Analysis of Joel Robles: Good Enough?

On a Saturday afternoon, there is absolutely nothing better than seeing a Joel Robles knee-slide from the edge of the box, celebrating as the Blues score at the other end. His passion in the Everton jersey is unquestionable, but his progress over the last season or two has gone a little unnoticed. Six clean sheets in 10 fixtures is no easy task – especially in the Premier League – but is Joel Robles good enough to be Everton number 1 permanently?

How I’ve analysed Robles’s performances?

Goalkeeper analysis is arguably the most basic you’re going to see by football bloggers, so I’m not going to go into to much detail. However, in any analysis, evidence is important so I’m going to write this article on three basic points:

  • Save Percentage
  • Claims Percentage/Crossing stats
  • How the defence performs with/without

Save Percentage and Shot-stopping ability

The amount of saves a goalkeeper makes should never judge how well a keeper performs, this is due to not knowing the number of shots that keeper has actually faced.

(Save Percentage = saves/shots against)

Joel Robles has faced a total of 111 shots so far this season, making 30 saves, seeing 42 shots go wide, 32 shots being blocked by defenders and conceding 7 goals. This makes his save percentage a total of 27%.

Everton’s now 2nd keeper – Marteen Stekelenburg has faced 167 shots in this campaign, making 29 saves, seeing 59 shots go wide, 59 shots being blocked by defenders and conceding 20 goals. This leaves his save percentage at a total of 17.4%. That’s 9.6% lower than Joel Robles, which is a big gap.

The Premier League average (excluding Robles) is 18.7% save percentage for the common goalkeeper. Joel is miles above the average, which is a huge statement. Although Stekelenburg has played more games than Joel, we concede much more shots with him than the Spaniard.

His save percentage is quite impressive, but his xGA rating is also worth taking note.

bplss
PL best shot-stoppers table (@footballfactman)

Prior to the game against Middlesbrough, Joel Robles’s had conceded less goals when he was expected to do so, according to @footballfactman’s shotstopping table.

In all honesty, there is no way he can keep this going, at least at the rate he is currently going at. Considering he is way above everyone in the league is a remarkable statistic. Not only is he making some incredible saves but rarely making any errors – which compared to a few years ago, was almost expected every week.

Claim Percentage/Crossing stats

Over the last few months, we’ve seen a massive crackdown on crosses coming into the area and conceding headed goals from the Everton defence.

This season, Everton have conceded 7 headers, which is one less compared to last season at the same stage. Everton have conceded 3 goals from set pieces with Joel Robles in goal this season, whilst conceding 6 goals when Stekelenburg is in between the sticks.

meta-chart-1
Breakdown of the amount of goals we’ve conceded from a Corner in the last two seasons.

Everton have conceded much less from corners this season, 5 goals out of 27 conceded have come from corners this season, whilst we conceded 7 goals from corners last season.

Although this may seem only a little change, personally I think that we look a whole different side when defending. Corners don’t all boil down to the goalkeeper to deal with, but their role is certainly important when directing defenders and sometimes dealing with the cross. We look a lot safer with Robles.

Joel Robles has also claimed 100% of all crosses this season, one of 12 other goalkeepers to have the same statistic in the Premier League.

How the Defence has performed with/without Robles

The most obvious statistic is that we’ve conceded much less when Joel has been placed in between the sticks this season. Despite this, Everton actually do concede more shots when he’s in goal (11.1 pg) than Stekelenburg (10.4 pg).

As I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t to do with the goalkeeper but I still find it bizarre that the defenders block a lot more under Stek rather than relying on Joel.

Not only that but the number of tackles made from outfield players also goes up when Stekelenburg (14.8 pg) is in goal over Joel (14.6 pg). Why is this the case? In my opinion, I think it’s not only determined on the confidence of the goalkeeper, but how much our pressing play has improved over the last couple of months under Koeman than compared to the start of the season.

meta-chart-2
Breakdown of Everton’s average Defensive Actions per match with either Joel or Stek in goal.

We are forcing other teams to make defensive errors, and that is certainly the case when you look at games such as Man City and Bournemouth.

Conclusion

I’m trying my best not to pull apart what Joel Robles has achieved this season, he’s been outstanding as the analysis shows. This is certainly the form of his life so far, 6 clean sheets in 10 games is very impressive at Premier League level for any goalkeeper. However, looking towards the future, he’s got to do something unthinkable for me if he wants to maintain his spot as Everton’s number 1. Every successful Everton team has had a world-class goalkeeper in the side, whether it has been Neville Southall or Gordon West. In my eyes, Joel Robles isn’t in that category regardless to how well he has performed. I would certainly consider spending big on a consistent goalkeeper in the summer.

 

Stats via Paul Riley, Squawka and WhoScored,

 

Up the Toffees.

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