Our review of the just-ended Everton season continues with a review of our goalkeepers.
With all the chaos around the club this year, the goalkeeper was thankfully a spot of calm. Jordan Pickford continued his quality run of form, while Asmir Begovic proved capable as his deputy when called upon in the Premier League. Their performances could be considered even more impressive keeping in mind the inconsistent and often leaky defense that they were backing up. Injuries, managerial changes, errors and poor form prevented continuity in the backline and the midfield, both of which are a requirement to a successful team defense.
Appearances - 37, Goals Allowed/90 - 1.7, Saves - 117, Clean Sheets - 7
Pickford is one of the most controversial of players who garners mixed reviews from England fans, however, this is not the case when it comes to his work for Everton. For the second year in a row, Pickford was once again recognised by supporters as Everton’s Player of the Season garnering 42.3 per cent of the overall vote to scoop his third award.
The goalkeeper, who was shortlisted for the Premier League’s Save of the Season and Game Changer awards for his stand-out performance in the Merseyside derby at Goodison in September. Pickford’s Save of the Season contender comes from his acrobatic effort against Liverpool in September. Latching onto a long ball over the top of the Everton defence, Darwin Nunez chested the ball down, before unleashing a volley from the right side of the penalty area. The ball nearly found the far corner, but Pickford produced a world-class stop to tip the ball on to the crossbar.
Pickford has made 237 appearances in all competitions for the Blues since arriving from Sunderland in 2017 and has been the captain of the team this year. Statistically, in the Premier League, Pickford ranked 3rd in saves with 124, third in punches with 18, and his distribution of the ball continues to be his most consistent area of strength.
After signing a new four and a half year contract in January, Pickford confirmed his commitment to the club:
“It’s massive to sign this new contract at such a special club for me. The support I’ve had from everyone at the Club since I joined as a 22-year-old has been so important to my family and me. I’m happy here and so are my family. We love it at Everton.
This contract will take me to more than 10 years at Everton and I want to build a legacy here to put myself up there with the likes of Neville Southall to be one of the best keepers to have played for Everton.”
Let’s hope that the spectre of relegation is now in the past and he has the opportunity to continue to shine in the Everton net. In the last few days, the chances of him staying have increased as it looks like Andre Onana is heading to Manchester United and Spurs have signed Vicario along with the potential of signing Raya.
Appearances - 1, Goals Allowed/90 - 0, Saves - 117, Clean Sheets - 7
Asmir Begovic has spent the past two years at Goodison Park. Arriving on a free transfer from AFC Bournemouth in the summer of 2021, Begovic made a total of 10 appearances with only one of them being in a Premier League match against West Ham earlier in the season. He kept a clean sheet which is the best outcome for any keeper and with Begovic’s experience he has made a career of coming in and getting the job done. Unfortunately, he was also between the posts for the 4-1 loss to Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup, a competition in which he made two appearances.
Having been connected to twelve clubs in 18 seasons he should be the dictionary definition of ‘journeyman goalkeeper.’ He only made more than 20 appearances for 2 of those clubs. As for the future, Begovic has recently been speaking to TalkSport:
“The next two weeks will become a little bit clearer. There have definitely been some conversations with certain people, certain clubs and I think in the next few weeks they’re going to heat up as June goes on into July and pre-season - we’ll see what happens.”
Premier League new boys Luton Town have been mooted as one possible destination for the former Bournemouth and Chelsea shot stopper. His salary over the past two years has been £45,000 which ended up costing the club £5M. In our current situation it makes sense to find a cheaper option to back up Pickford. The question is whether Pickford will be the steady hands that he is there to replace or will Pickford be on his way as well.