Top Premier League Goalkeepers in 2018/19: Kepa Arrizabalaga

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On reflection Kepa Arrizabalaga has had a very successful debut season with Chelsea. The Spaniard moved from Athletic Bilbao for a huge fee €80m which made him the most expensive goalkeeper of all time at age just 24.

But Kepa has repaid the faith shown in Chelsea. He starred in a season that saw the Blues win the Europa League- their first European silverware since 2013. He helped the club finish in 3rd place and gain automatic Champions League qualification, though the Europa League win achieved that anyway. Chelsea lost just 2 games at home and they also reached the Carabao Cup final matching Manchester City throughout 120 minutes of football the game ended 0-0 but they lost on penalties.

Kepa is an excellent shot stopper with a potentially fantastic career ahead of him but at the same time if we talk about the Carabao Cup final we have to mention his low point this season. In the final Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri called for the Kepa to be substituted- he want fresh hands in the form of Willy Caballero for the penalty shoot out. But Kepa refused to come off. In the end he was dropped for the next game in favour of Caballero and fined a week’s wages.

But there are many positives to take from Kepa’s first season. He started the season off by keeping a clean sheet as Chelsea beat Huddersfield 3-0 and earned 7 points in the process. Overall he kept a clean sheet 14 times. His best period was the New Year, where he kept 2 clean sheets in a row, earning 14 points in a row. If there is to be a few criticisms of him it’s that he did not remain consistent throughout the season. This is shown in his final points tally of 62. Alisson ranked the number 1 goalkeeper in European Fantasy League earned more than double that.

The biggest low point for Kepa was when Chelsea were crushed 6-0 by eventual champions Manchester City. Kepa finished that weekend losing 10 points.

But there is a lot of hope for a goalkeeper who is still learning at the very highest level and one that on his debut season still finished ranked 3rd in the Premier League. His value this season in the fantasy league was just 6m and that is sure to rise for the beginning of next season where he will of course remain a Chelsea player after signing a 7 year contract with the Blues.

Kepa has his wish next season to be in the Champions League and it will also be interesting to see if he can break his points tally for this season. He has also ousted Manchester United’s David de Gea from the Spanish squad as first choice goalkeeper, so the future looks great for the 24 year old.

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Top Premier League Goalkeepers in 2018/19: Ederson

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A huge part of Manchester City’s Premier League title win has to come down to goalkeeper Ederson, full name Ederson Moraes who was like a wall in goal. This was evidenced in the fact that he kept 20 clean sheets, just one less than Liverpool’s Alisson.

While Alisson could arguably be seen as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season what is so impressive about Ederson’s season is that he cost £35m to City, half of what Alisson cost and basically Ederson seemed to match Alisson game for game. It will be a headache of course for the Brazilian national team who have arguably their best 2 goalkeepers in their history- but at the same time!

In the Premier League Fantasy rankings Ederson finished in 2nd place for the goalkeepers and got 130 points, just six less than Alisson. His value was the same as Alisson’s at 10m.

Personally Ederson had a fantastic season with Manchester City not only winning an historic league title which was the first back to back win for the club but also picking up the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup which means that Ederson became the first ever goalkeeper in English history to win a domestic treble.

Ederson started the campaign off in fantastic style earning 7 points when City beat Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates. Against Huddersfield he was set to earn zero points but he actually created an assist for Sergio Aguero as City won 6-1 and so earned 2 points, and thus became the first ever City goalkeeper to complete an assist.

Ederson’s best points total was 7 which he wasn’t able to beat and would be rare to do so but he got 7 points on no less than 20 times which included earning that amount on 4 games in a row towards the end of the season when City were picking off opponents seemingly by the same score line of 1-0.

The Brazilian has had to fight off challengers from Joe Hart and then Claudio Bravo to keep his place as the number 1 goalkeeper for City and one of those reasons isn’t just because he is one of the best shot stoppers in the game. It is no secret that City manager Pep Guardiola loves keepers who will quickly distribute the ball forward if they come into contact with the ball and keep the game flowing in a natural attacking way, and Ederson is one of the best goalkeepers in the business at doing that.

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Van Dijk and Alisson the stars of Liverpool’s Champions League success

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Madrid has often been where Champions League legends are made, and that proved to be the case for Liverpool. This year’s Champions League final won’t go down as one of the best, indeed in many aspects, it was among the worst, but Liverpool won’t mind one bit.

This side have battled their way back throughout the Champions League this season, and it was no different in the final. The natural rhythm, tempo and desire were lacking from Jurgen Klopp’s side. Instead, they had to battle, scrap and find something much deeper to ensure they were lifting a sixth European crown by the evening’s end. This Liverpool side have transformed under Klopp this year. The swashbuckling, cavalier team of the past has made way for one that has much more about it. Continue reading

Top Premier League Goalkeepers in 2018/19: Alisson

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Though Liverpool did not win the league in the end it was by the narrowest of margins and while the whole team shined in their respective positions, a lot has to be owed to goalkeeper Alisson who kept the Reds in contention right up to the final 70 minutes of the league season.

Jurgen Klopp spent almost £67m on the Brazilian shot stopper which for a small time became the world record transfer fee for a goalkeeper. It was broken by Chelsea when they signed Kepa Arrizabalaga for £71m. However it was Alisson that emerged from the Premier League season as the best goalkeeper in England if not Europe.

Liverpool were attracted to the services of Alisson after they met his then side Roma in last seasons Champions League semi-finals. Ironically Liverpool put 7 goals past the Romans, but Klopp could see the wider picture which included Alisson keeping 22 clean sheets for Roma that season in Serie A.

Alisson’s competitive debut started off in style as he kept a clean sheet in Liverpool’s 4-0 rout of West Ham. Alisson would go on to play every league game of the campaign for Liverpool which was by far their most successful season since winning the league title in 1990.

