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The big six’s goalkeepers compared ahead of the Premier League launch

Chelsea broke the world record when paying £72m to Athletic Bilbao for Kepa Arrizabalaga
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Chelsea and Liverpool have both sensationally smashed the world record to sign goalkeepers in this summer transfer window.

Jurgen Klopp originally raised the bar when the Reds bought Alisson from Roma for £67million before Chelsea then acted swiftly to replace Thibaut Courtois by forking out £72m to Athletic Bilbao for Spanish youngster Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Arsenal have also welcomed a new pair of hands between the posts with German Bernd Leno joining the Unai Emery revolution in a £20m deal. With an intriguing battle to become the league’s most reliable stopper set to begin, Sportsmail assesses the qualities and weaknesses of the No 1 goalkeepers at the ‘Big Six’ clubs.

Chelsea broke the world record when paying £72m to Athletic Bilbao for Kepa Arrizabalaga

Chelsea broke the world record when paying £72m to Athletic Bilbao for Kepa Arrizabalaga

Alisson – Liverpool

Style of play

Alisson looks to be a jack of all trades rather than a master of one. He saves the vast majority of shots taken against him while also retaining the ball skills expected of any player hailing from the Samba nation that is Brazil.

Pedigree

He has never won a major trophy in his career but can call on four Campeonato Gaucho titles during his days with Internacional. Alisson also won the highly-regarded Toulon Tournament with Brazil’s Under-23s in 2013.

Off the pitch

A strong catholic, Alisson has previously described the Bible as his ‘manual’. He is also a handy musician as seen on Liverpool’s pre-season tour to Evian-les-Bains earlier this summer. He wowed team-mates with an acoustic guitar performance before performing a rousing rendition of ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ by Oasis.

Liverpool fans will be hoping Alisson can become the club's first top quality keeper for years

Liverpool fans will be hoping Alisson can become the club's first top quality keeper for years

Liverpool fans will be hoping Alisson can become the club’s first top quality keeper for years

ALISSON STATS 17/18 

Appearances: 49

Goals conceded: 47

Clean sheets: 22

Yellow cards:

Strengths

The huge 6ft 4in frame of Alisson makes him an imposing figure at set pieces, something Liverpool have lacked for a long time. His distribution is also second to none and that was evident on his debut in Dublin last week when he sprayed a 70-yard ball to Mohamed Salah in the build-up to the opening goal against Napoli.

Weaknesses

Looking at statistics from last season it is hard to highlight a major weakness in Alisson’s game. He will be left slightly more isolated than he was at Roma with Liverpool’s high intensity pressing game leaving a lot of space between the defence and goalkeeper. He may have to consider when to race off his line and when to hold his ground a lot more in England.

Who’s the No 2?  

With Simon Mignolet put up for transfer by Jurgen Klopp, it seems as though Loris Karius has won the race to second spot. The German has had a tumultuous few months after making two terrible blunders in the Champions League final. Sitting on the bench is unlikely to boost his confidence but the German can probably expect some game time in the domestic cup competitions. 

Kepa Arrizabalaga – Chelsea

Style of play

Former Athletic Bilbao and current Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde once said of Arrizabalaga: ‘He has some things that he knows he has to improve but he is a goalkeeper with good reflexes, a great presence and a great confidence that he transmits to others.’ Sounds like a good buy so far then. 

Pedigree

He is still very much in the early stages of his professional career, having only become Bilbao’s No 1 in Valverde’s final year in charge. There has been some international success though, winning the European Under-19 Championships in 2012.

Off the pitch 

According to The Telegraph, Kepa used to split his attention as a child with his love for birds. He would regularly go in search of goldfinches with his dad and then try and get them to sing. There was obviously a natural skill inside the goalkeeper because the birds, named Oker, Rocky and Raikkonen, won competitions in 2008 and 2010.

