Prevented goals: a goalkeeper’s tale

Prevented goals: a goalkeeper’s tale

While most football fans are pretty familiar with the concept of expected goals, expected goals conceded and prevented goals don’t feature quite so heavily in modern football rhetoric.

But goalkeepers cannot be measured on clean sheets alone. After all, a clean sheet has as much to do with the outfield players as it does with the goalkeeper. Moreover, a ‘keeper can play incredibly well and still not get the satisfaction of that all-important clean sheet. By the same token, goalkeepers cannot be measured purely on the number of saves they make. After all, some teams will allow the opposition to have lots of shots on target, while others will allow very few. Some of these shots will be pee-rollers from 30 yards out, others will be the proverbial ‘open goal’.

This is where concepts such as expected goals conceded and prevented goals come in. Which goalkeepers are adding the most value to their teams by saving the attempts at goal that the opposition are expected to score from and they are expected to concede from? And which ‘keepers are doing this whilst also making the saves that we expect them to make? With the help of Opta’s prevented goals model, we’ve got the answers…

(Please note – we have only included goalkeepers who have played at least 10% of their club’s league minutes so far this season)

In the Championship, Blackburn’s Thomas Kaminski leads the way with 4.7 prevented goals, Birmingham’s John Ruddy is second (4.0) and, despite only playing 63% of his team’s league minutes, Blackpool’s Daniel Grimshaw is third (1.13).

In League One, Plymouth’s highly-rated young ‘keeper Michael Cooper tops the charts with 4.6 prevented goals, Wycombe’s Max Stryjek is second (2.8) and Fleetwood’s Jay Lynch is third (2.4). Interestingly, only eight ‘keepers who have played at least 10% of their club’s minutes in the third tier are in positive figures.

Finally, in League Two, Solomon Brynn (4.5), on loan at Swindon from Middlesbrough, leads the way from Leyton Orient’s Lawrence Vigouroux (3.0). Meanwhile, Hartlepool’s Ben Killip and Grimsby’s Max Crocombe have both prevented 2.8 goals.

(Photo Creds – Andy Hall)