Stat Attack: Who’s the best goalkeeper in Manchester?


With David De Gea’s arrival, Manchester hosts two of the most promising young goalkeepers in European football today. And as Manchester City and Manchester United make their preparations for their first of several clashes this season (the 2011 Community Shield), De Gea looks certain to make his debut in the United goal.

Joe Hart, Manchester City’s first choice goalkeeper and at 24, definitely a long-term choice, has considerably more experience at league level – playing 230 games (although 100 of them came in the last two seasons) and an established first-choice goalkeeper for England as well.

David De Gea, Manchester United’s replacement for the retiring Edwin Van Der Sar, turns 21 this year, with a full season and a half under his belt at Atletico Madrid. He has progressed steadily through the ranks in the U17, U19 and U21 levels for Spain, and given the protracted nature of United’s pursuit for the player, it’s obvious that the United hierarchy sees him as a long-term Manchester United #1.

Let’s look at the performance stats for both players from the 2010/2011 season (league stats only):

De Gea v Hart – 2010/11 league data

Player David De Gea Joe Hart
Appearances 38 38
Minutes On Pitch 3420 3420
Goals Conceded 53 33
Minutes per Goal Conceded 65 104
Clean Sheets 11 18
Saves made 150 107
Saves per game 3.9 2.8
Saves to Shots ratio 74% 76%
Penalties saved 2 1
Punches 14 27
Catches 52 62
Dropped Catches 2 4
Crosses not claimed 0 2
Catch Success Rate % 97% 94%
Errors leading to attempt 2 2
Errors leading to goal 0 0
Long Kicking Distribution 375 392
Kicking Success Rate % 54% 42%

Stat Attack: Who's the best goalkeeper in Manchester?Stats show that David De Gea was far more called upon than Joe Hart last season, mainly because of Atlético Madrid’s porous back-line. Hart was slightly more efficient than the Spanish youngster though, recording a better saves-to-shots ratio. De Gea will be far less exposed at Old Trafford next season so it will be interesting to see how his stats shape up then.

It’s interesting to note that De Gea had a better kicking success rate (although that can be explained by the quicker pressing game in England that also lead Hart, despite playing for a stronger team, to launch more long balls upfront than his counterpart) and was more assured in his aerial game than Hart.

One aspect of De Gea’s game which will need to be addressed is the number of goals he concedes from outside the box. Last season, only two goalkeepers let in more goals from distance in the top five European leagues than the new Manchester United star.

Goals conceded from outside the box – 2010/11 top five Euro leagues

Player Goals Conceded (out box)
Mirante, Antonio 12
Janot, Jérémie 12
Foster, Ben 11
De Gea, David 11
Runje, Vedran 11

De Gea was also caught out with a goal from outside the box in the recent US-based friendly against Barcelona, and it’s an area of his game that he’ll need to work on to stay as #1 at United.

There is very little to tell the two goalkeepers apart, and it’ll be interesting to see who the best goalkeeper in Manchester is next season – it might just shape the Premier League title race.

Player stats provided by Castrol.

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