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25th Apr 2023

The Aaron Ramsdale statistics that could cost Arsenal the Premier League

Robert Redmond

Ramsdale’s performances have been massively overrated by pundits so far this season.

Aaron Ramsdale has been widely praised for his performances over the past few weeks.

Several high-profile pundits, from Gary Neville to Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane, have commended the Arsenal goalkeeper for his displays.

Even after making a costly mistake in Arsenal’s 3-3 draw with Southampton, Ramsdale largely escaped criticism.

Wayne Rooney compares Ramsdale to Schmeichel

Writing in his column for The Timeshe said: “I’m a big fan of Aaron Ramsdale.

“Despite his slip-up against Southampton, he has made a number of fantastic saves and played with huge presence.

“Normally, with goalkeepers, you want them to have character and presence but you want them to have calmness as well. If you’re going to be as vocal and extrovert as Ramsdale, you have to back it up with your performances, because otherwise, it all looks a bit cocky.

“Well, he does and he reminds me of Peter Schmeichel. Obviously, Ramsdale has to keep improving to get near Schmeichel’s levels but the whole package makes him the closest thing I’ve seen for a long time to the Great Dane.”

Rooney spoke about Ramsdale’s ‘presence’, but the statistics tell a different story.

Ramsdale’s costly error

It is widely accepted that title-winning teams must have a great goalkeeper between the sticks to help them get over the line.

Liverpool, for example, would not have won the Premier League in 2020 without Alisson Becker. Pep Guardiola’s revolution at Manchester City only took hold when they signed Ederson.

Ramsdale’s error against Southampton was damaging for his team. It may sound harsh, but it could ultimately contribute to Arsenal missing out on winning the Premier League trophy.

The error set the tone for the Gunners’ performance, ensuring that were frantically chasing the game from the first minute.

However, according to many pundits, Ramsdale is having a great season, which may explain why the goalkeeper is escaping criticism for the Southampton error. He made an impressive save against Liverpool a few weeks ago that is still fresh in people’s memory.

Yet, the Southampton mistake also wasn’t a once-off error for the ‘keeper. And when we dig deeper into the statistics, there is little evidence to suggest that Ramsdale is having a great season.

How Ramsdale compares to other Premier League goalkeepers.

In fact, rather than saving his team and excelling, Ramsdale has had, at best, an average season.

When measuring the performance of a goalkeeper, expected goals prevented (XG goals prevented) is a very useful metric to use.

According to FotMob, the prevented goals statistic is calculated by subtracting the number of goals a goalkeeper has conceded from the number of goals a ‘keeper would be expected to concede based on the quality of shots he faced.

So, based on this metric, Alisson has been the best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season.

The Liverpool goalkeeper has conceded almost nine goals fewer than he would be expected to based on the quality of the opposition’s shots.

Bernd Leno, the Fulham goalkeeper who left Arsenal after losing his place to Ramsdale, is in second place. Gavin Bazunu is in last place.

Southampton’s Irish goalkeeper has conceded 20 goals more than he would be expected to based on the quality of shots he has faced.

Ramsdale, meanwhile, is in mid-table for this metric. The England ‘keeper has prevented 0.4 goals so far this season.

For a goalkeeper in a team hoping to win the Premier League, you would expect this metric to be higher. This statistic shows that, when called upon, Ramsdale hasn’t particularly aided his team.

Leno, his predecessor as Arsenal’s number one, ranks much higher for the goals prevented metric.

Statistics via FotMob. Click to expand.

Ramsadale’s save statistics.

Another statistic to look at when measuring goalkeepers is their save percentageKepa Arrizabalaga leads the way on this metric so far this season, with the Chelsea goalkeeper saving 75.9 per cent of the shots he has faced.

But, yet again, Ramsdale ranks in mid-table. The Arsenal goalkeeper has saved 71.8 per cent of the shots he has faced so far this season – the 10th-best record in the Premier League.

Once again, he trails Leno, who has saved 76.6 per cent of the shots he has faced. Ramsdale ranks alongside West Ham’s Lukasz Fabianksi, another ex-Arsenal goalkeeper.

Ramsdale’s save percentage last season was 73.4 per cent, which suggests that, rather than improving, his performances have dipped in this campaign.

However, despite a costly mistake against Southampton, Ramsdale has largely been praised by pundits for his performances.

The statistics suggest that this praise is over the top. The Schmeichel comparison is certainly difficult to fathom.

Statistics via FBRef. Click to expand.

The Arsenal keeper, however, has a chance to emulate Schmeichel on Wednesday night when the Gunners face Man City in what will surely be the title decider.

In the 1995/96 season, Man United played Newcastle United at St James Park in a match that effectively decided the title. The Red Devils had been trailing their rivals at the top of the table by 12 points a month earlier and would go on to win the Premier League after Eric Cantona scored the only goal of the game.

Schmeichel, however, was the key player in the match. The Danish goalkeeper picked the perfect game to produce his best performance for the club.

The goalkeeper made several incredible saves as Newcastle dominated Man United in the first half. Schmeichel kept the Red Devils in the contest until Cantona produced a moment of magic to win the game and ultimately the title.

If Ramsdale can do likewise against Man City on Wednesday night, and keep the best-attacking team in the world at bay, then the Schmeichel comparison may have some merit. His underwhelming statistics would be forgotten.

Ramsdale, however, isn’t even close to matching his predecessor Leno at the moment, never mind emulating the Man United legend.

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