5 goalkeepers with the most saves in 2021

Premier League and Serie A goalkeepers made the most saves in 2021.
Premier League and Serie A goalkeepers made the most saves in 2021.

The role of goalkeepers has evolved over the years. Once seen as the least exciting position on the field, goalkeepers are more than just shot-stoppers now. The likes of Manuel Neuer and Ederson have redefined the role of a goalkeeper.

Now, goalkeepers are expected to be good with their feet. It's an added bonus if the keeper can act as a sweeper as well. That helps the backline push forward and keep a high line. Germany number 1 Manuel Neuer is one of the best sweeper keepers of all time.

Nevertheless, the primary duty of a custodian is to make saves and keep clean sheets. Alisson’s role in Liverpool’s victories in the last few years is a prime example of a goalkeeper’s significance.

Goalkeepers who play for teams with weaker defences are usually the busier ones. They often go under the radar, as they don’t keep too many clean sheets, but they make a lot of saves.

On that note, here’s a look at the five custodians with the most saves in the top five leagues last year:

#5 Emil Audero - 132

UC Sampdoria vs Bologna FC - Serie A
UC Sampdoria vs Bologna FC - Serie A

Emil Audero is Sampdoria’s first-choice custodian. The 24-year-old made 132 saves in Serie A last year. The Indonesian-born Italian shot-stopper was key to Sampdoria’s impressive ninth-place finish last season. He made a save every 28 minutes in 2021.

Although Audero has made 62 saves this season, Sampdoria are struggling. The Genoa-based club are winless in their last five games, and are just four points adrift of the relegation zone. They haven’t kept a clean sheet in nine games since a 2-0 win at Salernitana in late November.

Audero, a former Juventus player, was exceptional last season. He made over 100 saves with a save percentage over 70. In the previous campaign as well, he was one of Sampdoria’s star players. He'll be expected to help them in their quest for survival this season too.

#4 Lukasz Skorupski - 137 saves

US Sassuolo vs Bologna FC - Serie A
US Sassuolo vs Bologna FC - Serie A

Another Serie A custodian who made numerous saves last year is Lukasz Skorupski. The Bologna number 1 made 137 saves, the most in Serie A, making a save every 24 minutes.

Like Audero’s Sampdoria, Bologna also have a sub-par backline. Since his days with Empoli, Skorupski has been renowned for having a safe pair of hands. He made the most saves (144) in Serie A in 2016-17 before proving his prowess last year too.

Skorupski was called into action regularly in 2021. He had a 70+ save percentage in the year. He has started the 2021-22 season well, keeping seven clean sheets in the league.

#3 Illan Meslier - 142

Manchester City vs Leeds United - Premier League
Manchester City vs Leeds United - Premier League

Illan Meslier ranked third for most saves in 2021. The Frenchman stopped 142 shots, and has been Leeds' most important player alongside Raphinha. He made a save once every 23 minutes.

Meslier is one of the best goalkeepers in his age bracket. With Hugo Lloris approaching the twilight of his career, Meslier will be keen to represent his national team too.

This Premier League season, Leeds haven't been able to replicate their 2020-21 exploits under Marcelo Bielsa. However, Meslier has ensured that Leeds are not in the relegation zone. The youngster has made 66 saves this campaign.

#2 Aaron Ramsdale - 142

Arsenal vs Manchester City - Premier League
Arsenal vs Manchester City - Premier League

Aaron Ramsdale's signing last summer received mixed responses from Arsenal fans. His performances, though, have been nothing short of excellent. He has been one of the best goalkeepers in the league this season; his numbers certainly back that claim.

The Englishman made 142 saves (1 per 23 minutes) in 2021. Ramsdale is the only player in this list who played for two clubs last year. The former Sheffield United keeper made 145 saves (second-highest) last season, but could not keep the Blades in the Premier League.

Ramsdale has a great personality, which has been lacking in the Arsenal squad recently. He has had a positive impact on the team. Ramsdale has a save percentage of 80.6, and has kept nine clean sheets for Arsenal this season.

#1 Emiliano Martinez - 146

Aston Villa vs Manchester United - Premier League
Aston Villa vs Manchester United - Premier League

Emiliano Martinez made the most saves by any goalkeeper in Europe's top five leagues last year. The former Arsenal shot-stopper had a magnificent year, winning the Copa America with Argentina and growing in prominence in the Premier League.

The 29-year-old was sensational for the West Midlands club in 2020-21. Villa comfortably finished mid-table, thanks to Martinez's exploits between the posts. He hasn't been as good this season, which is reflected in his side's league position of 13th, though.

Last season, the Villa goalkeeper made the third-most saves (135) in the league. He kept 15 clean sheets, more than that of Alisson and Lloris. Martinez made a save every 25 minutes in 2021.

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Edited by Bhargav
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