Manchester United host Tottenham live on Sky Sports this Saturday – but which club has the most formidable stopper?
United ‘keeper David de Gea has conceded only four league goals this season and kept seven clean sheets, while Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris isn’t far behind with six shipped and five shutouts.
Fewest goals conceded (500+ mins), PL 2017/18 Keeper Conceded Saves Shots on target faced Clean sheets Mins played De Gea 4 21 25 7 810 Ederson 4 11 15 5 765 Pope 5 29 34 2 504 Lloris 6 16 21 5 810 Elliot 8 18 26 3 810
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane praised compatriot Lloris before his side hosted Spurs in the Champions League last week, saying: “He [Lloris] will do everything for Spurs so they win. He’s improved a lot there [at Tottenham] and will be important for them.”
And so it proved. The France international lived up to the pre-match praise, blocking a Karim Benzema header from point-blank range. Days earlier, De Gea, who almost signed for Real two years ago, had pulled off a similar world-class save from Liverpool’s Joel Matip during a 0-0 stalemate at Anfield.
But which ‘keeper is more effective?
The global football agency World in Motion’s head of research and analytics Sam Jackson has produced a detailed study of each stopper’s performances this season for his work with the agency’s goalkeeping division GK1 Management.
Using that data, in addition to Opta stats and expected goal (xG) metrics, we take an in-depth look at how the two stoppers compare…
Besides conceding fewer goals and keeping more clean sheets in the Premier League this season, De Gea is almost twice as likely to launch balls into the final third (38 to 20 this season).
But Lloris is far more likely to make clearances (15 to four), act as a keeper sweeper (10 to four) and initiate breaks with throws (52 to 26).
Interestingly, De Gea tends to pass to the right flank, having attempted 111 in that direction, compared with only 66 to the left and 92 to the centre, while Lloris’ passes are distributed evenly.
SHOT-STOPPING & DIFFICULTY
Jackson collects his own data to assess shot-stopping, and bases performance on a combination of ‘shot-stopping response’ and ‘shot difficulty.’
‘Shot-stopping response’ is gauged by how well a ‘keeper deals with a shot faced – was it held at the first attempt, held at the second attempt, parried to safety, parried back into the danger zone, or was a goal conceded?
Across all competitions, the graph below reveals De Gea has offered the best responses this season – but he has faced easier shots than any other Premier League ‘keeper.
The ‘difficulty’ part of the model factors the location from where a shot was taken, shot destination, shot power and whether the keeper’s view was impaired.
Lloris has faced shots that are more difficult to save, but records a mid-range rating for his shot-stopping from those tougher shots.
For distribution, Jackson also collects his own data, and looks at whether the ‘keeper was under pressure to pass, the number of opponents bypassed, and uses a measure of accuracy that makes it irrelevant whether the ‘keeper has a target man to aim for or not.
Lloris has been more accurate than De Gea with his distribution but only bypasses around two players per pass on average.
In contrast, De Gea’s distribution has been the least accurate of all ‘keepers from the ‘big six’ clubs, but he attempts more long passes than the other five – bypassing three players per distribution on average.
DEVELOPMENT & WEAKNESSES
The graph below shows how both keepers have recorded fairly consistent ratios for clean sheets and saves over the past three seasons, although De Gea has kept an above-average personal ratio for shutouts during this campaign.
In terms of weaknesses, Lloris has been more error-prone than the Spaniard, recording far higher averages for errors leading to goals and errors leading to shots, having made one mistake leading to a goal against Chelsea this season, making two last season and three during 2015/16.
EXPECTED GOALS (xG) Expected goals (xG) key points
- A shot from 8 yards has a higher xG value than a shot from 18 yards
- A shot taken by the foot has a higher xG value than a header
- A shot directly in front of goal has a higher xG value than a shot from a tight angle
According to Opta’s expected goals (xG) model, De Gea has prevented four goals (numbers rounded) during this campaign that would be typically conceded, while Lloris has shipped one more than he should have.
Which stopper will have the final say when the two teams meet on Saturday?
Watch Manchester United v Tottenham live on Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am on Saturday