The Premier League's Best Goalkeepers
So far this season, there have been an average of 2.8 goals per Premier League game. With the growing perception that the English top flight is no longer concerned with defending, the job of the man between the posts is more challenging than ever.
Here's five goalkeepers who are thriving in the goal-tastic Premiership, ranked by clean sheets*...
*Statistics do not include Boxing Day matches
Simon Mignolet (Sunderland)
While Tim Krul has arguably been the best keeper in the North East in 2012, the Dutchman has been surpassed this campaign by his Belgian counterpart between the sticks at the Stadium of Light.
Simon Mignolet has kept six clean sheets and conceded 24 goals from 268 shots on goal. This means he only fails to stop around nine percent of shots belted in his direction.
Considering the poor form and inconsistency of the 10 Mackems standing in front of him, these are impressive stats. So impressive, in fact, that Arsenal are said to be lining up a £5 million move for his services, according to the Daily Mail.
Jussi Jaaskelainen (West Ham)
Jussi Jaaskelainen—Sam Allardyce's goalkeeper of choice since Robert Green left for more relegation-threatened pastures—sees no reason why his West Ham side cannot finish in the top six (Omnisport via FourFourTwo.com).
The Hammers haven't won a game since the Finn made those comments, and they will probably need to score more goals to maintain a challenge for a European spot, but he is certainly keeping his end of the bargain.
Jaaskelainen has faced 275 shots this season—only Mark Schwarzer has faced more—yet he has kept six clean sheets and conceded 22 goals in 1,620 minutes of play. That's only one goal every 74 minutes.
For this reason, the West Ham keeper is currently the second highest points earner in the Official Premier League Fantasy League rankings.
Joe Hart (Manchester City)
England's No. 1 kept five clean sheets out of 11 appearances for his country in 2012, and was the second best goalkeeper at Euro 2012, keeping out 88 percent of attempts on goal (unsurprisingly, Iker Casillas had a better record).
Joe Hart is in even better form for Manchester City in this campaign. The 25-year-old has kept out 91 percent of the 167 shots fired at him during 18 Premier League games.
Hart may have come under fire from his manager (via The Telegraph) for failing to correctly assemble a wall during the Manchester derby, but he has kept seven clean sheets this season, including six since the start of November.
Petr Cech (Chelsea)
According to the comprehensive statistical digest that is the EA Sports Player Performance Index, Petr Cech is the best goalkeeper in all the land, and has been for some time.
Like Joe Hart, the Czech has kept seven clean sheets in the league so far, and has also kept around 91 percent of shots from ending up in the net (he has conceded 17 goals from 195 attempts).
Cech only kept 10 clean sheets in 2011/12, a goal-free rate of 29.4 percent. His 41 percent clean sheet ratio in this campaign is certainly an improvement.
Asmir Begovic (Stoke)
With just 13 goals conceded, Stoke currently have the best defensive record in the Premier League and the fifth best in Europe.
This may be due to Tony Pulis' deep defending tactics or the inestimable centre-back pairing of Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth, but much credit must go to Asmir Begović.
The Potters' shot stopper has faced 227 shots over 18 league games—the sixth highest tally of any keeper in the league—meaning he concedes only once in every 17.5 attempts on goal.