Good goalkeepers can win several points throughout the course of a campaign with the presence of a solid shot-stopper pivotal to any side’s hopes of success, a reliable number one capable of bailing out his defence with moments of athleticism and agility.
We’ve decided to look at some of the busiest goalkeepers across Europe’s major leagues so far this season, here are the five goalkeepers to have made the most saves in 2020/21.
Emiliano Martinez – 92 saves (Aston Villa)
Emiliano Martinez spent several campaigns in the shadow at Arsenal before breaking into the first team last season, a goalkeeper whose career had been spent mostly on loan in the lower leagues excelling when handed an opportunity.
Martinez’s performances helped the Gunners to FA Cup success, but the return of Bernd Leno from injury left both player and club with a decision to make, the ‘keeper choosing to depart in search of regular first-team football with a move to Aston Villa.
Arsenal’s loss has certainly proved to be Villa’s gain with Martinez becoming one of the signings of the season, providing a solid last line of defence for Dean Smith’s side who have pushed towards European football following their struggles last term.
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 28, 2021
Martinez’s 13 clean sheets are second only to Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson in the race for the Premier League’s Golden Glove, though the Argentina international has been made to work for his shut-outs with a huge 92 saves, the fifth-highest figure of any goalkeeper amongst Europe’s leading leagues.
Nick Pope – 94 saves (Burnley)
Burnley have punched above their weight in the Premier League for several seasons, and Sean Dyche’s side are facing a fight to stay in the division this term as a lack of investment threatens their status as a top-flight outfit.
Fortunately for the Clarets, the club have a reliable number one in England international Nick Pope, with the shot-stopper and the centre-back pairing of Ben Mee and James Tarkwoski having formed the defensive axis of Dyche’s side in recent campaigns.
Pope’s nine clean sheets are bettered by just three goalkeepers in the Premier League this season despite Burnley’s position languishing in the bottom half, the 28-year-old a key reason behind the five-point advantage his side currently have above the relegation places.
Tottenham have been linked with a move for the ‘keeper as a potential replacement for PSG target, Hugo Lloris, and Burnley could find it difficult to hang onto a goalkeeper who has made a huge 94 saves so far this season.
Alessio Cragno – 96 saves
Mired in the bottom three of Italian football’s top tier, Cagliari have endured a difficult campaign to date and face a fight to survive a drop into Serie B after five seasons amongst the country’s elite.
Their faltering fortunes included a run of nine defeats in 10 fixtures between December and February, a sequence of results only halted by Sunday’s 2-0 win at bottom side Crotone to move to two points from safety.
Despite their lowly position, Cagliari have the joint-best defensive record of Serie A’s bottom-six, a record largely aided by the performances of goalkeeper Alessio Cragno whose 96 saves are more than any other shot-stopper in the entire division.
Cragno – who won his first senior cap for Italy in 2020 – has compiled a save percentage of 72% this season, a figure bettered by just two goalkeepers featuring for a team currently in Serie A’s bottom half.
Illan Meslier – 97 saves
Marcelo Bielsa placed his faith in Illan Meslier ahead of Leeds’ return to the Premier League this season, the youngster having been afforded his first taste of English football over the second half of the club’s promotion-winning campaign.
Meslier has endured a mixed campaign but there have been encouraging signs from the 20-year-old, who has become the first U21 goalkeeper to keep eight clean sheets in a Premier League campaign.
The Frenchman’s mistakes have been coupled with some superb displays of shot-stopping, making 97 saves for the season in a Leeds side who have been prepared to take a punch in order to give one in an exciting return to the top tier.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 23, 2021
Meslier is learning on the job at this level but no doubt has the makings to become a leading goalkeeper with further experience in the coming seasons.
Sam Johnstone – 103 saves
West Brom’s struggles this season have seen few players come away with much credit, but Sam Johnstone is one of the few exceptions to that rule following the busiest of seasons at The Hawthorns.
The former Manchester United academy graduate has had to be patient for his opportunity at this level but has quite literally grasped it with both hands, performing admirably despite his presence behind the Premier League’s worst defence.
Johnstone has made 103 saves for the campaign so far to raise hope of an England call up, more than any other goalkeeper across Europe’s major leagues during the 2020/21 season.
West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone this season:
▪️ Last-minute wonder save against Liverpool (1-1)
▪️ Last-minute wonder save against Man Utd (1-1)
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 14, 2021
The 27-year-old has made some superb stops including brilliant late saves to secure points against both Liverpool and Manchester United respectively, the goalkeeper likely to remain a Premier League player next season even in the event West Brom suffer an instant return to the second tier.
Stats courtesy of Playmakerstats