The Hard Tackle takes a look at the best goal-keeping performances in the Premier League for this season.
Goalkeepers are a rare breed – they know they will be one of the most underrated players in a football field, and yet they manage to achieve legendary status with their quiet contributions which end up doing all the talking for them.
Whenever you ask a person about their favourite footballer, it is very rare for them to name a goalkeeper. We all like goalkeepers, yet we never them as our favourites because they just do their job and are not celebrated as much as strikers or even midfielders are.
The recent Premier League season has seen a good lot of goalkeepers who have been pivotal to the successes of their respective clubs. The Hard Tackle takes a look at such note-worthy contributions as part of our End of the Season Awards.
Here are our list of nominees in no particular order:
1. Fraser Forster (Southampton): 14 clean sheets
The Southampton goalie has had a season full of ups and downs this time. He has the third highest amount of clean sheets in the league (14), and yet he has allowed 40 goals in 31 starts.
Forster has shown two major extremes in terms of performance this season by either saving it all or not saving anything at all. That is easily illustrated by his stats wherein he has allowed multiple goals to be scored in 14 games, and has also registered 14 clean sheets.
As far as saves go, he has managed to save a little more than 60% of shots he faced. However, the way he turned things around for himself this season deserves credit because his talent just cannot be denied.
Forster’s total number of clean sheets have increased when compared with last season and has played in every match for Southampton. If he continues to improve like this, the Saints will be blessed with one of the best keepers of the league.
2. Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea): 16 clean sheets
After a less than ideal season last time, both Courtois and Chelsea have bounced back in style. The Blues picked up the Premier League title under Antonio Conte while Courtois won the Golden Gloves award.
He conceded only 28 goals in Chelsea’s title-winning campaign. He also received good support from Chelsea’s solid defence and ultimately a combined effort saw them pave their way to victory.
Courtois’ height is something he uses to his advantage since that allows him to clear the ball away from the box as well. The over six-feet tall goalie has 33 high claims and 13 punches. The Blues’ opponents are rarely ever given chances inside the six-yard box against Courtois.
The Chelsea keeper is also exceptional at saving set pieces. It was only in this season that Courtois gave up his first direct free-kick of his polished career, an astounding feat.
Courtois has been the source of a lot of transfer speculation owing to offers received from Real Madrid. However, Chelsea will need to retain a top-class keeper like him as they get ready for Champions League next season.
3. Petr Cech (Arsenal): 12 clean sheets
There can never be a list of best goalkeepers in the Premier League without Petr Cech’s name on it.
Cech is still one of the strongest goalkeepers Arsenal have ever had since Jens Lehmann, but this season, it felt like some of his previous fire-power is diminishing. He is still brilliant, but when compared to his stunning performances with Chelsea, he looks a bit dull now.
However, considering how average Arsenal’s defence has been this season, Cech has done a good job like always. Out of the 35 games he played, Cech conceded 37 goals and managed to record 12 clean sheets.
In fact, he also has the second-best save percentage in the league at 75 percent.
The Gunners keeper is characteristically controlling inside the box and is very instinctive in terms of saving goals. His experience just adds to his qualities, making him one of Premier League’s goalkeeping greats.
4. David De Gea (Manchester United): 14 clean sheets
The ‘flying Spaniard’ as he is fondly dubbed by Manchester United fans has not had one of his best seasons this time. He was even rested for several games due to injury. However, that did not stop him from making some stunning saves this season.
When De Gea is in full form, he is on par goalkeeping greats like Manuel Neuer and perhaps even Gianluigi Buffon. There is little a goalkeeper can do when the club faces a dismal season but he received adequate support from United’s defenders.
The Real Madrid target managed to register 14 clean sheets this season – the same as Southampton’s Fraser Forster.
De Gea averages less than one goal let-in per game as he’s allowed 24 goals in 30 starts, and all this despite not being a regular since Sergio Romero took up his spot especially during the matches in Europe.
Despite all that, De Gea has made some incredible saves and was even named to his fourth PFA Team of the Year.
5. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur): 15 clean sheets
Hugo Lloris has played in perhaps one of his best seasons for Spurs and narrowly missed out on picking up the Golden Gloves.
Lloris started missed out on two games when compared to Courtois’ appearances, and yet gave a tough fight to the Belgian in the race for the Golden Gloves. The Spurs goalie has achieved a clean sheet in 46 percent of his starts this season.
Lloris has allowed goals past him just 20 times this season and he has also saved over 76 percent of shots threatening his goal. In fact, he was slated to win the Golden Gloves ahead of Courtois but unfortunately, Lloris has to wait for his turn next season.
The keeper has also been a crucial part in Tottenham’s quest for the title. Although they lost out to Chelsea, this has been a truly remarkable season for the club as well as Hugo Lloris.