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Having a good shot stopper is arguably the most important position for any club. A solid foundation at the back would inspire the defence backline and act as a solid position. Majority of clubs in the Premier League are blessed to have some of the best shot-stoppers playing for them.
Hugo Lloris, Petr Cech, Victor Valdes are world-renowned names and are EPL world-class goalkeepers performing wonders week in week out in England. And then, there are the rising stars, promising youngsters in the likes of Jordan Pickford of Sunderland, Stoke City’s Jack Butland who are ready to take the big stage. However, when it comes to the best keeper playing in the Premier League, the goalies that will take your attention would be Manchester United’s David De Gea and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois.
The Spaniard and the Belgian, without doubt, are the best in Europe alongside German keeper Manuel Neuer and evergreen Gianluigi Buffon. Both of Courtois and De Gea arrived England back in 2011, the chose to move to Atletico on loan, coincidentally to replace De Gea, while the Blues goalie became a part of the United first-team.
Things could have hardly gone any more differently for the two stars. While Courtois was exceptionally good in Spain, he had to endure a lot of hardships in his early years with the Red Devils. However, prior to when Courtois returned to Stamford Bridge as a Champions League finalist and a top shot-stopper, after a three-year loan spell with Atletico, De Gea had become one of the finest goalkeepers in London. So, the difference between the duo were bound to happen.
Over the years, the duo have grown in stature and developed into the finest goalkeepers in the business and have on plenty different occasions saved their sides in tough games. And it hasn’t been different this season. Courtois had been an integral in Blues title run this season while De Gea has also been very influential for Jose Mourinho’s side, having shown a brilliant performances in their EFL Cup triumph.
Therefore, what has been the difference among the goalies? Who comes out on top in the battle of the best stopper in England? We analyze below:
Chelsea’s Courtois, this campaign, has amassed 26 appearances for the Blues and recorded 13 clean sheets – highest in the league, while United’s De Gea has played a game less than his Belgian rival and has managed 10 shut-outs – which is the second best in the league. The Belgian No. 1 goalie has let in 19 goals so far this season, meaning he has a record of low 0.73 goals let in per minutes played. De Gea on the other hand has conceded just one more (20) and averages marginally higher at 0.84 goals per ninety.
The Spaniard have a low average of saves per game (1.68) than his counterpart (1.65), but Courtois in all occasion knocks him out comprehensively when it comes to averages successful punches. He enjoys a healthy 27% success-rate on ball punching in the box compared to a low 8% for United’s goalie, showing the difference in their physical stature. However, De Gea has more joy when it comes to claims, registering a superb 99% success with Chelsea’s goalie having 88% of his claims for the ball successfully.
Courtois have an average of 2.39 saves per every goal that he has let in this season, while De Gea record an average of 2.10 stops for every goal he has conceded this season. The Belgian has his stock also risen when it comes to distributing from the back, totaling 69% of his passes while De Gea below him at 66%. However, one most keep note that the average distribution length while studying Courtois is 37m compared to De Gea who has 44m.
On an overall, both De Gea and his counterpart have become the backbone for their respective clubs and have been definitely remarkable in the midfield. But in the end, it is Courtois who takes the lion share when it comes to selecting the best in the EPL goalkeeping stats. Also, part of the reason that has the Belgian the best in the league is simply as a result of strong backline in front of him, performing excellently while De Gea hasn’t had the same privilege with United’s boss Jose Mourinho having had to change his personnel in the defence area quite often due to some or other issues.
But take nothing, the duo overall epl stats was surprising. Courtois has always been there for Chelsea when the need arises and has played a crucial part in their brilliant run that looks like culminating with a title win come May.