Stats: Who is the best shot stopper in the Premier League so far?
Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland is the first to make 50 saves in the Premier League this season. Following the departure of Asmir Begovic to Chelsea, Stoke manager Mark Hughes gave the responsibilities between the sticks to a lesser known Jack Butland at the start of the new season.
It is now apparent that the 22-year-old has seized that opportunity with both hands. Not only has he made the most saves in the EPL but also, when it comes to saves per goal conceded ratio, he is bettered only by Arsenal’s Petr Cech who has made 4.78 saves per goal conceded, compared to Butland’s 4.17.
The Potters’ marksman Peter Crouch has admitted, the club goalkeeper is even better than he thought he was. “We knew he was a good goalkeeper, but I think he has taken even his teammates by surprise with how good he has been,” he said, according to Mirror.
“The biggest compliment I can pay him is that we haven't missed Asmir as much as I thought we would,” he said of his teammate.
Jack Butland was nothing short of miraculous in the last two Stoke City matches against Newcastle and Chelsea. He helped the Potters salvage a point in the Newcastle game as well as secure all the three points against a troubled Chelsea side.
Mark Hughes was full of praise when talking about his No.1 after the Newcastle game. “Jack is playing exceptionally well and is full of confidence, which is a big thing for goalkeepers,” he said, according to Sky Sports.
“He is enjoying his work and being No. 1 here. It is what he believes he should be. He is growing day on day, in terms of his presence and influence on the team and that is credit to him.”
At the international level, the 22-year-old has represented England at all age-group levels, winning the UEFA European U-17 Championship against Spain in 2010. For now, Joe Hart's status as the first choice goalkeeper for England is safe. But if Butland keeps raising the bar, it could put pressure on the Manchester City shot stopper and Roy Hodgson.
Surely a happy conundrum for the England manager.
|RANK||Player||Team||Saves||Goals Conceded||Saves per Goal|
|1||Jack Butland||Stoke City||50||12||4.17|
|5||Brad Guzan||Aston Villa||39||20||1.95|
|6||Boaz Myhill||West Brom||37||16||2.31|
|7||Kasper Schmeichel||Leicester City||36||20||1.8|
|Lukasz Fabianski||Swansea City||36||16||2.25|
|10||Tim Krul||Newcastle United||34||17||2|
Data courtesy of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the Official Player Rating Index of the Barclays Premier League