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Better than Lloris & Cech - Can Cardiff's re-signed stopper keep them up?

David Marshall signed a new long-term contract with Cardiff this week - and the stats show just how vital he has been for his side this season.

The best possible news that could have greeted Cardiff fans ahead of Saturday's south Wales derby was David Marshall signing a new deal with the club.

The 28-year-old has been simply phenomenal for the Bluebirds so far this season, while tying him down to a new contract was arguably more important than any new signing the Welsh club could have made.

Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was understandably delighted, telling reporters: "We're trying to build towards the future and David has shown that he's one of the very best.

"I think this gives everybody at the club a boost. We know now that we have one of the best goalkeepers in the country committed to us for years to come."

And if Opta stats are anything to go by, the Norwegian certainly isn't wrong.

PlayerTeamPosAccurate Keeper Throws / appsTotal High Claim / appsAccurate Goal Kicks / appsSaves / appsDiving Save / appsAppsMins
Wojciech Szczesny Arsenal GK 5.25 1.54 5.38 3.04 1.75 24 2,160
Simon Mignolet Liverpool GK 4.29 0.83 4.88 3.13 1.88 24 2,160
David Marshall Cardiff GK 4.09 1.61 4.39 4.13 2.78 23 2,070
Hugo Lloris Spurs GK 4.04 1.35 3.65 2.87 1.65 23 2,070
Petr Cech Chelsea GK 3.88 1.13 4.04 2.13 1.21 24 2,160

Indeed, over five key goalkeeping categories, Scotsman Marshall comes out on top of Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech and Tottenham stopper Hugo Lloris in every single department.

And when it comes to saves per game, total high claims and diving saves per games, Marshall also has Simon Mignolet and Wojciech Szczesny's number.

Those are impressive stats for a goalkeeper fighting against relegation, even though there is the obvious drawback that Cardiff would concede more chances and shots per game than the likes of Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Crucially, Cardiff have also conceded more goals than any of the top sides - which is the most important stat of all.

Yet Marshall's performances have clearly aided his side during times of need, while the fact that he out-performs the likes of Cech and Lloris suggests he would be even more effective with a multi-million pound back four in front of him.

The 28-year-old has been so impressive, in fact, that he could just be the difference between relegation or survival for the Bluebirds this season.

After Cardiff's 2-1 win over Norwich - in which Marshall starred once again - Solskjaer said: “I’ve seen already that he is one of the best keepers in the division. David showed it again today. He deserves a drink off his fellow players tonight!”

If Cardiff go on to stay up because of their goalkeeper's heroics, he'll be getting drinks all round for some time to come.

images: © CC-BY-SA, © Jon Candy

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