The goalkeeper position is the one area of the pitch where any slight mistake can prove to be costly.
That's why every club, particularly in the Premier League where the stakes are so high, looks to recruit not just the best goalkeeper but one that will suit their style of play.
Shot-stopping is always important but for a lot of teams, the goalkeeper also has to be strong with his feet as they will be drawn into playing the ball out from the back.
There have been a number of stand-out performers throughout the campaign who have played a significant part in helping their side reach their current position.
Throughout the coming days, Tom Carnduff will look at the best performing players in each position; aiming to find those who have excelled in the areas that matter most.
Today, we're focusing on the last line of defence in the goalkeepers and analysing the statistics behind the main areas.
Who makes the most saves?
- Martin Dubravka (Newcastle): 117
- Bernd Leno (Arsenal): 104
- Aaron Ramsdale (Bournemouth): 102
- Tim Krul (Norwich): 96
- Maty Ryan (Brighton): 92
Taking top spot when it comes to overall number of saves this season is Newcastle's Martin Dubravka.
The 31-year-old has become a fan favourite on Tyneside since his move in 2018 and the stats back up his popularity. When it comes to shot stopping, Dubravka leads the way.
Two other goalkeepers join the Newcastle stopper in the plus-100 category and the first is Bernd Leno.
The Arsenal man has come up with some big saves throughout the course of the campaign but with the Gunners holding aspirations of returning to the elite level of European football, they'd be hoping their goalkeeper was further down the list.
In fact, Leno is the only goalkeeper of a top-ten team involved in this list. The other four are all with sides who are 13th or lower in the standings.
Aaron Ramsdale also sits on three figures with 102. He's featured in all-but-one of Bournemouth's Premier League fixtures this season.
Tim Krul, as expected, has been busy with Norwich sitting bottom of the table. His 96 saves have helped them to memorable results over the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham and Leicester though.
Brighton's Maty Ryan also makes the cut with 92 saves. The Australia international has helped Brighton concede around 4.6 less goals than their Expected Goals Against says.
What about the Expected Goals Against?
Difference between Expected Goals Against total and actual goals conceded this season:
- Sheffield United: 11.9
- Crystal Palace: 11.8
- Newcastle: 11.3
- Leicester: 9.4
- Liverpool: 7.7
On the topic of Expected Goals Against, that can be looked at for an indication of who has stood out over the course of the campaign.
Expected Goals is a measurement that continues to divide opinion in football but it's useful here to measure the quality of goal-scoring chances against saves made by the goalkeeper.
If a team's xGA is higher it means that they are facing higher quality chances.
The top-three are split by a tiny total of 0.6 with Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Newcastle all being thankful for strong goalkeeping.
That gives us a first mention for Dean Henderson. The Sheffield United keeper, on-loan from Manchester United, has been a stand-out star in his first Premier League season.
The Blades were eager to bring him back after he back-stopped their charge to the Premier League and his performances haven't gone unnoticed - there's increasing calls for him to be involved in the England senior squad.
It's also worth noting that Sheffield United have only conceded 25 goals this season - giving them the second-best defensive record in the entire Premier League.
Crystal Palace are just behind by a difference of 0.1 and that's largely due to the efforts of Vicente Guaita.
Of course, the difference between Expected Goals Against and actual goals conceded isn't all down to the goalkeeper but they have a significant part to play and Guaita is no different.
Palace also sit in sixth when it comes to goals against in England's top-flight.
Kasper Schmeichel has long been a familiar face to English football fans and he boasts a Premier League winners medal on his CV.
He continues to be an important part of this Foxes side and while Brendan Rodgers has established a strong defence, Schmeichel has played his part in keeping teams out.
Expected Goals Against puts Leicester at 37.4 when their actual tally is 28. The third-best record in the division.
Finally, a surprise name considering how far ahead they are in the title race but Liverpool sit fifth in this chart.
Their goalkeeping duties have largely been down to Alisson but Adrian has also seen involvement - stepping in due to injuries to the number one and a one-game suspension picked up in the win over Brighton.
Despite boasting some of the world's best defensive players in their back line, Liverpool's Expected Goals Against puts them behind Manchester City in the defensive record.
Who is the best distributor?
