The last line of defence, the goalkeeper, is a unique but ever important role in football, with the difference in having a shot-stopper of the highest quality counting for several points throughout the course of a Premier League season.
English football’s top flight is currently home to some of the best in the business, including the three of the four most expensive goalkeepers in the history of football, but how are each of the top six’s first choice ‘keepers performing so far this season?
Here is the rankings of each top six goalkeeper, based on their save percentage this season…
6. Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea – 56.1%
The world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Chelsea’s Kepa has come under-fire this season following a series of below-par performances, the £71.6m record signing struggling to live up to expectations at present.
The Spain international has saved a little over half of the shots he has faced this season, a poor return for a goalkeeper who Chelsea had expected to develop into one of the world’s very best.
Kepa not only ‘boasts’ the worst save percentage of all top six goalkeepers, but the worst of any regular first choice currently playing in the Premier League and amongst the lowest in Europe’s top five leagues.
The 25-year-old’s struggles will be a major concern to Frank Lampard and Chelsea, who will need the shot-stopper to regain his best form as they seek to secure a top four finish.
5. Ederson, Manchester City – 67.8%
The Brazilian international has been regarded as one of the Premier League’s finest since joining Manchester City from Benfica two-and-a-half years ago, being named in the PFA Team of the Year last season as City secured back-to-back league titles under Pep Guardiola.
Ederson’s renowned kicking ability has seen him praised as the world’s best with the ball at his feet, his distribution having seen him become a vital cog in the style implemented by Guardiola at the Etihad.
In two full seasons in English football he has also proven himself more than a commanding presence in goal, though his reliability has dropped somewhat during an indifferent season for the champions thus far.
The 26-year-old has a save percentage of just 67.8% this season from 59 shots faced, ranking him outside the top 10 for Premier League goalkeepers this season.
4. David de Gea, Manchester United – 67.8%
Level with Ederson is Manchester United counterpart De Gea, the Spain international’s once unrivalled standards having dipped somewhat in recent times.
Regarded as arguably the world’s best shot-stopper at his peak, the 29-year-old’s aura of invincibility has vanished during a difficult time of late for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, who face a struggle to secure a top four finish this season.
Notable mistakes against the likes of Crystal Palace and Burnley have proven costly, and the Red Devils will need the former Atletico Madrid star to recapture his best form in the months ahead.
De Gea has saved 67.8% of all shots on target faced this season, though only Arsenal’s Bernd Leno has faced more efforts amongst top six goalkeepers as United’s backline continues to present chances to the opposition.
3. Bernd Leno, Arsenal – 72.8%
Arsenal‘s defensive vulnerability has been apparent for some time now, but without Leno keeping goal their troubles could have been much worse.
The Germany international has been amongst the busiest number ones in the Premier League this season, with only Newcastle’s Martin Dubravka having had more shots to deal with than the 27-year-old as the Gunners struggle to find solidity.
Despite being regularly called into action, Leno has managed to save 72.8% of shots faced, a percentage only three goalkeepers to have played more than 20 games can better in the entire division.
The north London side have made some questionable purchases in recent years and whilst Leno does not fit this criteria, he will hope for some better protection in the coming seasons.
2. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham – 77.5%
The second-highest save percentage amongst top six goalkeepers belongs to Hugo Lloris, though his sample size is smaller given the Frenchman has missed the majority of the season with a dislocated elbow.
That injury came after a horrific mistake against Brighton, but that aside he has largely looked solid for the north London side so far this season.
Lloris has made eight Premier League appearances for Spurs so far, though despite a save percentage of 77.5% has kept just one clean sheet this term.
Despite that record, Jose Mourinho’s side will be pleased to be able to once again call-up the experience of the World Cup winner, deputy Paulo Gazzaniga having registered a save percentage of just 69.3% during his 17 league appearances.
1. Alisson, Liverpool – 84.2%
Is Alisson the world’s best goalkeeper?
The Brazilian international has returned from an injury picked up on the opening weekend in some style, helping the league leaders to seven clean sheets in just 15 Premier League appearances and boasting the best save percentage in the division.
The 27-year-old has saved 84.2% of all shots on target this season, and is now just one clean sheet behind leaders Ben Foster, Dean Henderson and Kasper Schmeichel in the race to secure a second successive Golden Glove.
Alisson’s commanding and assured presence is a key factor behind a Liverpool defence that has conceded just 15 goals so far this season, the solidity of Jurgen Klopp’s side looking likely to result in an elusive Premier League title for the runaway leaders.