The striker was ~16 yrds from the centre of goal & at a pretty wide angle (hard to see from the photo) so #DeGea’s decision to stay deep made the finish very difficult as he didn’t rush out & gift a simple dink/rounded finish
The great thing about #DeGea’s positioning here is that if the striker takes a touch rather than shooting he’s far enough off his line & prepared & ready to engage then, only once he knows the striker is so close to goal that he can no longer trust his reactions to make the save!
There are 2 crucial decisions which made this save possible:
• The decision to engage early -> minimised the distance to the ball thus maximised the goal area covered!
• The decision to spread -> spreading further maximised the goal area covered!
#Schmeichel quickly realised the 1v1 was going to be from close range & he wouldn’t be able to react to the shot if he stayed deep & thus he needed to rush out & form a premeditated barrier
Without this quick decision he wouldn’t have gotten close enough to ASM to make the save!
Even once he gets out to ASM it could still be a goal but #Schmeichel’s excellent spread technique means he fills a huge portion of the goal & manages to get a toe on the ball & deflect it out for a corner.
Using a different barrier technique would’ve likely resulted in a goal.
Expected Save% for an avg #PL GK who faced the same shots as #Pickford in that time = 69.0
I understand why people think that #England’s #1 should be better than a middle of the road PL GK but the abuse he gets is just crazy!
Also regarding the #England #1 shirt, the main reason he has it is because currently #Southgate believes that being an average shotstopper is outweighed by the fact he is a level above any other English GK when it comes to distributing the ball, especially when under pressure!
ExSaves are calculated by looking at every shot a GK faces & using the shots distance, angle, trajectory, final location, the number of defenders in the way + other things & using historical data to find the probability that an avg PL GK makes the save...
...Therefore as a rough example a shot from 40yrds at a tight angle that goes down the middle of goal with all the teams defenders behind the ball may have an ExSave of 99% whereas a central 1v1 from 10yrds fired into the bottom corner may have an ExSave of 10%.
His 2nd 1v1 save was a nice spread!
I loved the fact he backed off & didn’t commit himself when #Mbappe ran in 1v1 as he knew #Mbappe was too far from goal to trouble him then as soon as he squared it to #Neymar he realised the shot was now in the engage zone & he then rushed out
If you are wondering what I am talking about in terms of “block”, “spread”, “engage some” etc.
Research has shown the optimum GK position for none 1v1 long range shots is roughly 1.5-2yrd off the line
Once a GK starts positioning themselves further out than this the reduced goal area they have to cover doesn’t outweigh the loss of reaction time hence goals like this occur
In this situation though #Watkins’ finish is actually a poor one as he smashes it down the centre, so #Alisson could’ve got away with his poor positioning but he compounded his first mistake by going with his hand rather than his foot!
His habit of rushing out & engaging during long range 1v1s consistently costs goals!
He needs to back pedal into his 6yrd box & force a proper finish
By rushing here he allows a central sidefoot (the easiest finish) in!
My 1v1 model shows that in this situation if a GK back pedals into their 6yrd box they will save this 1v1 91% of the time!
Whereas if they engage & spread as #Ederson did here they will only make the save 48% of the time!
His decision making made a simple save into a hard one!
Also in this situation it should be noted that #Dallas cannot dribble closer to goal due to the immense defensive pressure on him however even if he could dribble closer #Ederson should still wait & lure him in as engaging 1v1s gets more successful the closer the CF is to goal!
Here’s a nice example of neutral set positions making saves easier
I’ve already discussed #Henderson’s propensity to set quite low this season & here even though he’s taller than #Pickford he tips an almost identical shot into the roof of the net while #Pickford catches it
Another key detail from this clip is how #Pickford moves back to his line while #Henderson moves forwards.
This tiny difference in distance thus reaction time can impact on a GKs ability to make the save as it can be the difference between getting 2 hands to the ball & 1 hand.
In this clip #Pickford & #Henderson also make lots of saves with their feet when the service is lower & #Henderson actually struggles with these too as his lower set position means he needs to get his hands out of the way so it doesn’t even give him an advantage for low shots
For more information on the metrics I quote in the graphics above please see this thread, it explains how I calculate which cross claims prevent chances & which don’t & how I assign ExG values to each claim & why it’s important to look deeper than “total high balls claimed”!
Surely any ball with a trajectory such that it would be a goal without a GKs intervention must be a shot on target & a save or at least a save & a “cross on target” if for some reason you want to make two separate categories to distinguish the two.
It’s these fine margins which stop #DeGea replicating his form of 17/18.
Again with the #Neymar goal he does the right thing trying to use the block but he drops into it too far from #Neymar he needs to get closer to him & fill more of the goal area if he wants to make the save.
If #DeGea stands ~1yrd forwards he will be able to cover the wall side without diving backwards into his goal + it won’t hinder his ability to defend his side as while it will cut his reaction time slightly the distance to the far post is such that it won’t make a big difference.
If #DeGea moved too far forwards (ie 2 to 3 yards) then obviously it would make high saves to his side difficult & cut his reaction time by a substantial amount thus make any save more tricky but I’m not suggesting such a big change.
When shots are from close range there is simply not enough time for a GK to react therefore they have to get close to the striker & form a premeditated barrier & shrink the effective goal area & force the striker to “just hit the ball at them”
As the images below show
I analysed 800+ 1v1s in the #PremierLeague last year & using a logistic regression model found that the engage & react strategy that #Guiata regularly employs gives a GK a far lower chance of making the save vs the engage & block & the engage & spread premediated strategies.
Every action a GK performs can be separated into 3 categories:
Save-> here the GK attempts to block the ball going into the goal
Distribution-> here the GK attempts to play the ball to a teammate
Interception-> here the GK attempts to stop the ball from reaching an opponent
Evaluating GK intercepting from public data is difficult as most stats providers split intercepting actions between recoveries, tackles, interceptions, punches, & claims, & the differences between the categories are unclear & not relevant to interception difficulty/importance.
I’ve analysed every single 1v1 situation in the 19/20 #PremierLeague (600+ situations) & calculated using logistic regression the optimum strategy a GK could use to maximise their chance of making the save depending on the situation location & the build-up leading to the chance.
I found that GKs use the following 5 strategies to save 1v1s:
1. Wait deep & then react to the shot 2. Engage & then react to the shot 3. Engage & smother the ball 4. Engage & spread 5. Engage & block
Firstly let’s look at post shot expected goals conceded.
@StatsBomb’s PSExG model takes the position of the shot, the position of the defenders, the speed of the shot & the placement of the shot into account in order to calculate whether an Avg GK would save it.
Using this model #DeGea has played almost exactly to the level of an average #PremierLeague goalkeeper & has conceded -0.2 goals more than expected.