Chelsea have plenty of reasons to be excited about next season, but their goalkeeping dilemma certainly isn’t one of them.
For all their flair and brilliance in the final third, Frank Lampard’s men have been woefully let down in defence and the plight of number one goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has been at the heart of it.
Signed for a world-record fee from Athletic Bilbao in the summer of 2018, the Spaniard actually enjoyed an impressive first season in England, but things have taken a nose-dive in 2019/20.
Arrizabalaga comes under fire
It’s now widely touted that Lampard will look to sell the shot-stopper once the season concludes or at the very least dip into his transfer funds to sign a replacement.
Arrizabalaga looked at sea during the 5-3 defeat at Liverpool on Wednesday night and his teammates could be heard shouting at him after an error almost cost them a sixth goal.
It’s a worrying situation when you consider the Blues need to hold their nerve against Wolves on the final day of the Premier League season to confirm themselves a Champions League place.
Who are the Premier League’s best GKs?
And ahead of that crunch tie at Stamford Bridge, we’ve decided to try and put Arrizabalaga’s displays into perspective this season by comparing him to his rival number one shot-stoppers.
We used the average match ratings collected by WhoScored.com, which are informed by more than 20 data-sets, to statistically rank every club’s ‘keeper that has made the most appearances in 2019/20.
It’s fair to say the results make for pretty damning reading if you’re a Chelsea fan, so check out the full list down below for plenty of surprises:
20. Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea) – 6.36
Wowwwwwwwww. Straight out the bat and we’ve found Arrizabalaga already, meaning he’s officially been the Premier League’s worst number one goalkeeper this season.
According to The Sun, his domestic save percentage of 54.5% is the worst in Europe’s top five leagues and his rate of 50% in the Champions League also puts him rock bottom. Shocking.
19. Jordan Pickford (Everton) – 6.42
Yeh, no surprises here. Pickford’s stock continues to fall through the floor after dodgy second and third seasons as Everton’s main man with mistakes and rash moments galore.
We’ve not seen Pickford at his best since the 2018 World Cup and Carlo Ancelotti has said enough to the press in recent weeks to suggest his place could be under threat.
18. Ben Foster (Watford) – 6.53
Sure, Watford could easily crash down to the Championship in just a few hours’ time, but Foster has arguably been their best player this season and finishing 18th seems a little harsh to us.
Foster has made some of the best unexpected saves of the campaign, no less than his reflex stops against Villa and Sheffield United, even if his form has faltered since the restart.
17. David de Gea (Manchester United) – 6.55
Although it’s become a little cliched to slam De Gea as overrated, I don’t think it’s controversial to suggest that he’s played like a mid-table Premier League ‘keeper since the 2018 World Cup.
The flagging United superstar – who bags £350,000-a-week – has made dreadful errors against Watford, Everton, Tottenham and Chelsea this season alone and you sense that time is running out.
16. Tom Heaton (Aston Villa) – 6.57
It’s been something of a merry-go-round of goalkeepers at Villa Park this season, though it’s somewhat obvious that Heaton was the pick of the bunch before his knee injury in January.
Sixteenth is hardly anything to write home about, nor do we wholly disagree with it, but the fact Pepe Reina and Ørjan Nyland have worse average match ratings than him doesn’t surprise us one bit.
15. Ederson (Manchester City) – 6.59
We’re not having this for one second. Ederson probably has the best shout of winning the Golden Glove in just a few hours, so can we honestly say he’s only the league’s 15 best ‘keeper? Errr nope.
Sure, Ederson might have shipped an almost-identical number of goals to De Gea, but the Brazilian has made half the number of mistakes and is the best ball-playing goalkeeper in the sport.
=14. Alisson Becker (Liverpool) – 6.64
Hmmm, here’s where we start to wonder whether goalkeepers who haven’t had to make many saves are somewhat penalised by these stats because 14th for Alisson is simply scandalous.
The fact he managed to thrust himself into the Golden Glove race after spending long spells out injured is remarkable in itself, collecting an insane 13 clean sheets from just 28 outings.
=14. Tim Krul (Norwich City) – 6.64
Krul has made the second most saves in the Premier League this season (128), which is pretty impressive when you consider Norwich have finished rock bottom by some distance this year.
Combine that with the fact Krul has saved penalties from Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2019/20 and his record is hardly anything to be ashamed of.
12. Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham United) – 6.65
Premier League fans have known for some time that Fabianski is one of the most underrated shot-stoppers in the land and he could have finished much higher if it wasn’t for West Ham’s plight.
Injuries, too, meant that Fabianski lost momentum throughout the course of the season, but his woeful replacement Roberto only served to flatter him with a number of dire performances.
