Race for the Premier League title: Petr Cech, Joe Hart, Hugo Lloris, Kasper Schmeichel analysed
By Peter Smith
Last Updated: 08/02/16 6:15pm
The Premier League's top four go head-to-head on Sky Sports on Sunday, with leaders Leicester travelling to Arsenal and Manchester City hosting Tottenham.
Just six points separate the teams in the table and this weekend offers the perfect opportunity for them to make a statement of intent in the title race.
To build up to the big showdowns, all this week Sky Sports will be analysing the teams.
Here, we start with their goalkeepers. In Kasper Schmeichel, Hugo Lloris, Petr Cech and Joe Hart, Leicester, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City have some of the finest shot-stoppers in the division.
But what do the stats say about their performances so far in 2015/16? We take a look…
|Player||Team||Int caps||Transfer fee|
|Petr Cech||Arsenal||118 (Czech Rep.)||£10m|
|Hugo Lloris||Tottenham||74 (France)||£11.8m|
|Joe Hart||Man City||57 (England)||£1.5m|
|Kasper Schmeichel||Leicester City||18 (Denmark)||£1.26m|
Clean sheets & goals conceded
Tottenham currently have the top defence in the Premier League. Mauricio Pochettino's side have conceded just 19 times this season - although Lloris has only been on the field for 18 of those goals.
That puts him ahead of Hart (who has conceded 21 of Man City's 26), Cech (who has conceded all 22 of Arsenal's goals) and Schmeichel (who has conceded all 27 of Leicester's goals).
Fewest goals conceded
|Player||Team||Goals conceded||PL rank (min 20 games)|
|Joe Hart||Man City||21||3|
|Kasper Schmeichel||Leicester City||27||7|
However, it is Cech who tops the Premier League clean sheet standings with 12, ahead of City's Hart, who has 11.
Schmeichel's number is on the rise, though. Leicester have kept five clean sheets in their last seven Premier League matches, more than they had managed in their previous 18.
|Player||Teams||Clean sheets||PL rank (min 20 games)|
|Joe Hart||Man City||11||2|
|Kasper Schmeichel||Leicester City||8||7|
When it comes to shot-stopping, Arsenal's Cech has been by far the busiest of the top-four teams' goalkeepers. In fact, only Stoke's Jack Butland has had to make more saves in the Premier League.
Cech has made 85 saves so far this season - 19 more than Leicester's Schmeichel. The Arsenal 'keeper has also had to pull off the most stops from shots inside the box.
Despite his high workload, Cech has still managed to maintain the best save percentage of regular goalkeepers in the Premier League. The Czech Republic international has kept out 79.05 per cent of the shots on his goal.
|Player||Team||Save percentage||PL rank (min 20 games)|
|Joe Hart||Man City||71.62||7|
|Kasper Schmeichel||Leicester City||70.97||8|
Of all Premier League goalkeepers to have played at least 20 times this season, none has made as few errors as Leicester's Schmeichel. According to Opta, the 29-year-old's only goalkeeping fault this season came in Saturday's 3-1 win at Man City, when he dropped the ball.
Leicester went unpunished on that occasion - but Lloris, Hart and Cech have not been so fortunate.
Tottenham's Lloris has two drops to his name this season and, more significantly, two errors leading to goals.
Opta deemed he should have done better to keep out Kieran Gibbs' 77th-minute equaliser in November's north London derby and he only managed to flick Chancel Mbemba's header to Aleksandar Mitrovic in the December defeat to Newcastle.
Hart, meanwhile, handed Norwich an 83rd-minute lifeline in October when he dropped Robbie Brady's cross at the feet of Cameron Jerome to equalise - although a late Yaya Toure penalty secured all three points for Man City.
And Cech began the season in the worst possible way, misjudging Dimitri Payet's free-kick to allow Cheikhou Kouyate to head into an empty net and put West Ham on course for a 2-0 win at the Emirates.
|Player||Team||Drops||Errors leading to shots||Errors leading to goals|
|Joe Hart||Man City||1||1||1|
|Kasper Schmeichel||Leicester City||1||0||0|
Modern goalkeeping isn't just about defensive work, though. Increasingly, goalkeepers' footballing skills are coming under the microscope. So how do the top-four's shot-stoppers deal with the ball at their feet?
Leicester's Schmeichel has made the most passes of regular Premier League goalkeepers (734) but actually has the lowest passing accuracy among the goalkeepers for the top-four sides (31.61 per cent).
However, an explainer for that is a remarkable 86 per cent of Schmeichel's passes - 634 - have ended up in the opposition's half. That's a Premier League high.
His completion rate for these long passes is just 23.43 per cent, though. That's way down on Cech's accuracy with long passes. The Arsenal 'keeper completes 37.14 per cent of his balls into the opposition's final third - although he does generally have target man Olivier Giroud to aim for.
Tottenham's Lloris has the best passing accuracy among the Premier League's regular goalkeepers, completing 63.31 per cent of his passes.
Interestingly, the contrast between the tactics used by Leicester and Spurs can be seen in their goalkeeper's passing stats - Lloris has made the second-fewest number of passes into the opposition's final third, of regular Premier League 'keepers.
|Player||Team||Passes/successful||passing accuracy||passes into opp.half||passing acc into final third|
|Kasper Schmeichel||Leicester City||734/232||31.61||634||23.43|
|Joe Hart||Man City||466/252||54.08||284||27.16|
Watch Arsenal v Leicester City from 11.30am and Man City v Tottenham from 4pm live on Sky Sports 1 HD on Sunday