Big 6 XI v The Rest XI – The Goalkeeper

To celebrate the 1000th follower to CFB football statistical partners VIZI.  We at Football CFB have once against come together to release a Premier League Team of The Season so far, with a twist. The team we have put together is solely made from teams other than the ‘Big 6’ or ‘The other 14’, also we decided in order to give the best spread, that there could only be two players from each club. I group of Football CFB writers came together and spent many an hour putting this team together until we had a full XI. Now selected we are going to reveal one player every day for the next 11 days and obviously because this is a VIZi piece we are going to compare them to an alternative player from one of the ‘Big 6’ clubs (Under the same rules, two per team) to see who comes out on top.  

In all honesty I don’t think we could have chosen to do this team at a better time. So far, the 2020/21 season has been one of the most unpredictable, crazy seasons that we as Football fans have seen in a long time, for so many reasons. The least of those is how tight the Premier League table currently is. With only a handful of games to go before the mid-point in the season 10 points separates 1st from 12th and with team having games in hand all over the place the table is changing rapidly all the time! But the other highlight of this season has been how well so of ‘The other 14’ have performed and how poorly ‘The Big 6’ have performed. This means that player comparison between the Big 6 and the Rest is genuinely very interesting. Also, if you have any gripes about who is in the team and who shouldn’t be in the team remember the rules, only two from each side, this means that some players have missed out, but you’ll have to see who over the next two weeks. Now let’s begin with the Goalkeeper.

GK- Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)

Credit: @emimartinezz21 / twitter

Just like deciding who should be in goal for this team, the life of a Goalkeeper is hard. If you have ever read Lutz Pfannenstiel’s book “the unstoppable keeper” you’ll know about the trials and the patience that a Goalkeeper sometimes must go through to get their chance. At 28 years old, Argentine Emiliano Martinez is no exception. When he joined Arsenal in 2010 as an 18-year-old Martinez would have never imagined that in 10 years he would have averaged only 10 games every season. Six consecutive loan spells and no consistent first team Football for Emiliano meant that he was pushed to the back of the line at Arsenal without a thought. That was until, his rival today, Bernd Leno was injured towards the back end of last season which saw Martinez put back into the side. He performances for Arsenal were brilliant and made some crucial saves for Arsenal which then saw the club win the FA Cup. The first major honour and medal that Martinez has ever won. 10 year into his pro career. 

Yet despite his time in the first team with Leno coming back from injury it seemed as though Martinez was destined to be side-lined again. Not satisfied with his first team chances Martinez made a £20 Million move to Aston Villa, and has since become one of the signings of the season! 

Since joining the club he has helped Aston Villa become one of the performers of the season keeping 8 Priemer League clean sheets in 15 games giving Martinez a clean sheet rate of 57%! So, despite criticisms that the price tag was too high for an unproven keeper he is clearly showing his value for money and is the clear choice for our shot stopper of ‘The Rest XI’. But let’s look at the stats: 

Thanks to the brilliant work from Vizi we have been able to compare Martinez to his once GK rival Bernd Leno. From a quick glance it is clear to see who the better keeper has been this season but let’s take a deeper look into the stats. Also, with some teams having played more than others the statistics are shown ‘Per-90mins’ rather than totals as to not disadvantage teams with less games.

Credit: @Bernd_leno / twitter

First stat I want to highlight is the one positive which Leno betters Martinez and that is “Sweeper actions” or as I like to call it, the Manuel Neuer stat. Both keepers are pretty impartial to leaving their box it seems with both coming in below 1 per 90, but Leno is double as likely to leave the area than Martinez. Maybe this is something to do with the way that Arsenal, under Arteta, are trying to play. Attempting to play the old Arsenal passing style with everyone getting involved really hasn’t worked for Arteta’s side this season and this shows when we look to clean sheets. Leno’s 5 in 17 isn’t coming close to Matinez’s 8 in 15, but this stat is strange when you consider that statistically Aston Villa are more likely to concede more goals per game than Arsenal? So why do Aston Villa have so many more clean sheets? Well, the answer is simple, Emiliano Martinez.  

His performances have been so good that if even when you look at the stats it is clear to see how crucial he has been to Aston Villa. Shots saved, Save %, Saves per goal conceded and Crosses stopped all show an Aston Villa defence which is, like Arsenal’s leaky, and yet because they have Martinez between the sticks, they have been able to avoid dropping down the table and have the 3rd best defensive record in the league.  

The fact is that Martinez is saving far more shots per 90 than Leno. Teams are getting passed the Aston Villa defence, but they are failing to beat Martinez! He has been so crucial to Aston Villa this season and I seriously think that had they not signed him they could find themselves in the bottom six rather than fighting for a place in the top 6! 

Consider; 1-1 at Chelsea where Martinez faced 5 shots on target, 0-0 with Burnley where he faced 4 shots on target, 1-0 at Wolves seven shots on target and MOTM, 1-0 at Leicester another 5 shots on target and his debut for Villa 1-0 against Sheffield United, a penalty saves, MOTM performance!  We’re talking about a potential 8-point swing and a drop to 15th!  

A phenomenal season so far for a world class keeper! Tomorow we will reveal our choice RB!

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