OFFICIAL PREMIER LEAGUE DATA LOOKS AT ENGLAND’S GOALKEEPING OPTIONS
Roy Hodgson may have publically announced his faith in Joe Hart, but that hasn’t stopped debate raging among England fans about whether the Manchester City goalkeeper’s dip in form should have cost him his place. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index is the official player rating system of the Barclays Premier League, and has assessed those goalkeepers who may have an eye on England’s number one shirt. Using Premier League, Football League and Scottish Premier League data for the season so far the stats show:
· In the Premier League, Hart has the best minutes per goal conceded rating
· David Stockdale has made the most saves per game in the Premier League
· However,Robert Green in the Championship has the best saves to shots ratio
· Green and Hart have both not dropped a catch all season
PICKING THE BALL OUT OF THE BACK OF THE NET…
Whatever else happens in matches, goalkeepers will be judged by the crucial “goals against” column at the end of the season, and Hart is still the best performing English goalkeeper in the Premier League in this respect.
Hart has conceded 8 goals this season, averaging one every 79 minutes compared to John Ruddy who has conceded one every 70 minutes and David Stockdale’s one every 62 minutes.
Outside of the Premier League, however, Robert Green is enjoying an outstanding start to the season with QPR. Green may be facing Championship rather than Premier League strikers, but just two goals conceded and eight clean sheets in ten games demands attention. Meanwhile North of the border Fraser Forster has conceded less than a goal a game this season (7 in 8 games) at a rate of one every 103 minutes.
THE CASE FOR THE DEFENCE…
However, as always, the goals conceded do not tell the whole story, as a watertight defence can take the credit for a clean sheet just as well as the goalkeeper. Drilling down a bit further, Hart has had to make just 15 saves this season. Compare that to top performer David Stockdale’s 27 behind a more vulnerable Fulham defence. That gives Stockdale a saves to shots ratio of 75% (3.9 saves per goal conceded), the highest in the Premier League. The stats appear to back up concerns over Hart’s shot stopping so far this season, with England’s number one saving just 65% of shots.
However, once again the work of Robert Green stands out. Far from enjoying a quiet life in the Championship, Green has made 23 saves this season and averaged an incredible 11.5 saves per goal conceded with a saves to shots ratio of 92%.
COMMANDING THE BOX…
With dealing with crosses an increasinglyimportant part of a goalkeeper’s game, it’s worth also looking at the data for how candidates for the number 1 shirt cope with the ball in the air. Here Hart excels, having not dropped a single catch all season. However, he does have a propensity to punch the ball clear rather than take the catch, with Hart punching 4 times compared to 5 catches this season. In comparison, Ruddy has made 11 catches and 2 punches, while Stockdale has made 11 catches to 5 punches and Green 20 catches to 3 punches.
Green also shares a 100% record for his catches with Hart, having not dropped a single one all season. Stockdale has just one dropped catch on his record while Ruddy has three.