11. Rui Patricio (Wolverhampton Wanderers) – 6.66
Wolves could easily have gone top-heavy with all their Portuguese spending in recent years, but wisely procuring Patricio as their number one has been vital in their Premier League successes.
Thirteen clean sheets could see him finish on the podium for the Golden Glove and we’re inclined to think that 11th place doesn’t do him justice as one of the season’s finest goalkeepers.
10. Matthew Ryan (Brighton & Hove Albion) – 6.67
Some say that when you look for the word ‘solid’ in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Ryan next to the definition and this season would be nothing short of a case in point.
Ryan has always been a safe pair of hands at the Amex Stadium and while he’s hardly ever going to become world-class, you could easily see him playing for a team much higher up the table.
9. Aaron Ramsdale (Bournemouth) – 6.69
Look, we’ve been impressed by Ramsdale’s performances this season, too, so fair play if he can maintain a place in the Premier League by either staying up with the Cherries or moving elsewhere.
Buuuuuuut, is he really in the league’s top 10 goalkeepers? Not for me.
8. Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace) – 6.71
Crystal Palace haven’t had much to cheer about since the restart, but their leaky defence hasn’t been anything to do with Guaita being a poor goalkeeper.
Reaching double-figures for clean sheets is nothing to be sniffed at considering Palace have fallen adrift in 14th place and his dreadful own goal against Sheffield United was simply an anomaly.
7. Alex McCarthy (Southampton) – 6.72
The only goalkeeper below Arrizabalaga when you look at statistics is Angus Gunn, who McCarthy replaced as Southampton number one after they were infamously trounced 9-0 by Leicester.
And give or take a dreadful error against Arsenal, McCarthy has been wonderful since taking his opportunity and delivered a masterclass between the sticks during the 1-0 win over City.
6. Martin Dúbravka (Newcastle United) – 6.74
Nobody has committed more errors leading to goals in the Premier League this season, so this placing might come as a surprise, but Dúbravka also has a sound 11 clean sheets to his name.
And anybody who has watched the Newcastle number one this season knows that he’s one of the best shot-stoppers in the land who, quite frankly, would mark a massive upgrade for Chelsea.
5. Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) – 6.75
There are plenty of people who think promoting Henderson to Manchester United number one next season would be too much, too soon, but we’re not ‘plenty of people’.
The simple fact of the matter is that Henderson has been streets above De Gea this season and all while playing for a team newly promoted from the Championship. It’s a no-brainer for us.
4. Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City) – 6.77
Despite Leicester’s form effectively falling off a cliff since the turn of the year, they’ve always been able to rely upon Schmeichel as one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers.
You can guarantee that ‘bigger’ clubs would be chasing his signature if it wasn’t for his loyalty to the Foxes and playing in the Champions League again would suit his quality right down to the ground.
3. Nick Pope (Burnley) – 6.79
If Gareth Southgate continues to select Pickford over Pope when England internationals return, then we might switch off the television because the Burnley man has been an absolute star in 2019/20.
Not only could he beat the likes of Alisson and Ederson to a historic Golden Glove award, but he recently delivered a masterclass against the Premier League champions themselves at Anfield.
2. Bernd Leno (Arsenal) – 6.88
Say what you like about Unai Emery’s doomed tenure as Arsenal manager, but there’s no denying that signing Leno was a masterclass and he’s done nothing but improve during his second year.
However, what’s arguably more impressive is that back-up ‘keeper Emiliano Martinez, who has been fantastic since the restart, would actually top this list with a rating of 7.07 if he was eligible.
1. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur) – 7.03
What a turnaround it’s been for Lloris at Spurs. It finally looked as though the Frenchman was on the decline in 2019, but the goalkeeping veteran has come on leaps and bounds under Jose Mourinho.
While he might not shine in any of the major statistical categories alone – though ‘just’ six clean sheets has a lot to do with injuries – everything points toward him being the Premier League’s best all-round number one.
GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says
If we’re taking this season in isolation, I whole-heartedly believe that Arrizabalaga and De Gea would be in the bottom five in terms of Premier League number one goalkeepers.
However… I think the list shows in places that statistics aren’t always the best way to sort shot-stoppers and that’s proven by the fact Alisson missing out on the top 10 is simply scandalous.
For me, the Liverpool man is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and that’s proven by the fact he’s only narrowly fallen short of Ederson and Pope in the race for the Golden Glove.
When you’re nearly amassing the most clean sheets in the competition despite two injury lay-offs, you know you’re one of the best in the world, not 14th best in the division. Come along.
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