Two weeks ago I decided to start basing my goalkeeper decision on data. Not PPM, or total points, but data of a more nuanced nature. Furthermore, I decided I would share this data with you, the reader, and give some advice on which players would be best to pick up. Looking back on that week 7 article (which can be found here), I realise that, in one way or another, I ended up suggesting SEVEN goalkeepers to target for that weekend. Over a third of the league! Hardly the most precise of predictions. Thus, your week 9 article will be more stringent in its advice.

For those of you wanting to keep tabs though, my suggestions in week 7 were:

  • Huerelho Gomes (vs Arsenal) – GOOD – scored 8.25 in a surprise win for the Hornets.
  • Mat Ryan (vs Everton) – GOOD – scored 8.50 in the 1-1 draw.
  • Rob Elliot (vs Southampton) – TERRIBLE! – scored -2.25 in the 2-2 draw at Southampton.
  • Fraser Forster (vs Newcastle) – POOR – scored 0 in the above fixture.
  • Hugo Lloris (vs Bournemouth) – VERY GOOD – scored 12.00 in Tottenham’s 1-0 win.
  • Lukasz Fabianski (vs Huddersfield) – VERY GOOD – scored 12.00 in Swansea’s 2-0 win.
  • Thibaut Courtois (vs Crystal Palace) – POOR – scored 4 in Chelsea’s shock defeat to Crystal Palace.

4 out of 7 doesn’t seem too bad, but as mentioned before, the lack of specificity in the predictions hardly helps from a reader perspective. Anyway, moving on to the updated data…

Match Scenarios

 

Top 6 refers to Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur. Rest refers to the remaining 14 teams.

Goalkeeper scoring remains relatively unchanged in terms of the general patterns observed, but there are some small changes in the values since week 7. Goalkeepers who win their matches still earn the most points, but this average has fallen from around 10.5 to below 10 now. The minus points achieved by Ederson in Man City’s week 8 win over Stoke, and by Cech in Arsenal’s week 9 win over Everton, are likely the main cause for this. Likewise, goalkeepers playing away from home still earn more than those playing at home, but now the difference is so negligible that it shouldn’t come in to any decision making processes. Given the jumbled mess that is the bottom half of the Premier League table, I have dispensed with the 3rd category (“bottom X”) and compared only “top 6” and “rest”. Like in week 7, goalkeepers playing against top 6 teams score worse than those who play other teams, but the difference has become smaller over the past two weeks (the 0-0 draw between Liverpool and Man United certainly contributed to this).

Opponents

The top 5 remain almost exactly the same (save for Arsenal and Newcastle switching places), though the scores goalkeepers are achieving against these clubs has dropped slightly since week 7. This is likely reflective of the fact that the past two weeks have been poor for goalkeepers in general, with the average score being just 5.3 points, compared to 6.9 points for the first 7 weeks. Goalkeepers facing Man City and Watford continue to struggle on the point’s front.

Variability

No change whatsoever from a variability standpoint. Despite back-to-back negative scores, Jack Butland remains the most enigmatic goalkeeper in Togga, with Joe Hart (25.75 points in week 8 vs Burnley and -2.00 points in week 9 vs Brighton) close behind. Asmir Begovic continues to be a consistent (albeit below average) performer, as evidenced by his 5.50 points in week 8 vs Tottenham and 2.5 points in week 9 vs Stoke.

Three to Target

  • Joe Hart; West Ham United (owned by 43%) – he may be enigmatic so far this season, but both of his next two matchups lend themselves nicely to scoring. If his performances against Crystal Palace and Liverpool go with the form book, then Togga managers should expect to see Hart win them almost 19 points over the next 2 weeks.
  • Hugo Lloris; Tottenham Hotspur (owned by 97%) – Lloris has the 6th most points and 6th highest PPM amongst regular starting goalkeepers, and these values are likely to improve over the next two weeks. Away at Man United and home to Crystal Palace should yield over 17 points if the current data trends are anything to go by.
  • Nick Pope; Burnley (owned by 45%) – Heaton’s replacement has performed above and beyond what was expected, and this should continue with matchups against Newcastle United and Southampton coming up. Expect around 8 PPM from these two games for the Burnley ‘keeper.

Three to Avoid

  • Jordan Pickford; Everton (owned by 80%) – this is a dangerous one given that Everton have just sacked Koeman, and therefore we should expect some improvement (regression to the mean) from the Merseyside club. Nevertheless, matches against Leicester City and Watford would usually expect to yield only about 6.5 points combined.
  • Jack Butland; Stoke City (owned by 57%) – Butland’s poor Togga scoring run should be expected to continue for the next two weeks at least, given that they are playing the same stingy Leicester City and Watford teams as Everton are above. Given his unpredictable scoring so far this season, there is a chance he performs well in one, only to perform terribly in the other. Avoid anyway…especially as the week 11 matchup is the 12:30 kick off on Saturday – there’s no need to be risking things at that point of the weekend!
  • David De Gea; Manchester United (owned by 99%) – clearly you don’t release the top scoring goalkeeper in Togga…but with matchups against Tottenham and Chelsea coming up, it may be worth giving him a little rest on the bench. Playing these two teams is tough at the best of times, but over the past 4 weeks, goalkeepers have averaged just 1.00 PPM when facing Tottenham or Chelsea.

If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy the book “The Inner Geek of Football” available from Amazon.co.uk for £3.99 (or Amazon.com for $5.24).

Follow Luke Wilkins on Twitter using @the_innergeek