Manchester City fans have been left reeling after Pep Guardiola’s decision to bench Joe Hart in favour of until now no. 2 keeper Willy Caballero. Pep has stated that Joe is free to leave as it would take too long for him to develop as a sweeper keeper. Joe has stated he would favour a loan move while he considers his options so it is clear he is the first casualty in the Pep Era as he seeks to shake things up to fit his school of football.
The Euro disaster that was Joe Hart’s England campaign has really put Joe in a negative light, but was that just a dip in form for a keeper yet to reach his peak (he’s only 29) or a sign of things to come? On that score only time will tell, but while Pep searches for a suitable replacement, the gloves have been put on Willy. Is this the right call? Here’s a comparison of the two keepers. The data used is for Hart’s 2015/2016 season, for comparison’s sake I’ve used Caballero’s stats from his 2012/2013 season with Malaga as they both played 35 games. All stats are per 90 minutes.
Saves per Goal Conceded:
Caballero has a respectable 2.34 saves per goals conceded compared to Joe’s 1.91
Caballero also had better accuracy in his distribution of the ball. His average lenght was 41 metres compared to Hart’s 40.
Saves per 90:
Once again, Willy comes out on top. Joe only manages 1.94 saves per 90, while Willy managed 2.79. This one is a bit tricky. Squawka do not provide shots conceded stats so it would be interesting to see this figure in context of how busy each keeper was. It would also be interesting to compare this based on how much possession each team had over each season as if your team has more of the ball, you need to save less.
Catching and Punching:
Once again, Hart pales in comparison. He is far more prone to punching (1.13) than Caballero (0.38) with the style of play Pep wants to play this won’t really fit as all it does is remove danger rather than building an effective attack from the back.
This comes back to distribution, but once again Caballero comes out on top.
Here even Squawka ranks Caballero as the better of the two keepers with a whopping score of 21.16.
All in all, it is difficult to compare keepers from two different leagues without any additional data to contextualise it. Anyone with figures from La Liga, I’d love to see it! While Willy has mainly outperformed Joe in most areas, he was brought in as no. 2 for a reason. It looks like he can do the job for now, but Pep needs to bring in a big name at the back to show he means business.
*All data from Squawka.com