Premier League: Player of the Week: Adrian

With the Premier League taking a break this past week attention turned to the historic FA Cup, in a few years time the famous cup will be celebrating its 150th anniversary and the pick of the 3rd round games was clearly the Merseyside derby and Liverpool v Everton.

Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian who came from West Ham would not have thought too much about the game when the draw was made given that he is playing second fiddle to the excellent Brazilian Alisson. But Reds manager Jurgen Klopp promised to change his team up. After all Liverpool’s major priority this season is the league title which they haven’t won for 30 years. Also there are Champions League games starting up soon and the German coach has to be aware of injuries. This has given Adrian the chance to shine.

Adrian of course has already impressed in the league this season. Near the beginning Alisson was unfortunate to get injured and had to miss a number of games giving Adrian his big chance in goal, and he relished it. Adrian has started 8 games and earned 11 points, he was also able to keep 2 clean sheets. All of this would have given reassurance to Klopp to start Adrian against Everton and he now looks set to be Liverpool’s number 1 goalkeeper for the cup competition which would be the right thing to do now.

Against Everton, Liverpool were in the rare situation where they started as underdogs even though they were at home. The reason was that just four regulars had been picked by Klopp and most of the team were made up of Liverpool’s youth players. Everton picked a full strength side, this did not look like it would end well for the Reds.

Of course in the end it did and they won the game 1-0 denying Everton their first win at Anfield since 1999. The hero of the game really went unnoticed, and arguably it was Adrian. His saves in the first half kept Liverpool in the game in the first place and it was impressive to see how energetic and elastic he was given that he doesn’t get much game time. It just underlines how strong Liverpool’s squad are this season that Adrian is their number 2 goalkeeper where for most teams he would be first choice.

Had this game been a league one, Adrian’s exploits may have been more championed. He certainly would have earned his 7 points for keeping a clean sheet if a league match. And above all he is our player of the week in England. His current value is 6m.

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Chi e’ Gianluigi Donnarumma, il portiere che ha stregato Mihajlovic


Sedici anni e non sentirli. Ha suscitato clamore la scelta di Sinisa Mihajlovic di affidare le chiavi della porta del Milan ad  Gianluigi Donnarumma, relegando panchina l’esperto Diego Lopez che nelle precedenti partite aveva giocato particolarmente male. D onnarumma è diventato cosi’ il secondo portiere più giovane ad esordire in Serie A: il primo posto è di Gianluca Pacchiarotti, che nel 1980 a 16 anni e 6 mesi giocò dieci minuti nel Pescara in Perugia-Pescara (Donnarumma ha per la precisione 16 anni e 8 mesi).

Di Donnarumma si parla molto bene da diverso tempo. Da anni gioca “fuori età” – cioè nelle squadre giovanili di giocatori più grandi di lui. Nell’aprile del 2015 il suo agente Mino Raiola ha detto che Donnarumma è così forte che “nell’Ajax o nell’Atletico Madrid (squadre note per un ottimo settore giovanile) avrebbe già giocato in prima squadra”.  Nato il 25 febbraio 1999 a Castellammare di Stabia, in Campania Donnarumma e’ alla terza stagione con la maglia del Milan.  Fino al 2013 ha giocato nel Club Napoli Castellammare. A quei tempi fece un provino con l’Inter, ma lui stesso disse dii preferire il Milan, perché è la squadra per cui fa il tifo e in cui ha giocato suo anche suo fratello Antonio per cinque, vincendo pure lo scudetto Allievi, con Paloschi centravanti ed Evani in panchina. Il suo e’ un  percorso da predestinato: dal 2013 a oggi è salito di tre categorie fino a giocare in prima squadra.

L’esordio con il Sassuolo non e‘ stato irrestitibile, ma Mihajlovic, decidendo di riproporlo nella sfida con la Lazio, non solo ha confermato la grandissima stima nei suoi confronti, ma ha mostrato di essere certo sulle capacità del ragazzo.  Il portiere del Milan si è dimostrato ancora insicuro, subendo goal da Kishna sul primo palo, come accaduto con Berardi una settimana fa nella sfida contro il Sassuolo.Entrambi errori che non hanno influito sul risultato, sia chiaro, ma in molti cominciano a chiedersi se sia stato giusto buttare nella mischia così presto il classe 1999. Donnarumma comunque gode della stima di tutto l’ambiente rossonero, e pensa a godersi il momento. Nonostante gli evidenti errori contro Sassuolo e Lazio, il futuro del Diavolo è tutto suo. Chi l’avrebbe mai immaginato appena un mese fa?

The life of a goalkeeper – top stoppers and fumbling failures

Being a goalkeeper can be a thankless task. Whereas an outfield player can make mistake after mistake without real punishment, one error from a goalkeeper can leave their team trailing and fingers of blame pointed in his direction. But the other side of the coin brings praise, plaudits and points, with goalkeepers often times responsible for keeping their team in the game.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than Of the 10 highest-scoring players in the game, six of them are goalkeepers – Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo, Lille’s Vincent Enyeama, Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon, Montpellier’s Geoffrey Jourden, Koln’s Timo Horn and Paris Saint-Germain’s Salvatore Sirigu.

By contrast, of the 10 lowest-scoring players, seven of them are goalkeepers – Werder Bremen’s Raphael Wolf, Parma’s Antonio Mirante, Stade de Reims’ Kossi Agassa, Deportivo La Coruna’s German Lux, Everton’s Tim Howard, Espanyol’s Kiko Casilla and Elche’s Przemyslaw Tyton. It’s a fine line between success and failure when you’re the last line of defence.

All of the lowest-scoring goalkeepers have delivered minus points, reaching as far as -80 for Wolf, with his 13 goals conceded. Bravo, meanwhile, shows how valuable a goalkeeper can be. The Chile international has yet to concede a goal for Barca and has helped the Catalans to top of the table with five clean sheets in as many games.

Bravo has in fact been as valuable to Barca as Cristiano Ronaldo has been to Real Madrid. They’ve both scored 200 EFL points, Ronaldo’s coming largely through his nine goals in four games, despite Los Blancos making something of a stuttering start to the season.

Indeed, Madrid have scored 18 league goals to Barca’s 11 but in conceding nine in reply, have a lot less to show for it. Four league points separate the teams and its Bravo who has made the difference.

Enyeama Tops Europe’s Best Goalkeeper List Above Cech and Courtois

Any list of Europe’s best goalkeepers would throw up a lot familiar names – Thibaut Courtois, Gianluigi Buffon, Petr Cech and Manuel Neuer would all figure highly no matter who was asked.

Indeed, that quarter feature highly in the Euro Fantasy League’s highest scoring goalkeepers. Starting with Courtois, they hold the fourth to seventh rankings but it may come as a surprise to see not one of them cracks the top three.

They are the No.1s for title challengers in what are arguably Europe’s strongest leagues and Cech is the only one not holding the gloves for the league leaders. But none of the four, nor any other goalkeeper, can top Lille’s Vincent Enyeama.

Enyeama is the highest scoring goalkeeper in Euro Fantasy League, with 560 points, despite his club, Lille, falling well adrift of Ligue 1’s leaders Paris Saint-Germain. But Los Dogues have a superb defensive record, conceding only 20 goals in 33 games – compared to 19 in 33 for PSG.

For his part, Enyeama has kept 20 clean sheets in 33 games to the 18 in 33 of his PSG counterpart, Salvatore Sirigu, who is third on the Euro Fantasy League points list. Neuer has conceded fewer goals than any top 10 goalkeeper but Enyeama’s 20 conceded is fewer than Cech’s 24 and substantially fewer than the 32 let in by Real Madrid’s Diego Lopez or the 31 of AS Saint-Etienne’s Stephane Ruffier.

Enyeama is also the second-cheapest goalkeeper in the top 10, valued at only €5.5m – compared to €11.5m for Sirigu and €14.5m for Neuer, the most expensive in the top 10. Roma’s Morgan De Sanctis, third, would cost €7m to have in your team.

Ligue 1 fairs rather well in the goalkeepers stakes. Enyeama and Sirigu are joined by Ruffier to make the French league the joint-most represented. Only La Liga can also boast three representatives – Courtois, Lopez and Victor Valdes of Barcelona. It suggests that Ligue 1 is hiding some bargains both for Euro Fantasy League and a real world application.

With only 7% of Euro Fantasy League teams choosing Enyeama, having faith in the Nigerian could have been telling. Courtois features in 12% of teams and while his score of 495 is nothing to dismiss, it falls well short of Enyeama’s.

As noted, Enyeama is the second-cheapest goalkeeper in the top 10. The cheapest is Lopez, available for only €4m but generating 380 points. His Real Madrid displays have been enough to keep Iker Casillas out of the league XI and in the wake of Valdes’ World Cup-ruining injury, Lopez has been touted as a possible replacement in the Spain squad this summer.

Lopez has 15 clean sheets for Madrid this season, from 33 appearances. It could be argued that it’s easier to keep goal for Madrid than Lille and the stats back that up, Enyeama making more saves on average than Lopez, but also keeping more clean sheets, which offers further evidence for the storming season being enjoyed by Enyeama.