Race for the Premier League title: Petr Cech, Joe Hart, Hugo Lloris, Kasper Schmeichel analysed

Keepers
Image: Which of the Premier League's top four teams have the best-performing 'keeper?

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.

Who is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League at the moment? Here's what you've been telling us so far...

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…

'Keepers compared

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

Arsenal's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech (C) jumps to make a save during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa
Image: Arsenal's Petr Cech has kept the most clean sheets

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.

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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)
Hugo Lloris Tottenham 18 1
Joe Hart Man City 21 3
Petr Cech Arsenal 22 4
Kasper Schmeichel Leicester City 27 7

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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.

Clean sheets

Player Teams Clean sheets PL rank (min 20 games)
Petr Cech Arsenal 12 1
Joe Hart Man City 11 2
Hugo Lloris Tottenham 9 T3
Kasper Schmeichel Leicester City 8 7

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Shot-stopping

Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur makes a save
Image: Hugo Lloris has the second-best save percentage in the Premier League

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.

Save percentage

Player Team Save percentage PL rank (min 20 games)
Petr Cech Arsenal 79.05 1
Hugo Lloris Tottenham 75.68 2
Joe Hart Man City 71.62 7
Kasper Schmeichel Leicester City 70.97 8
Joe Hart  and Kasper Schmeichel
Image: Joe Hart and Kasper Schmeichel have been key performers for their teams

Errors

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.

Kasper Schmeichel has been ever-present for the Foxes so far this season
Image: Kasper Schmeichel has been ever-present for the Foxes so far this season

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.

Goalkeeper errors

Player Team Drops Errors leading to shots Errors leading to goals
Hugo Lloris Tottenham 2 3 2
Petr Cech Arsenal 2 2 1
Joe Hart Man City 1 1 1
Kasper Schmeichel Leicester City 1 0 0

Distribution

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.

Joe Hart Watford v Manchester City
Image: Joe Hart has a passing accuracy of 54.08 per cent

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.

Passing

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
Hugo Lloris Tottenham 676/428 63.31 270 25.42
Petr Cech Arsenal 637/369 57.93 410 37.14
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

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