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Kasper Schmeichel: Time To Question the Leicester City Goalkeeper?

Ben WalshFebruary 6, 2019
Kasper-Schmeichal.jpg LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at The King Power Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)

Kasper Schmeichel has been Leicester City’s undisputed number one since joining in 2011. He has been a vital part of the club’s success, with heroic goalkeeping keeping Leicester in games on countless occasions.

Kasper Schmeichel: Time To Question the Leicester City Goalkeeper?

However, this season has seen him come in for criticism with regards to certain aspects of his game. Under Claude Puel, there is a much greater emphasis on playing out from the back then under previous management. Puel has a history of using ball playing goalkeepers: Fabian Barthez, Hugo LlorisDavid Ospina all played under the Frenchman.

There has certainly been an element of frustration from Leicester fans towards Schmeichel this season. On a weekly basis, he seems to give the ball to the opposition in a dangerous area or sail a goal kick out of bounds. In the modern game, a goalkeeper with the ability to be a force on the ball is important. In Claude Puel’s possession-based system, it is essential. But do the stats back up the view that Schmeichel’s distribution is limiting Leicester?

What Do the Statistics Say?

The most direct comparison to Leicester City in terms of league position and playing style is probably Wolves. Thus, this season’s performances of Schmeichel have been compared to Wolves’ keeper Rui Patricio and Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Kasper Schmeichel has completed significantly more passes than both Rui Patricio and Jordan Pickford: 327 to 211 and 300. Interestingly, Schmeichel also has a higher average length of distribution. He also has a marginally higher distribution accuracy than Patricio (62.6% compared to 61.8%), however, it is lower than Pickford’s (66.87%). This evidence suggests that Schmeichel is stronger on the ball than Rui Patricio, whilst comparison to Pickford is harder due to their different play styles.

For context, Schmeichel was also compared to three of the best ball-playing goalkeepers in the league: Hugo Lloris, Ederson and Alisson. Schmeichel’s distribution accuracy was significantly lower than all three. Whilst some of this can be attributed to a lower average distribution length, there is no doubt that all three are better distributors. Whilst this is unsurprising, the vast difference highlights Schmeichel’s potential limitations in Puel’s system.

Surprisingly, Schmeichel compares relatively poorly to Patricio and Pickford in other areas. His greatest strength has always been considered to be his shot stopping. However, Schmeichel averages only 1.71 saves per goal conceded compared to Patricio’s 2.69 and Pickford’s 1.85. It is not only Patricio that Schmeichel compares against poorly in this area. Ben Foster (2.39) and Lukasz Fabianski (2.85) also have much better numbers in this domain.

So What Does It All Mean?

Kasper Schmeichel undoubtedly remains one of the better Premier League goalkeepers. The statistics suggest that he is a better or similar distributor than those at clubs of a similar level to Leicester. Unsurprisingly, he falls way behind in comparison to the best ball playing keepers in the league.

What has surprised is Schmeichel’s relatively poor saves to goal success ratio. Given that this is perceived to be one of his greatest strengths, it is worrying that he lags so far behind goalkeepers at similar clubs.

Ultimately Schmeichel will remain the undisputed starter this season. Much of his future may depend on that of Claude Puel. Should the under-fire manager depart, a change in style may follow, which would make the conversation irrelevant. However, if Puel remains, he may start to think about finding a goalkeeper who can help to progress his ball playing, possession-based style of play.

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8 minutes ago, AlloverthefloorYesNdidi said:

I thought Schmeichel has been having quite a good season :blink:

Same

 

Much better than last season. Distribution poor at times though.

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9 minutes ago, AlloverthefloorYesNdidi said:

I thought Schmeichel has been having quite a good season :blink:

Me too. No idea where this comes from. The guy has been the rock of our team this season for me having dealt with an experience we can’t begin to imagine. This article makes me sad. I hope he doesn’t think the fans think this way :cry:

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Always thought the criticism of his distribution was harsh, but it’s not been great recently.

 

That said, He’s pretty low on my list of concerns right now. We’d do exceptionally well to find better. 

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Kasper is a classic middle class keeper. Not among the best in the PL, not among the worst. Pretty good shot stopper, inconsistent distributor, grisly against set pieces. 

 

Realistically it’s going to be tough for us to attract a better established keeper anyway, so Kasper isn’t among our bigger worries. That said I’d really like to see Ward get a run of 3-4 games in the league, just to see how he does. He looked pretty solid in the cup matches.

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He’s ok. He has strong and weak areas, overall about average for a Prem keeper.

 

My biggest issue with Kasper is that given his status in the dressing room, his position likely won’t be under threat even with a significant loss of form. It makes me slightly uncomfortable as I like all positions to be filled on merit. He’s still there on merit at the moment but I do fear what would happen if he has a Joe Hart style decline in 1-2 years (by which time he will have taken over the captaincy from Morgan).

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He's having a much better season than last season, when he made lots more basic errors. His distribution is hit and miss, but as other posters have said he'd be incredibly difficult for us to improve upon. 

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8 hours ago, Leeds Fox said:

Reads like a GCSE coursework assignment. 

Generous! Reminds me of reading a match report from the fake newspapers we had to write in school when I was about 12 lol 

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I question his ability to claim crosses and command his 6 yard box more than anything else, but as other posters have said GK is not particularly an area of concern and Kasper is a club legend!

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Just let him take his goal kicks long sometimes and use those two defencive midfielders to scrap and challenge for the second ball. Nothing wrong with playing out from the back sometimes, but his kicks are far too predictable, but I imagine that's a tactical decision rather than a personal one he's made

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Some suicide passing from the back, otherwise I thought he was having a good season.

 

Other than that, in my view he's certainly in the top 6 of P/L keepers.

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He's been awful for pinging it out for a throw in this season under no pressure. Think he's had a better season than last year though in general.

 

Think the saves stats are too easy to manipulate. Aren't Burnley's goalkeepers always scoring stupidly high on FPL for example because they build their game around allowing a lot of shots, albeit poor ones at them?

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Kasper is a brilliant shot stopper but he does take too many risks with his kicking and we're often lucky to get away with it - which is strange given his experience

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15 hours ago, urban.spaceman said:

However, Schmeichel averages only 1.71 saves per goal conceded

What sort of metric is that? Doesn't really prove anything as it doesn't take into account the playing style or team in front of the keeper. You could put Alisson in Fulham's side and he's going to have a low "saves per goal conceded" stat.

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He’s not a issue for me, only thing that annoys me involving him is nearly every kick out is to Chilwell which even if he wins the header it we don’t seem to get anywhere from it

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2 hours ago, Stadt said:

What sort of metric is that? Doesn't really prove anything as it doesn't take into account the playing style or team in front of the keeper. You could put Alisson in Fulham's side and he's going to have a low "saves per goal conceded" stat.

An awful one and even if you like stats it is rubbish as it ignores xG. Generally we don't concede that many shots against us but we do have a habit of teams scoring from outside the area with strikes Kasper can do little about so not surprised this is low.

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replace a goalkeeper who helped us win the league, is a great shot stopper and has been player of the year a couple of times or replce a manager who plays god awful football... hmm... tough choice...

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I think this has probably been his poorest season in the prem, but I don't think i've seen any suggest they'd want to get rid of him. For me, deserves his place at the club until he decides he needs to move elsewhere or just gets too old

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