The importance of a good goalkeeper can’t be understated and managers will tell you that having a strong number one can win you upwards of ten points a season. This is especially true for the clubs at the top of the table. There are a lot of good goalkeepers throughout the league with Simon Mignolet, Asmir Begovic, Joe Hart and Tim Krul all impressing during their time as Premier League number ones. However, the three keepers that stand out are Hugo Lloris, David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. All three have exceptional qualities, and over this article I will try and compare them to see who comes out on top. They have all had excellent seasons for their clubs this campaign and it is a real fight to be considered the Premier League’s best goalkeeper.
This season, Thibaut Courtois has conceded the least amount of goals with 26. David de Gea has conceded 28, and Hugo Lloris has conceded 42. This is interesting as many have criticised Manchester United’s back four, but they haven’t conceded that many goals, which may highlight the importance of de Gea to their side. Spurs have conceded a lot more goals than the other two sides, showing that Lloris has more to do than the other two goalkeepers.
Goalkeepers consider clean sheets to be as sacred as a goal is to a striker. For bigger sides, consistently keeping clean sheets is the key to winning championships, which is why managers such as Jose Mourinho consistently work on the defensive shape of their sides. David de Gea has kept the most clean sheets with ten, Courtois has kept eight and Lloris has had six clean sheets. Courtois has played five fewer league games than de Gea, but the Spaniard’s clean sheet record is very impressive considering the frailties of his side’s defence this season.
Hugo Lloris has made the most saves this season with 77, with De Gea having made 67 and Courtois making 52 saves to date. The Chelsea stopper has played less games than the other two as he is competing with Petr Cech for the starting spot. However, he also plays behind a more secure defence as both Spurs and Manchester United have had unsettled back lines for the duration of this campaign. In terms of saves per goal conceded, De Gea is the best with 2.39, Courtois follows with 2.08, while Lloris is the worst with 1.88, which isn’t shocking as Tottenham have conceded far more goals than the other two sides.
All three are wonderful shot stoppers, but that is only one part of being a good goalkeeper as distribution is becoming more important in the modern game. The best of the three when it comes to distribution is David de Gea whose distribution accuracy is a very impressive 68%. This won’t surprise Manchester United fans as they have seen how good the Spaniard is at finding team-mates. This has been highlighted further this season as Van Gaal demands his players to try and pass out from the back, making De Gea’s distribution key. Hugo Lloris follows in second with 66%, while Courtois has the worst distribution accuracy with 59%.
I think that David de Gea comes out looking like the best keeper when you consider the stats above. However it’s impossible to categorically suggest any one of these keepers is superior to the others as they are playing in different sides, and facing different situations on a weekly basis. It is clear that all three, in particular de Gea, have played a major role in getting their sides to where they are this season. Many would claim that Manchester United wouldn’t be in the top four without their goalkeeper as he has consistently made saves to win his club points.