Arrizabalaga is an impressive shot-stopper and has a good record of saving penalties

Arrizabalaga is an impressive shot-stopper and has a good record of saving penalties

Arrizabalaga is an impressive shot-stopper and has a good record of saving penalties

ARRIZABALAGA STATS 17/18 

Appearances: 31

Goals conceded: 44

Clean sheets: 7

Yellow cards: 3

Strengths

He is an impressive shot-stopper and has a good reputation when it comes to saving penalties. Being Spanish you would presume he is comfortable on the ball and that is certainly the case, despite having a tendency to overplay sometimes. Breaking through at such a young age shows his resilient personality and a calm head will be key in the Premier League.

Weaknesses

He needs to improve in the air but as he grows both physically and in confidence that will probably come. He also tried to dribble out from the back before for Spain Under 21s against Croatia once and was caught out. Made bad mistakes against Valencia early on last season, coming off of his line at the wrong time.

Who’s the No 2?

Willy Caballero won’t offer much of a threat to the No 1 jersey. The Argentine’s error against Croatia in the World Cup summed up his ability on the ball and he is far from reliable. May be given a chance in cup competitions depending how quickly Arrizabalaga settles.

Bernd Leno – Arsenal

Style of play

Physically, Leno is out of the German goalkeeping factory, down to his slick-backed fair hair, like Manuel Neuer and Marc ter Stegen. He’s also a modern, Neuer-style sweeper-keeper renowned for his bravery as the last line of defence.

Pedigree

After coming out of the Stuttgart academy, he’s played for the last seven years with Bayer Leverkusen. At international level, chances have been rare because of the high quality competition. He has won six caps for Germany though and made his Champions League debut as a teenager when Leverkusen were beaten 2-0 at Chelsea in 2011. 

Off the pitch

Like a lot of players, he’s a gaming enthusiast and enjoys a long-distance PlayStation rivalry with former Leverkusen team-mate Danny da Costa. Leno admits buying a new television and PlayStation with his first professional pay cheque. 

Bernd Leno is a typical German goalkeeper, a brave sweeper-keeper as the last line of defence

Bernd Leno is a typical German goalkeeper, a brave sweeper-keeper as the last line of defence

Bernd Leno is a typical German goalkeeper, a brave sweeper-keeper as the last line of defence

LENO STATS 17/18 

Appearances: 38

Goals conceded: 49

Clean sheets: 12

Yellow cards: 1

Strengths

Leno is something of a penalty-saving expert – Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino is among those he’s foiled in the Bundesliga. He is definitely a commanding presence on the pitch and Arsenal’s defence will boosted by that as they take a more organised approach under Unai Emery.

Weaknesses

Leno is experienced at Champions League level but two howlers against Australia in last year’s Confederations Cup cost him a place in Germany’s World Cup squad. His worst error in Germany came when he miskicked a clearance against Augsburg to concede an own goal.

Who’s the No 2?  

Petr Cech was the club’s No 1 until Leno’s arrival and the Czech goalkeeper could easily be back in the fold if things don’t start too well for the new arrival. Cech has Premier League experience in abundance but is entering the final stages of his glittering career.

David de Gea – Manchester United

Style of play

Particularly agile, De Gea is known for his sharp reflexes and agility between the posts. He is a fierce shot stopper, using any part of his body to prevent a goal. A memorable saved from Salah at Anfield last season with the inside of his foot stands out as a good example.

Pedigree

The king of the posts in the Premier League is undeniably De Gea. The Spaniard has been named in the Team of the Year in five of the last six seasons and the most recent campaign was arguably his best yet. 

Off the pitch

De Gea has admitted he is a big fan of heavy metal music and has been seen at Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold concerts. He is in a relationship with Spanish singer Edurne, who placed 21st at Eurovision 2015.

David de Gea has been in the Premier League Team of the Year in five of the last six seasons

David de Gea has been in the Premier League Team of the Year in five of the last six seasons

David de Gea has been in the Premier League Team of the Year in five of the last six seasons

DE GEA STATS 17/18 

Appearances: 46

Goals conceded: 35

Clean sheets: 22

Yellow cards: 0

Strengths

As mentioned before his shot stopping is second to none. In the early stages of his Premier League career he struggled under the high ball but has since massively improved in aerial scenarios. De Gea’s quick thinking to come off his line in one-on-one duels is also impressive and ensures United can play high up the field.

