Alisson, De Gea, Ederson: Who is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League?

Alisson Golden Glove

Alisson saved Liverpool an incredible 19 goals in the Premier League last season.

That’s according to brilliant research from goalkeeper data specialist, John Harrison.

Harrison’s work has previously been used by Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports and he’s now produced an in-depth research piece into the goalkeepers of Premier League’s top six clubs.

He’s looked at Manchester City’s Ederson, Liverpool’s Alisson, Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy, Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale and Manchester United’s David de Gea in a range of categories – general stopping, 1v1 stopping, shot handling, cross claiming, through-ball sweeping, general passing and pressurised passing.

Harrison has worked out how many goals each of the top six goalkeepers have saved their side compared to an average Premier League goalkeeper.

Let’s take you through the results with Harrison’s explanation for each position.

Premier League goalkeepers

6th – David de Gea – 2.96 goals saved

Harrison says: “While his shot-stopping was by far the best, saving 9.86 goals above what we be expected if an average goalkeeper faced those shots. For comparison, the next highest goalkeeper in the top six had +4.59. His cross claiming, through-ball sweeping and distribution was by far the worst meaning that his overall contribution to Manchester United was just +2.96 goals.

“By rarely coming off his line to claim crosses and sweep up, De Gea faced far more shots than an average goalkeeper would have if they had faced the same through-balls and crosses. So, whilst his saves may have often been eye-catching this year, on many occasions another goalkeeper would likely have never even faced a shot as they theoretically would have intercepted the ball at an earlier stage.”

David de Gea

5th – Ederson – 3.88 goals saved

Harrison says: “Ederson’s profile is almost the exact opposite to De Gea’s. Ederson’s distribution was by far the best and was worth nearly two additional goals to Manchester City over the course of the season vs if they had an average Premier League distributer in goal.

“Additionally, his sweeping was top class and saved Manchester City an additional 2.5 goals, also allowing them to comfortably play with a high defensive line. The reason Ederson is not higher on this list is because of his shot stopping. Unlike all of the other big six goalkeeepers, Ederson performed to a below average standard when it came to shot stopping and given shot stopping actions are in general the actions which allow the goalkeeper to have the largest influence on the game, this severely hampered the influence he had on Manchester City.

“In the end, he was only worth +3.88 goals to them.”

Ederson

4th – Edouard Mendy – 5.74 goals saved

Harrison says: “Mendy has a far more balanced profile and in fact was a net positive to Chelsea in all three major aspects of goalkeeping. While his sweeping, cross claiming, and distribution are not the best of the bunch they are all significantly above the Premier League average. An interesting part of goalkeeping which is not often mentioned is handling. Mendy’s ability to catch shots and parry shots away from danger meant that Chelsea faced fewer rebounds than the average goalkeeper would’ve been expected to give away and thus conceded almost one goal less than expected – the best handling score of any of the big six goalkeepers.

“The reason Mendy isn’t higher up on this list is because of his poor end to the season shot stopping-wise. Mendy was comfortably in 2nd place for the majority of the season but a few uncharacteristically weak goals at the back end of the season dragged him down. Still, being worth +5.74 goals to Chelsea is not a bad score by any measure.”

Edouard Mendy

3rd – Aaron Ramsdale – 7.21 goals saved

Harrison says: “Like Mendy, Ramsdale is also a net positive in all three major aspects of goalkeeping. Similarly to Mendy, Ramsdale also started off the season in electric form before performance levels dropped off towards the end. Ramsdale’s big strengths at the start of the season were his 1v1 stopping, his general shot stopping, and his cross claiming.

“By Christmas, he was worth almost eight additional goals to Arsenal! However the second half of the season was not as impressive for Ramsdale. While his shot prevention remained solid his shot stopping dropped off. In fact, his general shot stopping was in line with the average Premier League goalkeeper while his 1v1 stopping actually cost Arsenal three goals.

“When looking at the season as a whole, the main issue in Ramsdale’s game was his handling. His parries go back into the danger zone far more often than they should and this provides the opposition with more shooting opportunities than they would usually expect to get. All in all though, given this was Ramsdale’s first season at Arsenal, he played well.

“He managed to be worth +7.21 goals I don’t think people can criticise him too much at all. Yet, Arsenal fans will be hoping that he can perform far more consistently next year!”

Aaron Ramsdale

2nd – Hugo Lloris – 7.34 goals saved

Harrison says: “Lloris was probably the most underrated and undervalued player in Tottenham’s charge to fourth place this season. Lloris’ profile is different to the other goalkeepers in the top portion of this list as his ability with his feet is below average and his 1v1 stopping is just about average.

“However, he more than makes up for this with the 2nd highest shot stopping score at +4.59 goals and one of the highest sweeping scores at +2.25 goals. Lloris’ amazing agility and speed off his line coupled with one of the tidiest and cleanest techniques around means he would be an asset to any team. His overall value of +7.34 goals to Tottenham was vital in them regaining Champions League football and I believe his excellent sweeping and shot stopping skills are often ignored due to his proclivity to drop a high profile error.”

Hugo Lloris

1st – Alisson – 18.94 goals saved

Harrison says: “Alisson was by far the goalkeeper of the year statistically! Not only was he above average in every aspect of goalkeeping, he often was the outright best goalkeeper in each individual aspect. His distribution was second only to Ederson, his cross claiming and sweeping was the best of the group, and his ability to stop 1v1s was out of this world – saving almost nine goals above what would be expected for an average Premier League goalkeeper!

“Overall, Alisson was worth 18.94 goals to Liverpool which is essentially the difference between challenging for the title and only challenging for the top four. I am still in disbelief that he didn’t get a mention for the Player of the Year award, however for what it is worth he does get my goalkeeper of the year award!”

Alisson
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