It may be an obvious statement but scoring goals will more often than not win you football matches. From week to week the likes of Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane receive many plaudits, thanks to their efforts in the final third.
They are the men who are in the spotlight and rightfully so, as it is their actions that often decide whether they are on the winning side or not. However, it is also fair to say that the credit should not just always lie with them.
The bedrock of any great team is built at the back, a solid back four needs to stand in front of a very trusted pair of hands in goal. The man between the sticks will often get little credit in a team’s success, but he is arguably the most important component in any starting eleven.
Which begs the question just who is the best shot stopper in the Premier League at present? It is a title that a number of candidates could lay claim too, but at the same time, only one can be given the accolade outright.
The first contender is that of Ederson at Manchester City, now in his second season at the Etihad, the Brazilian has been a revelation since his big-money arrival from Benfica last Summer. Many felt that he was the missing piece of the jigsaw that Pep Guardiola was trying to piece together.
In Guardiola’s first season in charge of City he purchased Claudio Bravo from Barcelona, with the intention that the Chilean international would act as a ‘Sweeper Keeper’. However, it was clearly apparent that he was becoming a weak link after a number of high profile errors.
This meant that City had to go back to the drawing board in regard to goalkeeping personnel. They may have had to wait 12 months longer than they wanted too, but it is clearly apparent that the club got the right man at the second time of asking.
Ederson has been a revelation for City, not just because of his shot stopping abilities but also because he can just as easily create goals. You only need to witness his inch-perfect long ball in last season’s Carabao Cup Final, it may have been route one but it is incredibly efficient at the same time.
He may not have been purchased from Benfica to lay goals on for his teammates, but there have been little complaints at just how adept he is with the ball at his feet. An attribute that makes Manchester City even more fearsome.
When we look at his key attribute, it is apparent that Ederson can lay claim to be the best ‘keeper in the Premier League right now. Last season saw Manchester City win the title at a canter as they finished 19 points clear of crosstown rivals Manchester United.
And on their way to the title City conceded just 27 goals in 38 matches, an average of just 0.71 goals against per game. An impressive statistic which is no flash in the pan either, when you consider that Ederson and City have conceded just four goals in the first 11 league games of this season.
This works out an average of 0.36 goals per game, almost 50% less than last season’s average. A figure that lends itself to the question as to whether Ederson and his teammates are getting even better?
If they are then it may be bad news for their title rivals, although there is another Brazilian who is also making waves in goal. One that comes in the form of Alisson who joined Liverpool from Italian outfit Roma.
There is no doubt that Liverpool look a lot better this season and many pundits feel that the arrival of Allison could be the missing link that turns from Premier League title also-rans into bona fide championship contenders come the end of the campaign.
Alisson is another goalkeeper who is very comfortable on the ball and although he was caught out against Leicester early in the season, there is no doubting that five clean sheets in his first 11 league games point to this being a very shrewd signing by manager Jurgen Klopp.
There is not much to choose between the two Brazilians as they contend not just to be the best goalkeeper in the Premier League but also the national team’s first choice. A battle that Ederson won during this Summer’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
At the same time though he was not the man who lifted the trophy after four weeks of competition, that honour was bestowed to Hugo Lloris who captained France to victory after he and his teammates got the better of Croatia in the Final.
And if you can boast a World Cup winning medal to your name then you have every right to consider yourself one of the best ‘keepers in the Premier League today. Although, it may need to be an argument that is solidified by winning trophies on a domestic front as well.
That is the one thing that has continued to allude Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino, but it is not something that has alluded Manchester United’s David De Gea. The Spanish international was in goal the last time the Red Devils were top of the English game back in 2012/13.
In what must be considered a parting gift by former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, he was responsible for the purchase of the 28-year-old back in 2011. De Gea came in for some early criticism, but it is fair to say that he was worth every penny of the £18.9m spent to acquire him from Atletico Madrid.
So, there we have the four contenders as to who can lay claim to be the best ‘keeper in the Premier League today. It may be an argument that depends on who you support, but whoever comes out on top will be a very worthy winner.
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