The Premier League’s top shot stoppers in 2013-14

by Barrie

Petr Cech Czech RepublicGoalkeepers are a pivotal part of a football team. They can make the difference between winning a title and losing one, or staying up and going down.

The Premier League has seen some greats over the years, and although goalkeepers in the modern day or more often judged on the mistakes they make than their saves, this article looks at them in a positive way as we take a look at the goalkeepers kept the most shots out this season.

The top ten goalkeepers in the 2013-14 Premier League season to make the highest save percentage were as follows (minimum ten games):

10. Joe Hart (Manchester City) – 70.3%

2013-14 Premier League champion Joe Hart is the only Englishman to make the top 10, keeping out seven of every ten shots he faced during the season. The England number one missed seven games during the season, being dropped in favour of Costel Pantilimon during a period over winter. Hart kept 13 clean sheets in his 31 matches – only one more than Norwich City’s English goalkeeper John Ruddy who wasn’t selected for Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad on Monday.

Joe Hart was one of three goalkeepers (minimum ten games) during the season to average less than one goal against per game. His team mate Pantilimon averaged exactly one goal against during his seven games between the sticks. Manchester City conceded five goals from corner situations with Hart in goal – three of these game in their two matches versus Cardiff City.

9. Julián Speroni (Crystal Palace) – 71.6%

The Crystal Palace goalkeeper was particularly busy during the early weeks of the season under Ian Holloway as he found himself on the losing side most weeks. Following the appointment of Tony Pulis, the former Stoke City manager made the Palace defence tighter and harder to break down – protecting their Argentine goalkeeper.

Julián Speroni conceded six penalties over the course of the season and failed to save a single one. He did only concede four goals from corners and indirect free kicks combined.

8. Artur Boruc (Southampton) – 72.0%

Southampton’s goalkeeper was leading most of the significant categories at the midway point of the season before a mixture of injuries and drop in form saw him slide down the table. Artur Boruc had the odd howler in him and conceded seven goals from outside the area but was largely dependable.

Only two goalkeepers in this list conceded fewer goals than Artur Boruc during the season. Though it is worth pointing out at the Saints goalkeeper made 29 league appearances, with 6 of the goalkeepers in the list making at least 30.

7. Wojciech Szczęsny (Arsenal) – 73.0%

The second Polish goalkeeper on the list is Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczęsny who shared the Premier League Golden Glove award with Petr Čech for keeping 16 clean sheets throughout the season. The Gunners conceded four more goals this season than they did in 2012-13.

Wojciech Szczęsny saw his save percentage drop from 76.6% at the midway point of the season to 73.0% at the end of the season.   The Arsenal goalkeeper is also down from 75.0% last season.

6. Jussi Jääskeläinen (West Ham United) – 73.0%

The first of two West Ham goalkeepers in the top six – the experienced Jussi Jääskeläinen played the first half of the season under Sam Allardyce. Ultimately losing his position to a Spanish rival, Jääskeläinen twice as many goals from direct free kicks than any other goalkeeper in this top ten.

Jussi Jääskeläinen Finnish goalkeeper continued to be a good shot stopper, but conceded more goals from direct free kicks, indirect free kicks and corner situations than Adrián who replaced him. Jääskeläinen actually kept more clean sheets in few games than his team mate but was otherwise inferior in the main categories.

5. Asmir Begović (Stoke City) – 74.3%

World Cup-bound Asmir Begović made the top five in terms of save percentage this season with another solid performance from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first-choice goalkeeper. Stoke City tried to play more attractive football this season under Mark Hughes who replaced Tony Pulis at the end of last season and they were able to rely on their goalkeeper to keep the opposition out on a number of occasions.

Asmir Begović was the only goalkeeper to score in the Premier League this season when his hopeful punt up field was caught by the wind and blew past Southampton’s Artur Boruc after just 13 seconds. However, Begović was beaten more times (eight) from outside the penalty area than any other goalkeeper in this list. The Stoke City goalkeeper also conceded five goals from corners and seven from indirect free kicks – a combined 12 goals, also more than any other goalkeeper in this list.

4. Tim Howard (Everton) – 75.0%

With a solid performance from their back four and their goalkeeper saving three-quarters of the shots he faced in the Premier League in 2013-14, only Chelsea (27) and champions Manchester City (37) conceded fewer goals than Everton’s 39.

Tim Howard was the only goalkeeper to save more penalties than he conceded in the Premier League this season – deny three attempts and only being beaten by two. Although it must be mentioned that in saving a spot kick from Sergio Agüero the ball came back off the post and in off Tim Howard, going down as an own goal.

3. Adrián (West Ham United) – 76.1%

Sam Allardyce found a great shot stopper this season when he brought Adrián over from Real Betis. Making his Premier League debut in a 3-1 loss to Manchester United just before Christmas, the Spaniard quickly established himself as West Ham’s number one for the remainder of the season.

Despite keeping fewer clean sheets than Jussi Jääskeläinen, Adrián came out on top in the majority of important categories – including more saves per goals conceded, fewer set piece goals conceded and a higher save percentage.

2. Petr Čech (Chelsea) – 77.1%

Sharing the Premier League Golden Glove award with Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczęsny, Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech found his form under José Mourinho again this season. The Blues conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League, with the Czech Republic number one, playing in 34 of their Premier League matches.

Petr Čech faces stiff competition from Thibaut Courtois next season when the highly-rated young Belgian returns from his loan spell at Atlético Madrid. The Chelsea keeper led the Premier League amongst regular goalkeepers in the shots to save percentage last season with a 77.2% success.

1. Vito Mannone (Sunderland) – 77.5%

An injury to Keiren Westwood early in the season gave former Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone his braek in the first team at Sunderland. It didn’t take the Italian long after that to establish himself as the Black Cats’ best goalkeeper

Vito Mannone is one of the fan favourites at the Stadium of Light and it’s not surprise as he led the Premier League in save percentage for 2013-14. Interestingly, at the bottom, Keiren Westwood had a league low 57%.

Data from Opta Sports

Follow @BarriesView for more Premier League stats.

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