The back-up plan - which Premier League team has the best No 2 keeper?

All of them exist with the strange pressure of not having to do any goalkeeping for most of the time, until it is suddenly sprung on them when their team is in its hour of need

Jack Pitt-Brooke@jackpittbrooke
Monday 09 October 2017 16:07
Claudio Bravo has failed to distinguish himself in the Premier League
Claudio Bravo has failed to distinguish himself in the Premier League

As anyone with a fantasy team knows, you can afford to cut corners with a cheap back-up goalkeeper, until you can't. These are the men who will sit on the bench nearly 38 times each every season, but then for the few times they are thrown into the mix to play in the Premier League, they are under serious pressure.

Can they perform at their best after sitting on their hands for six months? Or will they show why they are back-ups anyway, with no real claim to the top job.

Some of these men are youngsters still learning about the game, like Loris Karius. Some are at the other end of their careers, like Rob Green or Maarten Stekelenburg, passing on their lessons to the next generation. But all of them exist with the strange pressure of not having to do any goalkeeping for most of the time, until it is suddenly sprung on them when their team is in its hour of need. Not all of them handle that pressure as well as each other.

20. West Brom: Boaz Myhill

Has some Premier League experience with Hull City and West Brom but finds himself behind Ben Foster at the Hawthorns and is unlikely to replace him any time soon.

19. Leicester: Ben Hamer

Most of his experience has been with Brentford and Charlton Athletic, but Hamer did get to play a Champions League dead-rubber last season against Porto, which Leicester lost 5-0. Otherwise Hamer is playing second fiddle to the very reliable Kasper Schmeichel meaning it is a fairly lonely experience for the 29-year-old.

18. Newcastle United: Karl Darlow

Part of the deal that also took Jamaal Lascelles to Newcastle from Nottingham Forest, Darlow was a steady presence in Newcastle’s goal last season before losing his place to Rob Elliot towards the end of last season.

Darlow can do a job when required 

17, Swansea City: Kristoffer Nordfeldt

Now in his third year at Swansea, Nordfeldt is the back up to Lukasz Fabianski, but with the Polish goalkeeper so impressive he is unlikely to get a look-in any time soon. Rejected a loan move to Holland this summer though, so he is still waiting patiently for his chance.

16. Manchester City: Claudio Bravo

Signed from Barcelona when Pep Guardiola arrived, he struggled more than anyone could have imagined with the demands of English football. It was not even just the physical side, but Bravo barely made any saves and was so easily beaten on one-on-ones. Ederson, his replacement, already has two thirds as many clean sheets as Bravo got last year.

15. Liverpool: Loris Karius

Jurgen Klopp does not think that goalkeepers are very important, but Karius benefited when he dropped Simon Mignolet for Arsenal’s visit to Anfield. Even in a 4-0 win, Karius looked nervy, especially with the ball at his feet, and not much better than he did last year.

Karius has seen playing time in the Champions League but little elsewhere (Getty Images)

14. Bournemouth: Artur Boruc

Has plenty of top level experience from Southampton, Celtic and Fiorentina but found himself making more errors than he should have done when he got to Bournemouth. They decided to upgrade on him this summer when Asmir Begovic became available.

13. Watford: Orestis Karnezis

Eyebrows were raised when Watford allowed the unique Costel Pantilimon to go on loan to Deportivo La Coruna but as ever the Pozzo family had a replacement. Karnezis is a vetern Greek goalkeeper, formerly of Panathinaikos and Udinese, who could take over if Heurelho Gomes decides to hang up his gloves.

12. Brighton: Tim Krul

Has five years of solid Premier League experience at Newcastle United but now finds himself second choice for former manager Chris Hughton at Brighton. Still only 29 years old, having become first choice at Newcastle very young, and would certainly be capable if called upon.

Krul is a safe pair of hands when needed 

11. West Ham: Adrian

Adrian has been a very good signing since arriving from Real Betis for free in 2013, and produced some impressive performances during the Sam Allardyce era, as well as being a popular figure at the club. But he lost his place to Darren Randolph at times last year and there were few quibbles when West Ham signed Joe Hart this summer.

10. Stoke City: Lee Grant

Waited for years for his top flight chance before moving from Derby County to Stoke City last year. He filled in when Jack Butland was injured last season and did well, earning a permanent move for £1.3million and even, at the end of the year, Stoke City’s player of the year award. Now unlucky to be Butland’s number two again.

Grant was excellent last term 

9. Burnley: Nick Pope

Tom Heaton has been very good for Burnley but Sean Dyche’s team is more about the unit than about individuals, and Pope has come in and quickly filled Heaton’s spot. He was good against Liverpool at Anfield and has two clean sheets in his last two league games as Burnley continue to frustrate opponents.

8. Huddersfield: Rob Green

One of the most experienced goalkeepers on this list, with years of Premier League experience for West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers, as well as famously representing England at a World Cup. Did well at Leeds United last season and was unlucky to lose his place but can now bring his top flight experience to a Huddersfield dressing room that lacks it.

7. Arsenal: David Ospina

Arrived at Arsenal from Nice with a good reputation but has rarely impressed when called upon, with notable errors in European games against Olympiakos, Monaco and FC Koln. Has not put any pressure on Petr Cech at all.

Ospina is firmly behind Cech in the Arsenal pecking order 

6. Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni

Unfortunate to have played as rarely as he has over the last three seasons, veteran Argentine Speroni was first-choice for eight years but has now lost his place to Wayne Hennessey. He is never going to be as tall as Hennessey but he makes fewer mistakes and should be in consideration.

5. Everton: Maarten Stekelenburg

Unfortunate to have lost his place to the remarkable rise of Jordan Pickford, veteran Stekelenburg has established himself as dependable over a long career at Ajax and Roma before arriving at Everton, his third English club.

4. Southampton: Alex McCarthy

Established himself at Reading before moving onto Queens Park Rangers and then Southampton, he has twice pushed his way into England squads because of his solid all-round game. Must surely be rivalling Fraser Forster to be Saints’ first choice given his own struggles.

3. Tottenham: Michel Vorm

Playing in goal for Tottenham is hard but Vorm has shown he is fast enough off his line and god enough with his feet to do it. Proved in his time at Swansea City that he is good enough to be a number one too.

Vorm has extensive Premier League experience 

2. Chelsea: Willy Caballero

Chelsea often have experienced, quality back-up keepers and Willy Cabellero is as good as it gets. After a difficult start at Manchester City he settled in well and was far better than Claudio Bravo last season. If anything happens to Thibaut Courtois Chelsea can certainly depend on their new man.

1. Manchester United: Sergio Romero

There is no doubt that Romero can handle pressure, having played for Argentina in World Cup and Copa America finals. So when David De Gea cannot play he can always step up, as he showed in the Europa League final in May this year, keeping a clean sheet.

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