As far as clean sheets were concerned Alisson did not concede in goal for Liverpool’s first three games of the season. Overall he helped keep 21 clean sheets for the Reds in a remarkable season that saw Liverpool reach 97 points and lose just 1 game and still not win the league. However his 21 clean sheets was the best record in the league with Manchester City’s Ederson coming in 2nd with 20.

Alisson did not pick up any players of the month awards but these are usually given to strikers and this was the case again this season when 8 of the 9 awards went to forwards. The only exception being Virgil van Dijk, Alisson’s Liverpool teammate.

With 22 goals conceded Liverpool shipped the least amount of goals in the league beating eventual champions Manchester City by one goal. And in the Champions League, Alisson has played every game so far, with the final coming up against Tottenham on Saturday. He was able to keep a further 2 clean sheets from 6 group games played. In the knock out stages he kept clean sheets in the home games v Bayern Munich, Porto and Barcelona.

For all leagues in European Fantasy Football goalkeepers Alisson is ranked as number 1 and earned 136 points over the season. He finished 6 points clear of Manchester City’s Ederson. His discipline was also very good with just 1 yellow card shown during the whole season. At this time Alisson is valued at 10m to bring into your team. It is inevitable that the Brazilian will be at Liverpool for many more years and he has proved this season that he is amongst the world’s finest goalkeepers.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best Premier League Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now!

 

 

 

EPL Weekend Picks – Week 36

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With only three or four games left in the Premier League season depending on which side you are following, things are starting to get serious! The title race looks all set to go down to the wire, while the relegation battle appears closer than many thought possible just a few weeks ago. Cardiff and Brighton appear the two sides most immediately in danger of claiming 18th and the final relegation place, though Southampton are not yet mathematically safe. Title contenders Liverpool and Man City both have games where you would fancy them to win, with City’s arguably the slightly tougher game. With that said, let’s go for a 4-3-3 again and see which players are worth keeping an eye on and including in your fantasy squads this weekend.

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EPL Game of the Weekend – Liverpool vs Chelsea

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Sport has many different forms, of course – competitive, friendly, amateur, professional – as well as different disciplines of course such as tennis, rugby, basketball and of course football. One thing every sport shares is that it really takes that special something to crown a champion. Patty Berg – record holding female PGA golfer – once stated “what does it take to be a champion? Desire, dedication, determination, concentration and a will to win.” Apt words indeed, and words which could well be applied to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side as they maintained their pursuit of a first-ever Premier League title by beating Chelsea 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday. The Reds have looked sublime this season, but this game showed a grit and determination lacking in recent years.

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Liverpool and Manchester City prepare for epic season finale

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Are you not entertained?

It’s going right to the end, isn’t it?

We haven’t had a title race this close since the 2013/14 when it went to the final day between… Liverpool and Manchester City.

There’s something different about this Liverpool team, though. While Brendan Rodgers’ attacking juggernaut was overflowing with creativity and lethal finishing, Klopp’s team displays a gladiator-like fighting spirit and a refusal to give in. Marrying just the right amount of technical ability with bucketloads full of courage, Klopp may just have got the mix right.

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EPL Best XI – Week 34

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With the Premier League now very much entering the business end of the season, and with just a few matches remaining to decide the respective fates of several teams, there was a full schedule of games in England’s top-flight this past weekend. Once again, the spread of fixtures was great with Newcastle winning at Leicester on Friday night, six games taking place on Saturday, title challengers Man City and Liverpool winning their respective games on Sunday and Arsenal travelling to Watford on Monday. Results this weekend meant that both City and Liverpool are guaranteed to finish first and second in either combination. With that in mind, let’s take a look and see which players performed the best in their position, using a 4-3-3 formation.

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If Liverpool win the Premier League it will be down to Sadio Mane and Alisson

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Liverpool have not been as close to winning the league- their first real chance since 1990 as they are this season. Can it be done, could they really do it? Make no mistake Liverpool want this much more than the Champions League, as they have had to wait 29 years to claim another title.

There are two players that have been brought into the club by manager Jurgen Klopp that have appeared to make all the difference. One is Sadio Mane who was bought for £34m from Southampton in 2016 and the other is Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson who smashed the goalkeeper transfer fee last summer as Liverpool splashed out an initial £56m which will rise to £66m and will make him the worlds most expensive goalkeeper.

While the figures seem crazy for a goalkeeper we have to consider how Alisson’s arrival has hugely helped the Reds this season. Liverpool have conceded 18 goals which is the best record in the league, only Manchester City come close having conceded 21. At Anfield the record is even more remarkable as the club have only conceded 9 goals.  But here is the real stat that would whet any fans appetite for a goalkeeper and that is Alisson has kept 17 clean sheets. In short Alisson has been outstanding and has done his job almost flawlessly well.

Another player that has made a major difference is Sadio Mane. Now when we talk about strikers our attentions as far as Liverpool go is going to turn to Mohamed Salah who has been superb for Liverpool since they bought him from Roma, and nobody is going to forget his goals for the club last season. Indeed he has 17 this season and could well end up the top goal scorer once again. But Mane has matched the Egyptian this season that there can be no doubt.

Mane also has 17 goals but his form has been absolutely electric in 2019, as he has been scoring week in and week out. What has been incredible is that he has been scoring in the most important goals in the lead up to the title challenge. Would it be a surprise if Mane was voted the best Premier League player of the season? Win or lose the league Mane may just get the vote.

Jurgen Klopp has spent many millions on bringing in players but at the same time the German also has to be applauded given that he has been able to identify Liverpool’s weaknesses, target the players needed and bring them in. All that remains is winning trophies and with the club still in the hunt for the Premier League title and the Champions League anything could happen.