Finding a good goalkeeper is key for any football side. You can be as good as you want in attack, but if you’ve got a poor shot stopper behind you, you’re not going too far.
The Premier League has plenty of good goalkeepers who can rightly be viewed as some of the finest in the world, but there’s also a select few who leave a little to be desired at times.
We’ve seen some… interesting goalkeeping in the 2020/21 season so far, and with all that fresh in our memories, let’s see how each club’s number one stands up against the rest.
Tin foil hats on….
Aaron Ramsdale’s performances with Sheffield United have done little but enhance Dean Henderson’s reputation.
The Blades have struggled with Ramsdale in goal, and while he does have time on his side, the young shot stopper needs to do more for his side.
Often guilty of an abysmal mistake or an inexplicable decision, McCarthy has given Southampton more than a few sleepless nights.
Fraser Forster, who has done a solid job in the FA Cup, is waiting in the wings, so McCarthy knows any error could be his last as the Saints’ starter.
Pickford’s a funny one. He’s capable of looking like a wall one week, but balances that out with about two months of frustrating showings and mindless errors.
The Everton man is guilty of some of the most confusing mistakes you’re ever likely to see and finished last season with a 63.4% save percentage – ahead of only Kepa Arrizabalaga. Big yikes.
An unknown quantity before the start of this season, Sanchez has stormed ahead of Mat Ryan and even forced the Australian to leave the club on loan in January.
Sanchez helped Brighton stop the losses from flooding in and has given Graham Potter’s side some much-needed stability. Fair play, but need to see more of him.
Guaita was excellent in 2019/20, but he hasn’t managed to carry that form over to 2020/21. His 71.4% save percentage from last year has plummeted this time around, with Palace now looking far shakier in defence.
Occasionally, we get glimpses of peak Guaita, but they’re just too rare these days.
Benefitting from being behind one of the league’s worst defences, Johnstone has had countless opportunities to strut his stuff, and to his credit, he has often risen to the challenge.
The West Brom stopper has frustrated more strikers than most expected of him, but he has also allowed a few too many goals to feature any higher.
Despite looking like he’s about five years old, Meslier has been performing like a player who knows all about life in the top flight.
His inexperience has flashed at times, but that’s to be expected with a goalkeeper of his age. He might be higher up this list for 2021/22, but for right now, let’s err on the side of caution.
Drafted in to replace Martin Dubravka, who picked up a nasty heel injury in pre-season, Darlow has done a pretty solid job in the Newcastle net.
He’s mixed some stunning performances with the occasional shocker, but he’s getting more and more consistent and is never short of things to do. The fact Dubravka can’t get back in the side now he’s fit says it all.
There has been a lot of talk about how Wolves‘ attack is struggling this year, but it’s safe to say that Patricio isn’t living up to his high standards either.
That’s not to say things are going badly for the Portugal international, but they probably should be going a little better.
Fabianski is a tricky one to pin down. He has proven himself as a great Premier League goalkeeper in the past, but needed to impress this year after a relatively disappointing 2019/20.
West Ham are no longer relegation candidates, and Fabianski deserves some credit for that. He’s not exactly setting the world on fire, but he’s doing what he needs to do.
Fulham‘s defence is woeful, but can you imagine just how bad the stats would look for them if Areola wasn’t in goal?
He’s done enough to prove why Real Madrid and PSG both signed him in the past, but also enough to make you remember why both felt he wasn’t top tier.
Areola has been an absolute corker of a signing for Fulham, who can thank their goalkeeper for the fact they’re in with a chance of survival.
Destined to be a success simply because he’s not Kepa Arrizabalaga, Mendy has done exactly what was asked of him this year – stop attackers from laughing at Chelsea.
It’s been a solid, unspectacular start to life at Stamford Bridge for Mendy, who has still been in the spotlight a little more than Chelsea would have liked.
Billed as an above-average, reliable goalkeeper, Mendy has proven to be exactly that.
In his last two full seasons either side of his shoulder injury, Pope was one of the Premier League’s finest.
He has continued to shine in the Burnley net, putting up the kind of numbers you’d expect from far better goalkeepers. Pope doesn’t do anything particularly special, but he saves a hell of a lot of shots.
A few years ago, De Gea would have been at the top of this list, and it wouldn’t have been close. The Manchester United man isn’t quite at the peak of his powers these days, but he’s still a good goalkeeper.
He’s guilty of the odd howler, but he makes up for it by pulling off some saves which don’t even look humanly possible.
Arsenal had a decision to make last summer when it came down to Leno vs Emiliano Martinez, and it looks like they might have made the wrong one… just.
Leno is obviously not a bad goalkeeper (he’s sixth on this list for good reason), but that reliability hasn’t always been there this year.
The German has been getting the job done, but better than Martinez? We’re not so sure.
Spurs haven’t had it all their own way this year, but you won’t find many fans who hold Lloris culpable for that.
The World Cup winner’s pure shot-stopping ability is good enough to see him sit atop this list, but the problem with Lloris is that lapses of concentration are a little too common.
There will always be a glass ceiling.
Villa‘s decision to throw £20m at Arsenal for their backup goalkeeper looked a little crazy in the summer, but whoever it was at the club who pulled the trigger deserves a statue in their honour.
Clean sheets have become a normality for Villa, who know they can rely on Martinez to keep them in games this year, and Dean Smith’s side are shining because of that.
When you’re the son of the legendary Peter Schmeichel, you better be a good goalkeeper. Fortunately for Kasper, he’s exactly that.
The Leicester man is a commanding force in the penalty area, and his form has been integral to the Foxes’ emergence as perhaps the most credible threat to the traditional top six.
Alisson is an excellent sweeper keeper who is just as good with his feet as he is with his hands. He’s a truly fantastic goalkeeper.
A few errors have crept into his game this season, but he more than makes it for it with some outstanding saves, and his footwork is an integral part of Liverpool‘s attack as well.
Alisson could easily be number one here, but unfortunately for him, someone else has been doing things just a little better.
The gold standard for goalkeepers these days is Ederson, for whom the label of goalkeeper doesn’t even do him justice.
The City man does a little bit of everything for Pep Guardiola’s side. He saves shots, makes fantastic passes and charges of his line to perfection, and he might even start scoring goals if he does get put on penalties.