Top Goalkeepers 2019/20

By Duncan Ritchie

15-September-2020 on News

11 minute read

If we asked you who was the best goalkeeper in the world last season, what would your answer be? We’re sure you’d plump for a keeper from one of the top teams, those who tended goal as part of championship winning teams, those who have medals in international and domestic competitions.

 

But thanks to data provided by InStat, combined with Nacsport’s analytical tools, we decided to go one step further and try to uncover some hidden gems. Today, we’re looking at keepers who haven’t necessarily won any silverware this season but who have performed individually above and beyond the call.

 

And we’ve found five that, according to all the data, match this profile. Let’s take a closer look…

Super Saves: The Key Parameter

 

To find the perfect candidates, we utilised InStat’s smart search feature and, obviously, the first filter we put in place was searching by position.

 

The next step was to limit the search by championship, so we get keepers who have competed at the highest level this season. We selected 14 of the top leagues in the world:

 

• The Argentinian Superliga

 

Serie A from both Brazil and Italy

 

• Belgium’s Juliper Pro League

 

• The Dutch Eredivisie

 

• The Premier Leagues of England and Russia

 

• Spain’s La Liga

 

• The German Bundesliga

 

Ligue 1 from France

 

• Portugal’s Liga NOS

 

• The Mexican Liga MX

 

• Turkey’s Süper Lig

 

• The North American MLS

 

This helped narrow the search but there was still a huge amount of data provide by InStat. We needed to define the search even more. To do this, we decided on a parameter which would give us a barometer reading of individual performance: Super Saves.

 

This parameter offers the chance to see exceptional stops by a keeper during a match, a way of measuring performance in a more qualitive way. Super Saves can be defined as a stop which is more than simply putting a hand on the ball. They often involve a degree of athleticism and bravery, with the goalie jumping like a gazelle to tip the ball over the bar or diving at the feet of an oncoming opponent. They often come in one-on-one situations where the keeper is the last line of defence between striker and goal.

 

 

The Goalkeeper Template

 

Now we had the data we needed and we focussed our analysis on the top five keepers revealed by our search. We downloaded the data and videos to our computer in order to start working with Nacsport.

 

We designed a button template which allows to more accurately analyse the individual performance of each keeper through a series of parameters not provided by InStat. This is where Nacsport plays a decisive role, taking the data and adapting it into a unique and personalised analysis.

 

 

The design is inspired by the template we recently created to analyse the performance of strikers but, in this case, we focussed both on the save and on the origin of the shot as these will be an important factors in the performance analysis.

 

The template is linked to a Dashboard which shows us the results of our work in a tremendously visual manner, through data labels and graphs, giving us a deeper understanding of the analysis work done.

 

 

Like all the content we share on this blog, if you would like these templates, message us at media@nacsport.com with your email address and we’ll happily send them out to you free.

 

Salvatore Sirigu. Torino (79 Super Saves)

 

Torino FC's goalkeeper tops our list of 2019/20 'super keepers' with a total of 79 successful super saves, showing cat like reflexes between the sticks. Unfortunately, this was not enough to stop him conceding 76 goals in 46 matches played, an average of 1.65 goals per match. There must have been some heavy losses in there somewhere, however, as Sirigu racks up a total of 11 clean sheets.

 

 

Insights: One of the most interesting facets of Sirigu’s game seems to be that he is most comfortable diving to his right. If we check the goal graphic in the Dashboard, we can see the majority of his saves were made in the bottom centre and bottom left. Now, we don’t want to suggest that Italian teams concentrate on attacking him on the left, but…

 

He also has the highest number of blocks that have been deflected back to his opponents, a few of which have resulted in a goal. 

 

Aitor Fernandez. Levante (74 Super Saves)

 

The Spanish stopper has an impressive total of 74 super saves in 38 matches played. He has also conceded 55, giving him an average of 1.44 goals conceded per match and a relatively modest 5 shut outs.