Accurate pass percentage (20+ games played):
- Ederson (Manchester City): 87%
- Alisson (Liverpool): 84%
- Maty Ryan (Brighton): 81%
- Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea): 78%
- Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester): 75%
Distribution is just as important as shot stopping when it comes to the modern day goalkeeper.
Top Premier League teams look to build from the back and need their goalkeeper to be as good with his feet as he is with his hands.
Therefore, it's little surprise to see Ederson top the list when it comes to accurate pass percentage.
His 87% puts him top of the charts. Pep Guardiola has a reputation for his teams playing passing football with an intent on attack and he needs a goalkeeper who can play as a sweeper at times.
The defence trust Ederson with the ball at his feet. That's indicated in the fact that they have little issue in involving him in passages of play.
Of course, there is an appearance for Liverpool's Alisson in this list with the Reds being another side who like to control possession and build from the back.
Little else needs to be said on the goalkeepers of two sides who have battled at the top of the Premier League in recent seasons.
A somewhat surprise name on the list is Brighton's Ryan. We already know that shot-stopping is a strength but distribution can be added to his positives column.
A key point to be made here is the number of passes. Only Norwich's Krul has had more successful passes than Ryan this season.
The Brighton keeper is on 925 passes from 29 games. Ederson is on 566 with Alisson on 564. Those numbers highlight just how impressive Ryan's percentage is.
Kepa Arrizabalaga and Schmeichel are the other two to make up the top-five for accuracy. They are both on over 700 passes, with the Leicester man the higher of the two on 795.
Accurate long ball percentage (20+ games played):
- Ederson (Manchester City): 56%
- Maty Ryan (Brighton): 53%
- Rui Patricio (Wolves): 49%
- Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester): 49%
- Alisson (Liverpool): 49%
There are appearances for Ederson and Alisson on the accurate long ball percentage list as well but their overall number is lower than those around them.
They make up two of the four goalkeepers to only sit on double figures for accurate long balls this season. Leno and David De Gea are the others.
The positive is that they boast a decent percentage from the low number they have attempted. For Leno, his success rate is just 26% with 74 accurate long balls.
Once again, there's a positive mention for Ryan with his long ball percentage sitting above 50%.
The 53% is a big plus considering his accurate long balls number is 182 - the eighth-highest in the Premier League.
Rui Patricio is third on the list but there is a debate to be had that says he is the best long passing distributor in England's top division.
He's on 49% for accuracy but the 207 total accurate passes sees him sit fifth overall. The only goalkeeper who comes near him from those above in the list is Dubravka with a 41% success rate and a number of 247.
Schmeichel also deserves praise for his long ball success rate. The Leicester man joins Patricio on 49% but his total number is 182.
That's still a positive considering that his total passes is 795 compared to Patricio's 556.
Who is the stand-out star?
There's a strong debate to be had when it comes to picking out just one goalkeeper as the stand-out star of the Premier League.
Of course, the likes of Ederson and Alisson are strong contenders given their involvement with teams at the top-end of the division.
But there should be praise for those at other teams and there are two main names to look at.
The first of which is Henderson at Sheffield United. The eye-catching statistic of them all is the difference between the Blades' Expected Goals Against and their actual goals conceded.
It's not only that though. It's the fact that Henderson provides what is required across the board.
His decision-making is solid which is reflected in the five from five successful runs out. His number of passes or saves may not be as high as the others but he does the right things at the right time.
Only Nick Pope can boast more clean sheets than the Blades stopper this season and, with another campaign under his belt, Henderson will be a strong shout for England's Euro 2021 squad.
Whether he'll be a Sheffield United player or Manchester United's number one by the time that comes remains to be seen.
On the other side is Brighton's Ryan who continues to impress. That's why he appears high up in the main charts across the board.
The number of saves made have kept his side in crucial games and the two-point gap between the Seagulls and the relegation zone shows that those stops can not be underestimated.
A big change that Brighton have seen under Graham Potter's guidance is the overall possession they have in games. Their main issue is converting that into goals.
Potter has inherited a goalkeeper who is comfortable with the ball at his feet though and it'll prove truly beneficial in the long run when he has had time to build a team to his liking.
As the Premier League prepares for its June 17 restart with nine fixtures still to play, we look at each relegation candidate's chances of avoiding the drop.
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