Say the names Cech, Reina, De Gea, Friedel, Hart and Szczesny to any avid football fan and they will quite rightly return to you that these are the names of the GK’s in the best teams in the Premier League currently. However, mention the name of Tim Krul and many a fan could be forgiven for not having a great deal to come back with.
What most Newcastle fans will say, is that Krul’s performances in goal this season have been paramount to the defensive success that has seen them regain the ‘best defence’ title once more, albeit alongside Man City & Liverpool, with just 12 goals conceded in 13 Premier League games. A string of fantastic saves against Man City and Man United in the last 2 weeks have brought Krul to the forefront of Premier League goalkeeping and have earned the right for the footballing world to compare him against the PL’s best.
At 188cm tall, Krul beats only Jose Reina (187cm) in the height stakes of the PL’s top 7 GK’s. Petr Cech earns himself the ‘giant’ tag, standing at a whopping 1.98m. However, a look into the finer details of the opening 12/13 performances of these stoppers has Krul shining on other fronts…
As well as holding the joint best record for team goals conceded, Krul has also kept the joint most clean sheets out of the top 7 GK’s alongside Hart, De Gea, Szscesny and Reina. He has produced exactly the same amount of saves as Joe Hart so far (35), but is outdone presently by both David de Gea (50) and Brad Freidel (51). However, aerially Krul is the ‘star’ of the GK show, earning most cross catches (27) thus far as well as most punches (14). He has managed to miss 2 crosses this year though, equalled by Szczesny, but far better than the 4 missed by Jose Reina at Liverpool.
Tim Krul is yet to save a penalty in the PL currently, having faced 4 this season, but out of the top 7 GK’s only David de Gea has managed a spot kick save out of the 2 he has faced. Krul is also yet to face a ‘ground 50-50’ but does have the highest number of passes made out of the PL’s best; 425 passes have been produced by Nufc’s No.1, nearly double that of City stopper Joe Hart (272). Krul does seem to have his Achilles heel however; only 39% of that high number of passes have managed to find a black and white shirt, compared to the 72% pass completion rate produced by Chelsea’s Petr Cech out of his 363 passes.
In addition to Krul’s fine form and comparison against the PL’s best this season, he has also managed to outdo most of his performance stats from last year too! In the 20 games he played in the 2010/11 season, he kept less clean sheet than he has already this season (3 to 4). Furthermore, his average ‘conceding rate’ last year was 1.75 goals per game compared to only 0.92 per game this time around. As far as shot stopping goes, Krul saves on average 2.69 shots a game at present; 0.29 per game more than he did all last year. He has also bettered himself in cross catches (27 to 26) and punches (14 to 12), 7 games earlier than last season. His pass completion rate was slightly better in 2010/11 (47.85%) although still relatively low in context.
All in all, Krul is proving to be an absolute gem for Newcastle United currently and the numbers prove he is plying his trade and performing equally with the best. There’s no doubt some resolute defending and lady luck have played their part in some of the ‘shut out’ performances conjured up by the Toon so far this season but Tim Krul is currently more than worthy of the Nufc No.1 jersey and at only 23, could be the holder for many a year to come.