 

 

Insights: Does Aitor have the safest pair of hands on our list? As well as being joint highest on penalty saves, he also has the highest number of “Holds”, where he held on to the ball instead of punching it or deflecting it away. Maybe they simply don’t hit the ball so hard in Spain…!

 

Interestingly, the majority of his super saves came in the last 15 minutes of the match, making him the game saver in many of these cases.

 

Martin Dubravka. Newcastle Utd (70 Super Saves)

 

After being voted as the best goalkeeper in the English Premier during the 18/19 season, the big Slovak had another great year in Newcastle. 70 super saves in 45 games. Although he conceded 68 goals (giving him an average of 1.51 goals conceded per match), Dubravka had the highest number of shut outs, with an amazing grand total of 13. Out of our top 5 keepers, Dubravka also has the highest rating in the InStat index with 294.

 


Insights: It’s this writer’s opinion that, out of the 5 keepers on the list, there is little doubt that Dubravka is the best stopper on this list, an opinion shared and corroborated by the InStat index. Newcastle’s keeper has more 4 and 5 star saves than anyone on this list, something which is entirely subjective, but witness the athleticism and reflexes of Dubravka and there can be little doubt that he is a world class goalie.

 

As we can see from our Dashboard, Dubravka saved the most amount of shots which originated from outside the box, something which may relate more to the league he’s playing in than anything else, but some of the saves he pulled off from these shots were spectacular. Also, only 6 of his blocks were deflected back to his opponents, making his area a safe place to be. 

 

Gabriel. Lecce (69 Super Saves)

 

The boy from Brazil has conceded a whopping 2.23 goals per game during the season for Italian team, Lecce, making him the most underperforming keeper in this list. Conceding 76 goals in 34 matches may not be anything to be proud of (only 2 shuts out to boot), but at the same time, he’s had 69 amazing stops between the sticks this season.

 

 

Insights: In this writer’s opinion, the worst keeper on this list. Yes, he has had some great saves and, if we look at our Dashboard, you can see that he’s had 18 stops in the dying minutes of a game, something that would often make a keeper a game winner and a hero. Unfortunately for Gabriel, in the majority of these cases, he had already conceded several goals before this and his saves only prevented Lecce from losing by a higher margin.

 

Checking the heatmap, we can see that the majority of his saves have come from within the 18 yard box and he doesn’t seem to have a preferred side…so not all bad!

 

Tim Krul. Norwich City FC (67 Super Saves)

 

In a year in which the Dutchman was voted Norwich’s player of the season, he played 38 games and conceded 71 goals. This gave him an average of 1.86 goals per match with 5 clean sheets. One of the more interesting stats about Krul is that he saved 50% of the penalties that were taken against him. 5 penalty saves out of 10 attempts, a fantastic record.

 

 

Insights: Another keeper that likes to keep his area safe, only 10 of the Dutchman’s saves where deflected back to opposition, with the rest going out of play or back to his own teammates to clear. The big stat with Krul, of course, are his penalty saves, five out of ten for the season is an incredible stat (our analysis only shows four as we are concentrating on league games only) but we can also see from our heatmap and goal illustration that he doesn’t have any obvious weaknesses, stopping them from anywhere.

 

Also,  many of the 15 stops he made during the last 15 minutes basically won the game for Norwich, which unfortunately didn't save them from relegation. A great goalie.

 

Conclusion

 

Of course, when we look at “Super Saves”, we’re only measuring one aspect of a keeper’s game and there are many more that come to together to make a legendary player.

 

Nobody here is suggesting that Sirigu is the greatest goalie in the world, in fact, in this writer’s opinion, he’s not even the best keeper in this list, but, nevertheless, this remains an interesting analysis exercise and gives us a unique look at some players who may not otherwise be under scrutiny.

 

If you would like to perform your own goalkeeper analysis, we’re happy to send both the Button and Dashboard Templates used for this article, email us at media@nacsport.com and we’ll send it out to you.

 

If you’re not yet a Nacsport user, click on the link below to download a FREE, no obligation, 30-day trial. For more information on the special deal between Nacsport and InStat, click here.

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