Stats: Is this Wolves star the best Championship goalkeeper?

Molineux - Wolves - Billy Wright Stand

Richard Stearman has named Wolverhampton Wanderers' Carl Ikeme as the best goalkeeper in the Championship - but is the praise warranted?

Wolves have defied all expectations in the early part of the footballing calendar, sitting third in the Championship table after eight games.

Despite scoring just eight goals in those games, a series of strong defensive performances have seen Wolves concede just three goals, with Carl Ikeme tending to his goalkeeping duties with excellence.

A man of the match performance on Saturday saw Ikeme leave Molineux having saved a penalty from Bolton’s Owen Garvan, claiming a further three points for Kenny Jackett’s side, and teammate Richard Stearman - who also has played a key part in Wolves’s ascension from central defence - told the official Wolves website that he struggle’s to think of a keeper better than Ikeme.

He said: “Carl was phenomenal on Saturday and he has been for a couple of years now.

“It’s such a big thing for us as a back four knowing we’ve got big ‘Ike’ behind us.

“If he is called upon, then more often than not, he’s keeping it out of the net for us.

“You always think you’ve got a chance with the big man in goal.

“He’s been so good that he always gives us a chance of keeping it out the back of the net and the stats over the last couple of years show how well we’re doing defensively.

“I’m struggling to think of anyone better to be honest.”

In terms of conceding goals, Ikeme has been the best this season, with three against in eight games the best in the division. Only Sheffield Wednesday’s Keiren Westwood has a similar record - four in eight - whilst most keepers have conceded upwards of seven.

However, it is when discussed further that Ikeme’s true talent shows through.

  ConcededOpposition On Target ShotsSavesSave PercentageCrosses Claimed
Wolves 3 22 20 91% 8

Having faced 22 on target scoring attempts, Ikeme has conceded three goals, whilst saving an incredible 20 shots, a save percentage of 91% - the highest in the division by a fair margin.

He has also claimed an impressive eight crosses, and has saved one of the two penalties he has faced.

  Shot Faced inside BoxShot Saved inside BoxShot Faced outside BoxShot Saved outside Box
Wolves 13 10 9 9

The keeper has yet to concede a shot face from outside the box, with nine saves from nine shots. His talent at preventing long range shots finding their target is vitally important to Wolves, who frustrate opponents into taking shots from outside the area due to a tightly knit defensive unit.

Whilst it is still early in the season, and Wolves may be found out before too long, there is no denying that Ikeme will alway be between the sticks staking his claim as the best goalkeeper outside the Premier League.

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