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The top five saves of the 2021-22 Premier League season
Football fans love when a goal is scored because of the emotions that it brings to everyone in the stadium. Now, let’s take a look at the best saves that happened during the 2021-22 Premier League season.
Making a reactionary save is one of the toughest tasks in football. While most goalkeepers in the Prem are elite, the offensive stars outnumber them and always have the advantage because they have the momentum to score the goals.
It’s impressive to see goalkeepers thrive in the Premier League because it is one of the toughest jobs in football. The Prem is considered by many as the world’s number one domestic football league which has attracted the best players. Now, let’s take a look at the top five saves in the 2021-22 Premier League season.
David De Gea vs Wolves (August 29, 2021)
Making a single save after a point-blank header is impressive enough but making a double save immediately after the first shot is almost impossible. Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea pulled off the impossible by stopping two shots in rapid succession while he’s not standing upright.
While De Gea has always been considered one of the best shot-stoppers in the world, this was one of his best-ever saves. He has always been a top-tier reflex goalkeeper but that was mostly when he had to stretch his arms to stop powerful shots headed into the goal’s corners. This save was not only on short notice but it was under immense pressure from Romain Saiss’ fantastic off-ball movement into the box.
De Gea himself admits that it was pure reflexes but he did say that he trains for those moments. The Spaniard said, ‘To be honest it was super quick, I don’t have much time to think. I made the first save and I saw the guy coming again so I just put my whole body there and I made the double save so it was a big moment in the game, because after that we scored our goal. So that’s why I’m here, to help the team all the time’.
Édouard Mendy vs Brentford (October 16, 2021)
This was one of the most highlight-worthy saves during the season. In a match between Chelsea and Brentford, the Blues were the favoured team. This was mostly due to the elite defence that Chelsea possessed and their talent in the frontline that can counter-attack easily. While Chelsea was the favourite heading into the match, they were in trouble of falling to a plucky Brentford side that was just promoted from the Championship.
Mendy was instrumental in Chelsea’s win because he strung together a multitude of saves during the match. However, the biggest one has to be his save in the dying seconds of the match when he managed to deny Christian Norgaard from scoring on a highlight-worthy bicycle kick.
The Senegalese keeper managed to raise his right hand to keep the ball from going into the goal. Mendy used enough power from his hand to ensure that the ball would go over the crossbar. That save was enough to keep Chelsea from conceding which led to a 1-0 victory over the upstart club.
Brentford manager Thomas Frank believed that Mendy was the key to the Blues’ victory. He said, ‘He was the main reason we didn't win. He was absolutely world-class and he's been crazy good for Chelsea, so I just said to him it was a little bit annoying that he was so good, and I just praised him. If you look at Chelsea, they should praise themselves because in terms of how many chances we’ve created it's very good they have a good keeper or they wouldn't have been number one in the league’.
This is a good example for aspiring GKs to follow because he had a good foundation with his footwork and his arms were in place to stop the shot.
Aaron Ramsdale vs Leicester City (October 30, 2021)
While he was with Sheffield United in previous seasons, Aaron Ramsdale proved that he deserves to be in a top Prem team. He got his opportunity when Arsenal signed him to become their new first-choice goalkeeper. Bernd Leno was always the number one guy since he joined the team but with Ramsdale coming in, he was the better fit for manager Mikel Arteta’s youth movement.
The shot curled into the top-right corner but Ramsdale managed to rely on his reflexes to stop the ball. It was one of the best saves of the season and it cemented Ramsdale’s spot in the first XI. Mikel saw his potential and gave Ramsdale the platform to thrive in the Prem as the first choice GK for the rest of the campaign.
After the match, Ramsdale was asked about his performance against the Foxes, with a focus on the save, in particular. He said, ‘It’s just all about reactions. I was more worried that he was going to reverse it into my corner but as it was a close free-kick, he (Maddison) sort of had to get it up and over the wall and that gave me a chance. He couldn’t really whip it like he normally does’.
Ramsdale proved against Leicester City that he deserved the number one shirt because he stopped a James Maddison free-kick. While most GKs can stop a free-kick, it is one of the toughest challenges to stop Maddison from scoring since he is one of the best set-piece takers not only in England but the world too.
Nick Pope vs Aston Villa (May 19, 2022)
While Nick Pope and Burnley’s season ended in relegation, this save was one of the best in this Prem campaign. Pope has always been seen as one of the best shot-stoppers in England and this save proved his worth as both a GK for Burnley and England.
Bertrand Traoré had a clear header into the goal but Pope used his quick reflexes to get his right arm in front of the ball. It was one of the best saves of the season because he was under the immense pressure of relegation with a loss. While they ultimately got relegated, Pope had a save that will be remembered as one of the best highlights in his career.
After the match, Pope talked about how pleased he was that he had a part in Burnley’s win. He said, ‘It was a big effort, and it’s why you want to be a professional footballer, you want to play in the big games and there’s no bigger than Sunday to stay in the Premier League’. They didn’t stay in the Prem for far longer after the save but it was a reminder that Pope is a top-tier GK who will most likely earn a nod for England even if he is playing in the Championship.
Jordan Pickford vs Chelsea (May 1, 2022)
England’s first-choice goalkeeper proved his worth against Chelsea in early May 2022. Jordan Pickford managed to pull off an amazing save when he stopped Cesar Azpilicueta’s clear shot at goal. Pickford initially reacted to Mason Mount’s shot but when it hit the post, Azpilicueta had a clear path to the goal but Pickford managed to pull off an amazing reflex save to keep Everton in the match.
It has been widely recognised as one of the best saves of the past few years and it was easy save of the year contender. At the time, this was encouraging to see for both Everton fans and English fans for the World Cup since he will be a crucial member of the team as the likely first-choice GK again.
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Words: Cholo Martin
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