Is Jack Wilshere right to claim that Wojciech Szczesny is the best goalkeeper in the top flight?
Yesterday Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere tweeted his belief that Wojciech Szczesny was the best goalkeeper in the Premier League. The support for his teammate came after the Polish international agreed a new long-term deal at the Emirates.
But while it is understandable that one Arsenal player would support another, Wilshere’s tweet prompted considerable debate, from both Gunners fans supporting his choice, and those who vehemently disagreed.
In truth the Premier League is awash with top-class custodians of the gloves.
But in truth the award for the league’s top ‘keeper is judged more on opinion than fact.
Few would disagree that Krul played the perfect game for Newcastle United against Tottenham last weekend. In fact the statistics proved he pulled off more saves in a single match – 14 – than any other Premier League ‘keeper in the last six years.
But that was a single performance, and he will surely have to maintain a similar if not identical level to be crowned the top flight’s very best.
Then there is the curious case of Joe Hart, who Wilshere rates as the second-best stopper in the league and yet who has now been dropped after one mistake too many.
Wilshere’s third choice, De Gea, has overcome the difficulties of his transition to become one of the very best, while Simon Mignolet has upped his game even more since his switch from Sunderland to Liverpool.
So what does all this mean?
In truth it means very little. In its simplest form, the assessment of a goalkeeper’s performance is in the number of goals he concedes. So in the league, that would be Boruc and Lloris. But few would rate the former ahead of the likes of Szczesny, De Gea and Cech.
While there is no concrete answer, one thing is for sure – Wilshere’s tweet has highlighted the fact that England is awash with top-class goalkeeping talent.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald