Being a goalkeeper is tough. As we have passed the halfway point of the Indian Super League 2021-22 season, let us have a look at the top-performing shot-stoppers in the country. This season hasn't been the best for keepers as we have seen two of India's best keepers Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Amrinder Singh stumble.
There seems to be no clear winner in terms of the best goalkeeper this season and here we will take the help of statistics to narrow down to a list of three keepers, who have been above the rest this season.
Firstly, let us see what statistics will help us differentiate among keepers. We can look at the number of clean sheets, but a clean sheet is not the correct indicator. Why? Clean Sheets are contributed by the whole defense of a team.
So just looking at the number of clean sheets, we can't say whether the keeper was actually good in a certain match. Next is the difference between Expected Goals Conceded and the Actual Goals Conceded. Ideally, the higher the number, the better is the keeper's shot-stopping ability.
Saves from inside the box can be a good indicator of a keeper's reflexes. Similarly, the number of saves per 90 minutes can differentiate between a good keeper and an average one.
We will also be taking into account the number of Successful outings done by a keeper, which will show how dominant a keeper is in his box. Finally, to quantify errors, we have considered the Errors leading to a goal statistic.
The top two keepers pick themselves, but 3rd place was a toss-up between Jamshedpur FC's TP Rehenesh and Hyderabad FC's Laxmikant Kattimani. We have gone with the latter.
#3 Laxmikant Kattimani
Hyderabad FC has been solid this season with a combination of young Indian players putting in a shift and experienced foreigners doing their job. In goal, Laxmikant Kattimani has done well, making Hyderabad FC a very difficult team to face. He has saved a total of 24 shots this season, making 2.18 saves per 90 minutes.
He has conceded 11 goals, which is the number of goals he was expected to concede, with his expected goals conceded count being 11.1. He has saved 1.45 shots per 90 minutes from inside the box, conceding just 0.82 goals from inside the game. Overall, it has been an improvement from the Nizam's goalkeeper so far, on his performances last season.
#2 Michu Mirshad
North East United FC has had problems of their own this season but in Mirshad, they have a goalkeeper who has had the most number of saves this season, racking up 31 saves and averaging 4.4 saves per game.
Over the period he has been between the sticks, the Highlanders were expected to concede 16.7 goals, which is the highest in the league this season. Michu's shot-stopping abilities have restricted the opponents to score only 13 goals so far. Although he has made a few mistakes, his reflexes have been on point as he saved 21 shots from inside the box. The goalkeeper is entering his prime and has the potential to become Norh East's number 1 for years to come.
#1 Prabhsukhan Gill
Kerala Blasters have been having a dream season so far and Albino Gomes's injury provided the perfect opportunity for the young Prabhsukhan Gill to step up and he has done it impeccably. He has conceded 5 goals so far, making 23 saves with 2.9 saves per match.
Of the 7.5 goals Kerala Blasters were expected to concede with him in goal, they conceded just 5. With 4 clean sheets and 17 shots saved from inside the box, Gill has probably been India's best goalkeeper this season. His statistics are a testament to Kerala Blaster's solid defence and his superb performances.
Overall, it has been a tough season for goalkeepers and we can only hope that the top keepers of our country have performed better in the 2nd half of the season, with the Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers coming up this year.