Things are very different for goalkeepers. If an outfield player turned up to a match on a sunny afternoon resplendent in a long-sleeved shirt of a totally different colour to their teammates then that would be totally ridiculous. This would be compounded if said player was also wearing gloves and decided to catch the ball in the middle of the match and drop-kick it some fifty yards.
These derisory actions are, of course, central to the art of goalkeeping. It was only fitting, then, that when the football writer Jonathan Wilson was looking for a title for his 2012 ‘History of the Goalkeeper’ he plumped for The Outsider – cue the title of this blog!
Football matches generate mountains of data, and numerous analysts can be found attempting to unlock some of the hidden patterns, trends and secrets of success that underpin the beautiful game. (A list of such analysts and their respective fields of research has been compiled by Dan Altman into this Google doc.)
Those who specifically analyse goalkeepers, however, are few and far between. Paul Riley is one of the few to focus on goalkeepers, and he has done a lot of research on shot-stopping, with the likes of Colin Trainor and Dan Kennett at StatsBomb having also investigated this aspect of goalkeeping. It seems to me that there is still a wealth of data to be explored in areas of performance such as cross claiming, and in the desirability (or not) of factors such as height when scouting for goalkeepers.
I will look to delve into some of these topics on this blog, and hope that I may be able to shed some light on areas of football into which apparently little research has been so far conducted.
I hope you enjoy my blog!
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