The 2022/23 Premier League season has taken a pause for the first international break of the new footballing year – and it’s a chance for us to all take stock of what’s come before.
Arsenal have turned heads by setting the early pace, Thomas Tuchel and Scott Parker have already bitten the dust, Liverpool are currently running through treacle and Erling Haaland simply can’t stop scoring.
However, today, we wanted to specifically focus in on the goalkeepers who have both impressed and struggled the most between the sticks across these opening six weeks of action.
Assessing 2022/23 Premier League goalkeepers
And to look at which shot-stoppers are stopping the most shots, we’re calling upon one of the most fascinating data sets that you can use in order to judge goalkeeping performances: PsXG minus goals conceded.
We are, of course, talking about ‘number of goals prevented’ which is a loose term for the difference between the actual total of goals that a ‘keeper has conceded and how many they were expected to let in based on statistical modelling of the quality of the shots that they faced.
In other words, if the data suggested that, say, Peter Schmeichel was expected to concede 11 goals, but he only let in nine, then he would – in theory – have prevented two goals from being scored.
All this is based upon the ever-controversial ‘expected goals’ phenomena, which you’ll have to trust us when we say that it’s a lot more telling than a lot of naysayers will have you believe.
And the only caveats you’ll need to bear in mind is that own goals aren’t included and the data, too, can also be indicative of luck as much as it does largely illustrate the goalkeeper’s shot-stopping quality.
Goalkeepers ranked by goals prevented
Got it? Right then, well, let’s check out how every Premier League goalkeeper to play this season ranks by number of goals prevented so far according to the data over at FBref.
23. Danny Ward (Leicester City): -6.1
22. Gavin Bazunu (Southampton): -2.5
21. Edouard Mendy (Chelsea): -1.9
20. Mark Travers (Bournemouth): -1.7
19. Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal): -1.6
18. Illan Meslier (Leeds United): -1.4
17. David Raya (Brentford): -1.0
16. Alphonse Areola (West Ham United): -0.9
15. Marek Rodák (Fulham): -0.7
14. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur): -0.7
13. Ederson (Manchester City): -0.6
12. Dean Henderson (Nottingham Forest): -0.3
11. David de Gea (Manchester United): 0.1
10. Alisson Becker (Liverpool): 0.1
9. Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham United): 0.3
8. Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace): 0.5
7. Neto (Bournemouth): 0.7
6. Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa): 1.1
5. Jose Sa (Wolverhampton Wanderers): 1.4
4. Bernd Leno (Fulham): 2.3
3. Nick Pope (Newcastle United): 2.4
2. Robert Sanchez (Brighton & Hove Albion): 2.6
- Jordan Pickford (Everton): 3.4
Damning for Ward
Goodness gracious me. We knew that Leicester were having a tough start to the season, but we never knew that Ward was struggling to fill Kasper Schmeichel’s boots to quite such an extent.
The stats damningly reveal that the Welshman is conceding 0.87 goals every game that data would have the model believe he ought to be saving.
And even the skeptics out there taking the numbers with a pinch of salt can surely attest to that theory having played out in the ‘eye test’ with Ward looking seriously unconvincing as the Foxes’ number one.
He is, therefore, marooned miles behind the other goalkeepers and perhaps spares the blushes of high-profile stoppers like Ramsdale and Mendy who have really started the season slowly.
Of course, in the case of ‘keepers like Alisson and Ederson, it is important to acknowledge that it’s harder for them to rise too high up the rankings because they just don’t face that many shots.
Pickford: England’s number one
But there is still credit where credit is due for Pickford at the very summit of the data as he reiterates his status as England’s number one goalkeeper going into the World Cup this winter.
The Toffees star might be missing the Three Lions’ next few games through injuries, but such a stunning number sheet propped up by his masterclass in the Merseyside derby will surely be enough for him to maintain his starting place.
Besides, he’s not just leading the way for English goalkeepers right now, but for goalkeepers in English football, period, with his truly superb shot-stopping. Take a bow, Jordan, take a bow.