In the modern game, goalkeepers are asked to do more than ever before, but the reality is that they still have just one job, and that’s to save shots.
If your goalkeeper can ping a 50-yard pass but can’t catch a ball, they’re not going to make it far. Safe hands is the most important thing from any stopper, and that’s exactly what Edouard Mendy has offered Chelsea since joining the club in 2020.
Mendy’s £22m move to Stamford Bridge that summer wasn’t really met with much fanfare, with many seeing him as more of a stop-gap signing while Chelsea found an elite goalkeeper to lead them to glory further down the line.
To say Mendy has exceeded expectations would be an understatement.
Between January 1, 2021 and November 30, 2021, Opta stats show that Mendy recorded a save percentage of 78.6% across Premier League, Champions League and domestic cup games. That’s higher than Alisson (70.8%), Jan Oblak (69.2%), Ederson (67.6%) and Manuel Neuer (66.7%) – all undisputed titans of the current game.
Mendy proved to be close to unbeatable, keeping 26 clean sheets across that time. None of his fellow Welcome to World Class goalkeepers can match that, despite all bar Alisson playing more games than him.
A breakdown of Mendy’s save percentage makes it look even more impressive.
From inside the box, his 69.3% trumps the rest of his World Class candidates, but the cherry on top of it all is the fact that Mendy saved a whopping 95.2% of all shots from outside the box – nearly 10% better than Alisson, Oblak, Ederson or Neuer could manage.
Mendy may not be the flashiest goalkeeper, but if there is one thing he does at a ludicrously high level, it is stopping the ball from going in the back of the net.
That is goalkeeping at its purest form, and reliability like that usually comes with an obscene price tag. The best shot stoppers these days can easily command well over £50m, so for Chelsea to land Mendy for less than half of that is outstanding business from the Blues. They’ve landed themselves a truly world class goalkeeper.