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Goalkeeper Analysis: Mignolet No.1, But Still Room For Improvement

Simon Mignolet made himself the club's number one this season, but still has room for improvement in his game.
Simon Mignolet made himself the club's number one this season, but still has room for improvement in his game.

With the season over, we're taking a look back at each position at the club and using stats mixed with a little bit of opinion to see who performed the best in each position this season.

We're building from the back, and this week we're starting with the keepers. We've got Simon Mignolet, Craig Gordon and Kieren Westwood under the microscope to see how the did, and how the club looks moving forward at the position.

Join us, for some in depth analysis...

Simon Mignolet might wear number twenty-two, but firmly established himself as our number one keeper this season, playing more games than anyone else. In fairness, Craig Gordon didn't stand much of a chance what with being injured for the most part, but even after playing a fair few games, Kieren Westwood couldn't hold on to the shirt.

We'll start by looking at the number of goals conceded. Mignolet having played the most obviously conceded the most with 33 in 29 Premier League games last season, where as Westwood conceded 11 in 9 games. Gordon almost irrelevant with 2 goals in his 1 outing.

What's interesting though is that Mignolet also went the longest time between goals conceded on average, going 78 minutes between goals conceded. Westwood game in at 68 minutes, and Gordon 45 minutes. That 78 minute marker is equal to recent Champions League winner Petr Cech, and bettered only by David De Gea, Joe Hart, Pepe Reina, Brad Friedel and Tim Howard among the Premier League's regular starting keepers.

Mignolet also fared well when it comes to keeping clean sheets, with a respectable 11. Westwood managed 1, while Gordon as you know, none. As far as that goes withing the rest of the league, Mignolet's around the middle of the pack for regular starting keepers. Impressively more than Petr Cech and Mark Schwarzer, but less than Michel Vorm and Tim Krul.

Mignolet topped the charts among our keepers with his shots to saves ratio too, saving 74% of shots fired at him, while Westwood and Gordon both came in at 66%. This 74% figure may not be that impressive, as it shows that one in four shots go in, but it stacks up well to the rest of the league, putting the Belgian behind only Joe Hart and David De Gea.

This isn't to say Mignolet is perfect by any stretch, and there's still plenty of things for him to improve upon. One of the main ones being dealing with long shots, where he conceded 9 goals from outside the area. This was the third highest in the league among non-relegated keepers, with the other two being John Ruddy and Ali Al-Habsi. Westwood conceded one from outside the area, and Gordon none.

Another criticism leveled at Mignolet, and it seems rightly so, is his distribution. He ranked better than Westwood, but only just; Mignolet managing to complete on 38.2% of his passes, and Westwood 36%. In comparison, the likes of De Gea and Hart were closer to 60% pass success rate.

When it comes to the long ball too, the most common type of pass for a keeper, Mignolet is also propping up the table among our keepers. Gordon managed to hit 11 accurate deep passes in his one game, while on average, Westwood hit 6.4 per game (58 out of 183 attempted). Mignolet trails behind with 5.9 accurate passes per gam (170 out of 499 attempted).

And so for the position overall, and does it need improving this summer? Not really, no. Mignolet is sure to be the number one for next season - something O'Neill is going to have to get used to. I say that as looking over previous MON squads, he's always had a veteran presence among his keepers, usually the starter. With Mignolet only 23, and Westwood 27, I can envisage us bringing in someone more experienced than 17-year old Jordan Pickford to be the number three.

As for who that is, I don't know. O'Neill kept Stuart Taylor around for a while at Aston Villa, and he's likely to be released by Manchester City this summer, so that could be an option. Joe Lewis of Peterborough would be a great option, but at 24 is likely to want more chance of first team football. Other than that, it's almost certain to be an elder statesman for a nominal fee.

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