We often overlook the roles that goalkeepers play for football teams. From shot-stopping to starting the build-up to a move, keepers are more than just players standing between the sticks to stop the ball from ending up in the back of the net. Keepers nowadays are expected to read the game and decide to play long or short, eat up seconds in a tight game, come out to claim crosses, be calm under pressure and whatnot.
The metrics used to determine ranks on this list are largely save percentages of goalkeepers. It would be unfair to judge keepers based on their clean sheets as the number of clean sheets a keeper has would also largely depend on the ability of the defence in front of him and the manner in which the team perform as a whole. This list does place some value on clean sheets, but the save percentages are given priority. The piece also makes use of the post-shot expected minus goals conceded metric that weighs the expected performance of the goalkeeper in terms of making saves to conceding goals. A positive number during the use of this metric would indicate that the keeper has outperformed his expectations, whereas a negative number would indicate the opposite.
Following are my top 5 best goalkeepers of the 2021/22 Premier League season:
5. Hugo Lloris
The first keeper on this list is the Spurs captain, Hugo Lloris. The 2018 World Cup-winner had a reasonably good finish to the season. Although not the best under pressure and with the ball at his feet, Lloris is a brilliant shot-stopper. Spurs have played without a lot of possession on many occasions, thus requiring the presence of a stellar keeper.
Lloris kept sixteen clean sheets in thirty-seven appearances this season. He averaged the concession of over a goal per ninety minutes and had a save percentage of just over seventy. It’s his save percentage that earns him a spot on this list.
4. Aaron Ramsdale
Aaron Ramsdale is quite the character in goal. He is yet another crucial component of Arsenal’s upturn in form. Ramsdale played fewer games than any other keeper on this list but quite comfortably beats his competitors in terms of clean sheets.
Ramsdale, much like Ederson, is quite confident with the ball at his feet. He has the ability to play short passes and hit the ball long to find his teammates. He recorded twelve clean sheets in the season, despite ending it with no clean sheets in his last ten games.
Ramsdale had a reasonably good save percentage given the fact that this was his first season at a top club and that he is quite young. His save percentage stood at 72.1%. His brilliant saves against Leicester City and the triple stop against Liverpool come to mind. He also had a positive post-shot expected goals minus goals conceded, meaning that he outperformed his expectations this season.
3. Édouard Mendy
The third spot on this list goes to Édouard Mendy. The Chelsea goalkeeper fared well in the saves department as well as the clean sheets department.
Mendy recorded a total of fourteen clean sheets this season — the fourth-best amongst all Premier League keepers. Although he has been questioned over his ability to play with the ball at his feet on multiple occasions, his shot-stopping ability, thanks to his colossal frame, have put that question to bed.
Mendy had a save percentage of nearly 74% in the Premier League — third-highest on this list. He also averaged the concession of less than a goal per game, a healthy stat for a goalkeeper, although it is a stat determined by the defence in front of the keeper and the team overall.
Although Mendy did not outperform the post-shot expected goals to goals conceded ratio, his numbers in terms of shot-stopping alone remain healthy enough to earn him a spot on this list.
2. José Sá
Wolves are known for their solid backline and defensive capabilities. A crucial component of that defence is their keeper, José Sá.
It is no surprise that Sá has made it onto this list. He kept a total of eleven clean sheets this season from his thirty-seven appearances in the league — the most number of appearances for any player on this list. Although Wolves finished in a disappointing tenth position, their keeper was one of the biggest positives this season.
Sá boasts the highest save percentage of all the keepers on this list: a stunning 79.3%. The save percentage is also the highest recorded in the league this season. Not only did he concede less than a goal per game, Sá also outperformed his post-shot expected goal numbers.
1. Alisson Becker
Alisson Becker is one of the first names on the team sheet for Liverpool. He kept the most number of clean sheets in the Premier League this season, level with his compatriot Ederson at twenty.
Alisson boasts a good save percentage as well (75%) and averaged the concession of less than a goal per game. He also conceded fewer goals than he’s expected to every 90 minutes. He also had a positive post shot goals to goals conceded ratio, meaning that he outperformed his expected stats for the season, which earned him the No. 1 spot on this list.