Once again the Premier League has been dominated by some of the finest attacking talents in world football. They’re the ones making the headlines week-in, week-out. But there’s more to a team than the men scoring all the goals…
And that’s why we’re taking some time out to award some top-flight shot-stoppers with our own awards.
Granted, some will be receiving recognition for things they’d rather forget. But that’s part and parcel, so without further ado, let’s kick things off!
Golden Glove – Thibaut Courtois
Yep, we had to give this one to the young Belgian, who’s helped ensure the Blues romped home with seven points to spare.
Despite missing two games this season, Courtois topped the Clean Sheet charts with 16 to his name, equalling the tally he picked up in Chelsea’s 2014-15 title-winning campaign.
That means he’s now kept teams at bay on 38 occasions in 91 matches. Not a bad return, that. Oh, and in the two games he missed, Chelsea conceded five of their 33 goals this season.
Busiest Body – Tom Heaton
You must know the game we’re talking about here…
Burnley travelled to Manchester United back in October without a point to their name on the road. The signs pointed towards a home win – but Heaton wasn’t going to let that happen.
Despite boasting 72% possession, recording a staggering 38 attempts on goal (11 of which were on target) and 19 corners – the Red Devils just couldn’t find the net. Why? That’s because of the man in between the sticks.
He won’t have had a busier game in his career, nor is he ever likely to face a tougher challenge. But he came through it with a clean sheet to his name and earned his side a hard-fought point against his former club.
Save of the Season – Tom Heaton
Of course, one of those saves that day was always going to get a mention. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had 12 shots throughout the 90 minutes, and he must have been confident of finding the net when the ball was chipped his way.
The Swedish legend had plenty of time to pick his spot, but what happened next was simply stunning.
Heaton leapt out, arms raised, legs wide, and blocked the striker’s effort. And boy, was it an effort. Another in the bank for the Burnley man.
Biggest Clanger – Hugo Lloris
Before we start, we just want to say that Lloris is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best goalkeepers in the division.
But my word, he had five minutes to forget against Manchester City at the Etihad back in January.
Spurs had weathered an early City storm and headed into the break level at 0-0. Four minutes into the second-half though, that all changed.
A ball bounced towards Lloris, who was being closed down by Leroy Sane. Conscious of how close he was to the edge of his box, the France international tried to head the ball away from danger. Instead it hit Sane’s shoulder, and the youngster dribbled the ball into an empty net.
It didn’t end there though… Five minutes later, Raheem Sterling played something of a nothing ball across the box which Lloris should’ve dealt with. Should’ve.
Somehow, the ball bounced out of his grasp and into the path of Kevin de Bruyne, who made it 2-0 to the hosts.
Granted, Spurs came back in the end to level the game – but we were left to wonder what might’ve been had they have taken all three points from this one, and their oh-so-reliable shot-stopper has to take the blame…
One to Watch – Jordan Pickford
Only one goalkeeper (Tom Heaton – 141) made more saves in the top-flight last year than Pickford (135). But it’s worth noting that the youngster played some eight games fewer than the Burnley man.
Pickford is also fifth on the list of high claims this season, with 46 to his name, while only Heurelho Gomes (35) registered more successful punches (22).
Sunderland may have had a dismal campaign, but Pickford was certainly a shining light, and rumour has it there’s a £30m price tag on the 23-year-old’s head.
We’d be baffled if he’s not in the Premier League next year.
And here are the last four awards of the season…
Biggest Flop – Claudio Bravo (do we need to say any more here?!)
Biggest Surprise – Lee Grant (Stoke City have found an excellent back-up for Jack Butland in the shape of 34-year-old Grant)
Most Improved – Lukas Fabianski (The Swansea man has come on leaps and bounds this season, and is now establishing himself as a top talent)
Best Sweeper Keeper – Tom Heaton (Yep, that’s three awards for Heaton, who recorded more touches and passes than any other keeper in the division).
Agree with our choices, or have we missed someone? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing