The Premier League season is up and running. “The biggest box office drama in world football”, as the purists would ironically point out. And as the first 4 game weeks suggest, August was not deprived of its usual spectacles. New heroes arrived, while the established stars reminded everyone of their worth. Goals galore, with 98 finding the back of the net. Keeping that in mind, let’s delve into the unlikely heroes who position themselves between the sticks every week as the last line of defense. Here, we look at the performances of the top 5 goalkeepers in the Premier League for the month of August 2017.
1. Jonas Lössl (Huddersfield Town A.F.C)
David Wagner’s Yorkshire boys have been a breath of fresh air, and the summer signing from Mainz has adapted to the foils of the Premier League like a fish to water. He was stellar in the opening weekend against Crystal Palace, pulling off some important stops, especially one important fingertip-save off a dangerous Wilfried Zaha shot. Against Newcastle, he pulled off the stop of the match, a brilliant diving save to keep out Matt Ritchie’s effort. In the first-half, he pulled off an equally outstanding one from Ritchie himself, using his fingers to intervene a shot that was destined for the bottom corner. He was solid against both Southampton and West Ham, as Huddersfield’s unbeaten run came to a halt against the latter. Overall, the Dane has proved himself to be a capable shot-stopper, and will surely top this list on basis of performance alone. His form is going to be vital if Huddersfield is to survive the drop.
2. David de Gea (Manchester United)
The Spaniard has continued his splendid form from last season, as Manchester United sit at the top of the table, still unbeaten. He had relatively easy outings against West Ham United and Swansea, before reminding everyone of his worth against Leicester and Stoke City. He was solid against the foxes, commanding the box and dealing with any little threats that Leicester popped up with. As the final whistle blew at the Bet 365 stadium at Stoke, Jose Mourinho must have been thanking his lucky stars that the fax machine saga went in favor of Manchester club. And with each passing day, the Spanish number 1 is proving that Madrid’s loss is United’s gain. In the 63rd minute, Jese Rodriguez met an Erik Pieter’s cross, flashing a shot that should have gone in. But Dave somehow fingertipped it over. Such reflexes ooze World class. With 3 clean sheets of the first 4 games, his record speaks for itself.
3. Fraser Forster (Southampton)
The England international began the summer with much criticism, with pundits doubting his progress from a poor 2016/17 season. After 360 minutes and a man of the match performance against Huddersfield Town, he reminded everyone of the promise that prompted Ronald Koeman to part with £10m in 2014 to prise him away from Celtic. He did fumble an over-hit cross into the path of Elias Kachunga but atoned for his mistakes at that very moment, saving the second effort with his feet. He made 12 saves in 2 games against Huddersfield and West Ham, with one world-class stop off Diafra Sakho, though he was helpless to stop Chicharito to steer the rebound home. If he can continue this form, he will be back in the national setup soon enough, after being dropped in favor of the rising Jordan Pickford.
4. Jack Butland (Stoke City)
Looks assured and England quality. He needed to be, particularly against Arsenal, making numerous one-to-one saves as the Gunners upped the pressure after trailing throughout. He made a total of 17 saves, the highest among the 5 in this list. Even in the defeat against West Brom, he claimed several good crosses throughout the match. Last week against Manchester United, he matched David de Gea, pulling off a stunning one hand stop to block Kurt Zouma from inadvertently deflecting one into his own net. He has come a long way since sitting out a year due to an ankle injury and looks primed to replace Joe Hart as the England number one.
5. Heurelho Gomes (Watford)
The veteran Brazilian completes the list, being instrumental in Watford’s high position as we enter the second month of the Premier League season. There were ups and downs in the opening weekend, as he gifted Liverpool a penalty by rushing out and catching Mo Salah, but also made two significant stops to prevent Liverpool from running away with the game. Against Bournemouth, he made two vital saves off Benik Afobe, parrying one and punching another away. He performed admirably against Brighton, as his team held on with 10 men, as the Watford captain was up to the task whenever called upon and led from the back admirably.