Weaknesses

Difficult to say but De Gea can sometimes fall short with his feet. His distribution is not seen as a concern for Manchester United, but there is no denying that Ederson and Hugo Lloris are better in possession. That helps City and Tottenham to play out from the back in the style preferred by their respective managers.

Who’s the No 2?  

Sergio Romero is currently injured but once fit he will be the man to deputise for De Gea. The Argentine missed the World Cup with a knee problem but has proven an able replacement for the Spaniard in cup competitions. Lee Grant has also been signed and played relatively well on the club’s United States tour. 

Ederson – Manchester City

Style of play

The Brazilian was an outstanding signing by Pep Guardiola last season as the Spaniard spent huge amounts of money to improve his back five. His agility, physicality and reflexes help him keep goal effortlessly and he was crucial in Manchester City’s title-winning campaign. 

Pedigree

Despite being just 24, Ederson has already won numerous trophies. He lifted the Portuguese league twice with Benfica as well as the Premier League and League Cup in his debut year in England.

Off the pitch

Ederson is one of very few, if any, players to boast a Guinness World Record. Earlier this year City invited the record company’s adjudicators down to their training ground as he tried to set a new best for the longest drop kick.

He was allowed three attempts to break the previous best of 75 metres and managed an effort of 75.35m on his last try.

Ederson was an outstanding signing by Pep Guardiola last season as City won the title

Ederson was an outstanding signing by Pep Guardiola last season as City won the title

Ederson was an outstanding signing by Pep Guardiola last season as City won the title

EDERSON STATS 17/18 

Appearances: 45

Goals conceded: 36

Clean sheets: 21

Yellow cards: 2

Strengths

As well as the qualities mentioned above, Ederson’s outstanding distribution and skill in possession is what makes him perfect for this City team. He is basically a play maker with gloves on. Whether it be a short pass to a defender or a pinpoint diagonal to Leroy Sane or Raheem Sterling, it invariably finds his target. 

Weaknesses

That confidence in possession can sometimes lead to mistakes though. Ederson ranked third in the top six keepers for errors leading to shots last season and who can forget the fluffed clearance that dropped to Mo Salah in last season’s 4-3 defeat at Anfield.

Who’s the No 2?  

Claudio Bravo was signed in Guardiola’s first summer at the club after a relatively successful spell at Barcelona. He failed to impress though and his manager knew he needed an upgrade if they were to challenge for the title. Still a capable replacement though. 

Hugo Lloris – Tottenham

Style of play

Lloris is another with rapid reflexes and his experience ensures he more often than not makes good decisions. The Frenchman also normally comes off better in one-on-one situations and dominates aerially.

Pedigree

Yet to win a major trophy with Spurs but his biggest success came on the international scene this summer as he captained France to the World Cup title. He made a series of solid performances as Didier Deschamps’ squad took home the trophy from Russia.

Off the pitch

Lloris is a fairly dedicated professional as this interview with Goal suggests. He said: ‘Off the pitch, I like everyone to feel free, but I am also aware of the hierarchy. I like rules, but I do not like when there are too many constraints. It must be said that everything that happens away from the field has repercussions on the pitch. The most important thing is mutual respect.’

Hugo Lloris' biggest success came this summer as he captained France to the World Cup title

Hugo Lloris' biggest success came this summer as he captained France to the World Cup title

Hugo Lloris’ biggest success came this summer as he captained France to the World Cup title

LLORIS STATS 17/18 

Appearances: 43

Goals conceded: 43

Clean sheets: 16

Yellow cards: 1

Strengths

Another stopper with exceptional distribution. His left foot can produce pinpoint passes down field and ensures Mauricio Pochettino’s side can play out from the back or move from back to front quickly.

Weaknesses

You always get the sense there is a mistake coming. Although largely impressive at the World Cup he did make a horrendous blunder in the final.  France were leading 4-1 at the time in Moscow before Lloris inexplicably attempted to dribble round Mario Mandzukic. The striker managed to win the ball and tap it into the vacated net.

Who’s the No 2?

Michel Vorm was signed from Swansea for £3.5 million in 2014. He has since been restricted to a handful of appearances each season but can be called upon with a sense of security in the absence of Lloris. 




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