As we prepare for the return of the Premier League on 26 December, Adrian Clarke looks at some of the numbers behind the season so far.
The race for this season’s Castrol Golden Glove is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in years with 11 Premier League goalkeepers within three clean sheets of top spot.
Nick Pope has been in brilliant form since joining Newcastle United in the summer. He has only conceded 11 goals and kept seven clean sheets.
Five of those shutouts have come on home soil at St James’ Park.
A crucial save at a crucial time. 🧤@Popey1992 pic.twitter.com/5cnh266K4v— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) November 13, 2022
Pope’s save percentage is superior to his nearest rivals, Aaron Ramsdale (seven clean sheets), Ederson and Danny Ward (both six).
Indeed the Newcastle goalkeeper is second only to Kepa Arrizabalaga among 'keepers who have made at least 20 saves, repelling 79.6 per cent of shots that have come his way.
|Player||Saves (%)||Saves in box (%)|
Pope has been a consistently excellent shot-stopper for several years.
Last season at Burnley he achieved a creditable 71.7 per cent save rate, with Alisson topping the charts on 76 per cent.
Exceeding that ratio after 15 appearances, it is clear his goalkeeping standards have been raised this term.
Alisson has arguably been the most influential 'keeper so far in 2022/23.
There have been some difficult moments for Liverpool, and their first-choice 'keeper has kept out 6.8 extra goals according to Opta’s xGOT (Goals Prevented) metric.
Alisson will be hoping to make a charge for the Golden Glove prize when top-flight football returns on Boxing Day.
Pope ranks fourth for most goals prevented, keeping out an additional 2.9 efforts during this campaign.
Ramsdale has also delivered a positive return in this department.
|xGOT prevented (PL rank)||2.9||0.3||-1.2||-2.2|
*Excludes penalties and own goals conceded
The 24-year-old Arsenal goalkeeper is the clean-sheet king in away matches.
He has shut out the opposition six times in eight road trips, playing a significant role for the table-topping Gunners.
If Arsenal can find greater solidity at Emirates Stadium, where they have recorded one clean sheet this season, Ramsdale will surely be in contention for the Golden Glove in May.
At close quarters Ramsdale has tremendous reflexes and agility. This has helped him concede the fewest goals from inside the box of any regular first-choice 'keeper in the division.
All six of Ward’s clean sheets for Leicester City arrived in their final eight matches before the season's break.
Another big Danny Ward save! 🧤 ⛔#WHULEI pic.twitter.com/aqBGfYfJl1— Leicester City (@LCFC) November 13, 2022
This is in stark contrast to earlier in the season, when Ward conceded 22 goals in his first seven league appearances.
Seven of those goals during that difficult period came via efforts struck from outside the box.
Since the start of October, Ward's form and confidence, along with that of the Foxes, has improved enormously.
The Welshman has also been the busiest of those 'keepers with the most clean sheets, making an impressive 34 stops from close range.
Ederson has been the least active and is perhaps not enjoying his strongest start to a Premier League season, but you can be sure the Manchester City goalkeeper will figure in the shake-up for the 2022/23 Golden Glove award.
However, as Ward has proved in recent weeks, an eye-catching period of form could quickly propel a new face into the mix when we return.
The battle for this season’s Golden Glove looks set to be a close-run thing.
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