In a surprising statistical revelation of the Premier League’s most effective goalkeepers, both Joe Hart and David De Gea have missed out on the top ten. The Manchester City and Manchester United shot stoppers may be regarded as the best of the lot in the Premier League, but it is Stoke City’s young goalkeeper Jack Butland who has made the most saves this season in the top flight.
Data courtesy of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the Official Player Rating Index of the Barclays Premier League
Butland has come into prominence this season after the departure of Potters’ number one last season, Asmir Begovic, to Chelsea this summer. The 22-year-old has played in all of Stoke’s league games this season after making just three appearances in the whole of last season. And his performances this season have vindicated his regular selection in the England set-up.
The Bristol-born Butland has been difficult to breach this season. Between each of his 12 goals conceded, Butland has made 4.17 saves. This week, incidentally, he also became the first goalkeeper in the division to make 50 saves. Butland’s four clean sheets isn’t quite the league pacesetter, but his rate of shot stopping has made Stoke a difficult team to play against, as Chelsea became the latest this week to suffer as a result of Butland’s inspired form.
Sunderland are struggling at the foot of the table and have conceded the highest number of goals this season, but their goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon shouldn’t come for much blame. Pantilimon has been one of the busiest goalkeepers this season; the Romanian has made 47 saves this season, one of the highest in the division, but his concession rate of more than two per game reflects on the Mackems’ lowly 19th position in the table.
Staying with Butland, only one goalkeeper (Petr Cech) has made more saves per goal conceded than the Englishman this season. Apart from Butland and Cech, no other goalkeeper in the top ten has made more than four saves per goal. Watford’s Heurelho Gomes, who made a comical error this weekend in his team’s loss to Leicester City, has the next best saves per goal average of three.
There are lots of surprises in the top ten, including West Brom’s Boaz Myhill and Newcastle United’s Tim Krul. Myhill making the cut is understandable since the Baggies have kept six clean sheets this season. Krul, who is currently nursing a cruciate ligament rupture, has played only eight games this season and conceded 17 goals in that period. His saves average makes for a sorry case for Newcastle’s defence, but the Magpies have improved defensively since Krul sustained his injury.
Judging by the statistics, it is safe to assume Butland has been rightly regarded as the future of England’s goalkeeping situation. While Hart is currently the undisputed number one between the posts, it won’t be long until the Manchester City man’s Euro 2016 place is put under pressure by Butland if he continues his fine form throughout the season.