Since Newcastle United arrived in the Premier League in 1993, there really is only one goalkeeper that springs to mind. Shay Given made 462 appearances in his 12 year illustrious stint at ST JAMES’ PARK, earning him the very worthy title of one of Newcastle United’s all time best ‘keepers.
During the Premier League era, personnel such as Pavel Srnicek, Shaka Hislop, Steve Harper and Mike Hooper have donned the No. 1 shirt at Newcastle, but none have ever shown the quality, consistency and ability that Given brought.
Recently though, a young Dutchman by the name of Tim Krul has started making quite a name for himself. 60 appearances now for the black & whites in all competitions since arriving for ADO Den Haag in 2005. Loan spells at Falkirk and Carlise helped to identify the real talents of the Under-21 international, before shifts in place of Steve Harper last season brought the qualities of the ‘keeper to fruition.
Krul has now earned himself the stature of Newcastle United’s number one goal keeper this season, but further to that, there are fans outside of the North East exclaiming of Krul’s performance in goal this season. Talk of big moves, first in January but now in the summer, continue to escalate, showing how big an impression the young Dutchman has made in his short time in the Premier League.
NUFC_Stats looked at the numbers over Krul’s Premier League appearances and compared him with past and present goalkeeping greats.
From the GK’s currently occupying the top 7 Premier League spots, there’s only Joe Hart and Brad Freidel that have pulled off more saves per game than Tim Krul at present, although he does concede the most goals per match.
When it comes to clean sheets, again there are only 3 of those ‘top’ goalkeepers who better Krul – 9 clean sheets is not a bad return at all, especially when you consider the defensive woes Newcastle United has suffered this season and the fact that only 8 clean sheets were kept in the entirety of last season.
The Newcastle stopper pushes the least percentage of the shots he receives wide but is ‘up there’ when it comes to catching them. As with most of the league’s top ‘keepers, he rarely ‘fumbles’ the ball and he tends to ‘parry’ the ball an average amount in comparison.
For ‘punches’ and ‘tips’, Krul is fairly average, but to some surprise, he doesn’t save a great deal with his feet.
In terms of distribution, Krul tends to stand out a bit. His pass rate is the lowest of the top 7 ‘keepers, but it also happens to be the 3rd lowest in the whole Premier League behind Paul Robinson and Simon Mignolet. Furthermore, he passes the highest percentage of his passes straight forward, with only 4% (the lowest) going to his right, thus meaning he has some work to do on his passing composure and confidence.
While a GK shouldn’t really be held accountable for the chances on goal they are creating, Tim Krul has managed to get a key pass in this season, so too have 4 of the other top 7. But, no ‘keeper is ‘putting them on a plate’ like Liverpool’s Jose Reina, who has an amazing 5 key passes to his name already!
Krul v NUFC history
Between Newcastle United’s 3 main Premier League goalkeepers historically, it is Steve Harper who saves the most shots per game, albeit in way less games than the ever-present Shay Given, who features last.
Krul concedes the most goals per game out of the threesome, but does at present keep most clean sheets per game, but again at over 300 less games than Given.
Looking at the save attributes of the 3, again Krul is diminished on pushing wide, but has caught a lower percentage of shots too this time. He has also ‘fumbled’ the highest percentage of shots out of the 3 and again shows that using his feet is not his favourite option.
There is no doubt that in Tim Krul, Newcastle United have one of their best goalkeepers for a long time in the Premier League and at the age he currently sits, the future is nothing but bright for the Dutch international. The problem for NUFC will be the wolves that surround their stopper during the transfer windows, as holding on to him could be a very challenging task, especially if a European competition is not reached for next season.
With the current defensive questions being asked at NUFC, the performances of Krul, along with the goals from Demba Ba, have been the saviour of the season and the main contributor towards the current high placing in the division. Here’s to hoping for more of the same from ‘Timmy’and that elusive high placed finish and European qualifying place in May.