodian has conceded more often than he should have, while a positive number indicates an above average ability to stop shots.
Data credit: FBref.
23. Nick Pope, Burnley (-9.7)
Pope was arguably one of the Premier League’s standout goalkeepers in 2017/18, but injury kept him on the treatment table for much of last season.
Now Burnley’s bona fide No.1 following the summer sale of Tom Heaton, Pope has endured a disappointing campaign, conceding almost 10 more goals than xG suggests he should have.
22. Angus Gunn, Southampton (-9.6)
Gunn began the season as Southampton’s first-choice shot-stopper, starting each of his side’s first 10 Premier League outings.
A 9-0 defeat by Leicester proved the final straw, however, with Ralph Hasenhuttl relegating the under-performing Gunn to the bench thereafter.
21. Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea (-5.7)
Chelsea paid a world-record fee for a goalkeeper in acquiring Kepa from Athletic Club in 2018, but the jury remains out on the Spaniard.
Frank Lampard’s side have been defensively porous at times this term, and the figures suggest their net-minder should have done better with several of the shots he’s faced.
20. Paulo Gazzaniga, Tottenham (-4.9)
Gazzaniga began the season as Hugo Lloris’ understudy but assumed the position of Spurs’ go-to goalkeeper when the Frenchman dislocated his elbow in October.
The former Southampton man probably hasn’t done enough to retain the No.1 jersey in the long-term, having conceded almost five more goals than Tottenham’s xG Against figure.
19. Rui Patricio, Wolves (-4.2)
Wolves got off to a shaky start this season, failing to win any of their first six Premier League games before finally getting off the mark in late September.
Since then they’ve been one of the division’s most in-form teams, but Nuno Espirito Santo’s side could perhaps have amassed even more points had Rui Patricio been in better form between the sticks.
18. David de Gea, Manchester United (-3.7)
De Gea was widely considered the world’s foremost goalkeeper two years ago, but his standing has dropped since the 2018 World Cup.
Manchester United’s No.1 made several costly errors last season and has continued in a similar vein this time around, under-performing the xG by 3.7.
17. Tim Krul, Norwich (-3)
By some measures Norwich are a little unfortunate to be propping up the Premier League table: their xG For is only the third-worst in the division, for instance.
However, defensive frailties have undermined their push for safety, with goalkeeper Krul guilty of conceding three more goals than the Canaries’ xG Against.
16. Jordan Pickford, Everton (-2.7)
Pickford has failed to kick on to the extent he would have wanted following a terrific 2018 World Cup, and could see his place in the England team come under threat before the summer.
The Everton shot-stopper is among the Premier League goalkeepers to have under-performed the xG this season, conceding almost three goals more than he should have.
14= Roberto, West Ham (-1.1)
Roberto was widely seen as a disaster during his time deputising for the injured Lukasz Fabianski earlier this season.
However, the statistics suggest that eight Premier League goalkeepers have performed worse than him in 2019/20, even if the Spaniard hasn’t quite been able to match up with the xG.
14= Aaron Ramsdale, Bournemouth (-1.1)
Bournemouth are on a rotten run of form, having lost eight of their last 10 Premier League fixtures – and conceded 19 goals along the way.
In fairness to Ramsdale, he’s dealt with the shots he’s faced almost as well could be expected. The 21-year-old may need to turn his negative figure into a positive one if Bournemouth are to avoid the drop, though.
13. Ederson, Manchester City (-0.7)
Manchester City have scored more goals than any team in the Premier League this season, but their defensive woes have almost certainly cost them a third consecutive title.
Problems at centre-back have garnered the most attention, but Ederson has also endured a difficult campaign, conceding slightly more often than City’s xG Against.
12. Adrian, Liverpool (-0.4)
Adrian probably didn't anticipate getting many Premier League minutes this season, but an injury to Alisson on the opening weekend meant he was called upon almost immediately.
The Spaniard did a decent job in his eight matches between the posts, even if he’s not in the Brazilian’s class. Adrian wasn't quite able to over-perform the xG but he wasn’t far away from equalising it.
11. Alex McCarthy, Southampton (0)
McCarthy began the season among the Southampton substitutes, before usurping Angus Gunn in the pecking order following the historic 9-0 thrashing by Leicester.
The 30-year-old has performed as expected in 2019/20, conceding exactly the same amount of goals as the xG suggests he should have.
10. Bernd Leno, Arsenal (+0.2)
Leno made a costly mistake in Arsenal's recent defeat by Chelsea, but he's generally been one of his team's best players this season.
Even so, Leno has only managed to slightly over-perform the xG, although the bulk of the blame for the Gunners’ poor defensive record should be directed at those in front of him.
9. Ben Foster, Watford (+2.9)
Watford’s remarkable run of results under Nigel Pearson has boosted their survival hopes, although the Hornets remain in the bottom three after 21 games.
Their predicament would be even worse were it not for Foster. The former Manchester United man has been superb for much of the season, saving several shots that looked destined for the back of the net.
8. Martin Dubravka, Newcastle (+3)
Newcastle’s form has faltered a little of late, but they’re still in a healthier position than many would have guessed at this stage of the season.
Only Watford and Crystal Palace have scored fewer goals than the Magpies this term, which has placed considerable pressure on the defence. Dubravka has stood up to the task well, in effect denying opponents three goals over the course of the campaign.
7. Mat Ryan, Brighton (+3.3)
Graham Potter has implemented a more expansive, attacking brand of football at the Amex Stadium this season, but it’s Brighton’s defence that remains most impressive.
The Seagulls have conceded fewer goals than every other team in the bottom half of the table, with Ryan an integral part of their rearguard once more.
5= Lukasz Fabianski, West Ham (+4.1)
It's no coincidence that West Ham struggled when Fabianski was absent through injury earlier this season. Now fully fit and restored to the starting XI, the Pole will be aiming to help David Moyes' side climb up the Premier League.
The former Arsenal custodian has once again demonstrated his shot-stopping credentials this term; without him, West Ham would almost certainly have conceded more goals than they have.
5= Dean Henderson, Sheffield United (+4.1)
A Premier League debutant after helping Sheffield United win promotion last season, Henderson has made a mockery of the so-called step-up in quality between England’s top two divisions.
The Manchester United loanee has been in tremendous form for much of the campaign, helping the Blades post some of the most impressive defensive numbers in the top tier.
4. Alisson, Liverpool (+4.8)
When Alisson suffered an injury on the opening weekend of the season, Liverpool fans feared the worst. Adrian provided adequate cover but the Brazilian’s return in October was celebrated by the Anfield faithful.
The Reds have conceded fewer goals than any other Premier League side this term, with Alisson outperforming the xG by almost five.
3. Vicente Guaita, Crystal Palace (+5.1)
It may have passed many Premier League fans by, but Guaita has been one of the division’s standout goalkeepers so far this season.
Having cemented his status as Palace’s No.1, the Spaniard has conceded around five fewer goals than he would have been expected to based on the quality of the attempts he’s faced.
2. Tom Heaton, Aston Villa (+6)
It’s no exaggeration to say that the serious knee injury suffered by Heaton last month could cost Aston Villa their place in the Premier League.
The former Burnley net-minder had been magnificent up until then, over-performing his xG by six to aid Villa’s push for survival.
1. Kasper Schmeichel, Leicester (+6.2)
Schmeichel is now into his ninth season as a Leicester player, and this one looks set to be among his best.
Brendan Rodgers’ side possess the second meanest defence in the division, and Schmeichel has played a fundamental role in their stinginess. If it wasn’t for their goalkeeper, Leicester could expect to have conceded over six more goals than they have.
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