We continue our review of the past Everton season with the goalkeepers.
With all the chaos around Everton, goalkeeper was thankfully a spot of calm. Jordan Pickford continued his quality run of form from the latter part of the 20-21 season, while Asmir Begovic proved capable as his deputy.
Their performances could be considered even more impressive keeping in mind the shambolic defence. Injuries, transfers, errors and poor form prevented continuity in the backline and the midfield, a requirement to a successful team defence. Though Frank Lampard has a number of challenges this summer, finding quality centrehalves will help not only the defence but the goalkeeping as well.
Jordan Pickford - Grade: A-
Starts - 37, Goals Allowed/90 - 1.7, Saves - 117, Clean Sheets - 7
It is hard to understate the effect Pickford seemed to have on Everton this year. Critical saves during the relegation battle helped secure numerous points. It seems that the young (he’s only 28), England #1 has been able to put together a full season without many mental lapses. It was no surprise to see him named Everton’s Player of the Season.
As usual, Pickford’s distribution was excellent. That facet really came into play when Frank Lampard took over and implemented a more direct style of play. Pickford was able to alleviate pressure and start attacks with that distribution, and once Calvert-Lewin was back to full form we saw a glimpse of how useful that distribution is.
In goal Pickford will certainly be remembered for his amazing saves, but across the entire season some of the advanced stats showed Pickford’s overall performance was as expected. Based on the xG of all the shots Pickford faced, he saved an extra .1 goal than what you would expect, indicating either a little bit of luck or a little improvement in performance. For comparison in the 2018-2019 season he saved an extra 3.4 goals, 2019-2020 allowed an extra 4.3 goals, and in 2020-2021 rounded it out with an extra .7 goals saved. What we are seeing is the maturation of a young goalkeeper who has seen success, let it go to his head, and then learned how to keep his focus and perform well.
On the contract front Pickford has two years remaining on his deal. Given his performance and the difficulty in finding top goalkeepers it wouldn’t be surprising to see an extension announced in the next year. With all of the issues in this squad trying to find marginal improvement at this position isn’t worth it for Everton.
Asmir Begovic - Grade: B
Starts - 7, Goals Allowed/90 - 1.77, Saves - 21, Clean Sheets - 2
Fine is probably the best way describe Begovic. He only made 3 Premier League starts this year and didn’t screw things up too badly. He’s exactly what a squad needs in a backup goalie. A dependable person off the bench who can play when called upon and won’t be a liability in Cup matches.
Begovic is 34 and assuming he wants to he could easily be the backup at Everton for the next few years. The club extended his contract last week through the upcoming season, but if he really wants to be a starter he will need to move to the Championship or see if another lower top flight club needs a new starter.