Football is a somewhat cruel game. Personal performances often merit either extreme praise or criticism which is often more perceptible when a goalkeeper has a poor game. Goals conceded often look poor on paper to the average fan, but how do we measure the performance status of the modern day goalkeeper?
When we break down the stats of a goalkeeper it’s easy to find out where the player stands in comparison with others in the same position. To say a goalkeeper that conceded the most goals in the league is poor is justifiable, or is it?
Take Jordan Pickford for example, conceding a total of 69 goals in the 2016/17 season with his club, Sunderland, relegated to the Championship from the Premier League. In comparison to Chelsea’s Courtois who conceded a mere 33 goals or Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris who conceded 4 less with 29.
— goalkeepers365 (@goalkeepers365) April 3, 2017
So why was Pickford £30m with a concession rate that was well above that of a top goalkeeper? When we break down Jordan’s stats, his saves for the season came in at 176, the most in the Premier League, averaging 4.63 per game. There is a huge difference when we compare his stats to Courtois and Lloris again, with the former having just 69 saves all season, and the latter making 85. Pickford’s astounding amount of saves for the season in comparison to our top two.
Breaking it down even further, if we take the 245 attempts to score against Pickford in 2016/17 and take a percentage from his 176 saves, and the 69 goals that were conceded, Pickford averages at a 71.8% save rate. When we take Courtois’ and Lloris’ stats and break them down into a percentage, we see Pickford’s, with a higher work rate, stats are on par with the supposed top two goalkeepers in the Premier League with Courtois bringing in a 67.6% save percentage for the season, and Lloris brining in an impressive 76.5% save percentage.
With our stats, and the extremely heightened work rate that Pickford endured in the 2016/17 campaign, the reported £30m is justifiable given the fact that (you’d hope) his work will be substantially less at Everton in 2017/18. It will be extremely interesting to see how he fares between the sticks for Everton this season.