Monday, January 30, 2012

A statistical breakdown of Premier League goalkeeping

Last year, we asked what would  happen if we applied hockey stats to goalkeepers in the English Premiership.  The results were interesting, if expected - decreased save percentages and often reduced GAA across the board.

What was more interesting was the amount of variation between goalkeepers on the same team: where David Stockdale rode an early wave of form (and a Mark Schwarzer injury) into the England squad yet wasn't able to repel the big Australian when he came back to full fitness.

This year, save percentages have decreased ever so slightly (from a league average 0.694 to 0.691) while GAA has seen a commensurate tiny increase (1.396 to 1.416).  The following tables show all the Premiership's goalkeepers arranged by GAA.  The red line marks the approximate league averages.

(c) Balanced Sports
This second table orders each goalkeeper according to their relative save percentage.   "Backup" Lindegaard again tops the league, with a save percentage slightly greater than Chelsea second-teamer Hilario and England's Joe Hart.

(c) Balanced Sports.  Please not the error in Michael Vorm's GAA in this table.  It is correct in the table above.
These numbers mean little without full context - Wojciech Szczesny's percentages still suffer greatly from Arsenal's 8-2 drubbing at Old Trafford, while Ali Al Habsi of Wigan and Tim Howard of Everton have perhaps been their club's best performers this season.  Therefore, it bears reminding that these numbers don't reflect the quality of the goalkeeper, but the quality of the defence in front of them.

For all the raw goalkeeper stats you can lay your hands on, visit our Goalkeeper Stats page.

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