Ederson's 1v1s, Ramsdale's Spread, And Flaring Tempers: Analysing The Derby Weekend

By Sam Hudspith

News • Jan 17, 2023

Ederson's 1v1s, Ramsdale's Spread, And Flaring Tempers: Analysing The Derby Weekend
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What can we learn from the key goalkeeper moments across a weekend of controversial derby games? 

They may not have been confined to a classic Super Sunday showing, but a weekend comprising both the Manchester and North London derbies always promises to deliver. Across Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th, the red and blue halves of Manchester clashed at Old Trafford, whilst it was red and white that went head to head at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

David De Gea vs Ederson. Aaron Ramsdale vs Hugo Lloris. Over 1000 Premier League appearances between the four goalkeepers on either pitch across the weekend. No novices. 

But the two matches that saw Erik ten Hag's side strengthen their hold on a Champions League spot and Mikel Arteta's widen their lead at the top of the table to eight points weren't plain sailing run outs - especially not for the men between the sticks. Then again, life in goal rarely is. 

Saturday served up another VAR controversy. Marcus Rashford's apparent interference with play before Bruno Fernandes stroked the ball past Ederson to bring Manchester United level awakened new criticism of the usage of the video assistant referee, but for Dr John Harrison, it was Ederson's action that caught the eye. 

Ederson's fairly high starting position and the direction of Fernandes' run meant that a shot which is scored around a third of the time nearly doubled in xG probability. Given the covering defenders and the position of the shot, Ederson's decision to engage early and attempt to cut the angle actually increases the likelihood of the striker scoring.  

True, Rashford's goal arguably shouldn't have counted. Nonetheless, Dr Harrison highlighted a trend in Ederson's game. To the non-goalkeeping eye, Ederson's part in the goal may have seemed inconspicuous, but the effect that he had on City's loss was quantitatively significant. 

United's first goal wasn't the only Ederson-related talking point during the derby, however. In the first half, he rushed off his line in an attempt to meet a ball being chased by Marcus Rashford. The pitfalls and merits of his decision to commit to coming off his line are again debatable. It was most likely the wrong decision to attempt to sweep (although, in a goalkeeper hardwired as Ederson is, it's not surprising that he aimed to defend on the front foot), but given that he'd decided to attempt to sweep, he had to commit to it fully. 

If Ederson had changed his mind and begun to retreat as Rashford latched onto the ball, he'd have forced himself off balance and also allowed Rashford a more direct angle of run into the box. By committing to his decision, Rashford arguably positively effects play, in relative terms, despite his initial error. Nonetheless, had Rashford been on his right foot, you'd image Ederson would have been left red faced. 

Ederson's decision to rush off line did increase the xG of Rashford's chance, but only by around 10% - 27% to 38%. 

Dr Harrison also pointed out a weak distribution performance from Ederson's opposing number David De Gea. The Spaniard was involved in 41 distribution events with an expected xG outcome of +0.02, but his action led to an actual xG outcome of -0.11 - an overall net negative of -0.13. Nine of the 41 events ended up with a concession of possession in United's own half, owing to the negative xG. 

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Sunday's tie in North London brought another contentious moment on the pitch, and some unsavoury scenes after the final whistle. Arsenal's 2-0 victory left a sour taste in the mouth for Hugo Lloris and the home contingent, and the Frenchman's role in the opening goal was detrimental. 

We can pick out a few intricacies that work against Lloris. It's difficult to say that Buyako Saka's half-shot, half-cross deserved to end up in the back of the net, but what can we learn from Lloris' actions? 

The ball takes a slight deflection off Ryan Sessegnon, and in some ways, Lloris merely gets unlucky. The Frenchman's body rotates and he falls backwards as the ball hits him, but this appears to be more out of surprise than any technical fault. After all, his positioning in relation to the goal and set position were correct by all understanding of the ‘textbook’ - defending the first third of the goal, low in his set, and square to Saka's line of attack. 

Interestingly, Lloris made a sublime save in the World Cup final from a very similar position, utilising a similar technique. It appears that the power on Saka's delivery, and Lloris seemingly pre-emptive behaviour led to what ended up being a surprise shot, ending in a goal that came immediately from the uncontrolled backwards rotational movement of Spurs' number one. 

It should be mentioned that Lloris had, before the goal, saved well on a 1v1 against Eddie Nketiah, denying Arsenal an early lead. However, his role in the goal led to a Goalkeeper-xG value of -0.92, according to Dr Harrison's metrics. 

At the other end, Aaron Ramsdale was in imperious form. The Englishman strung together several saves well deserving of a clean sheet; the pick of the bunch a fine 1v1 stop from Ryan Sessegnon to guarantee the Gunners no detractive impact on their goal difference. 

Harry Kane and Heung Min-Son were left goalless after two smart saves in the first half, whilst a powerful drive across goal from Spurs' number ten went unrewarded in the second as Ramsdale threw himself to his right and parried wide. Yet it was his late save from Sessegnon that caught the eye for Dr Harrison.


Ramsdale's execution of the spread save was impressive. His small adjustments in movement, decision to hold his position, bodyweight forward, chest square, leg-kick speed to deflect the ball, and minimal rotation quite literally constituted the near-perfect 1v1 save. 

His statistical reward was a +0.39 value on the Goalkeeper-xG chart, and Arsenal's a gleaming clean sheet behind the lines of their North London Rival's base. Yet, the afternoon was smeared by unsavoury scenes after the final whistle. Tottenham's Richarlison took issue with Ramsdale's badge-kissing in front of the frustrated home crowd, confronting the Arsenal goalkeeper as he went to retrieve bottle and towel from behind his goal. As he turned to head towards the tunnel, Ramsdale was kicked by a fan who'd mounted the advertising hoardings. 

The goalkeeper told Sky Sports that 'it's a shame as it's just a game of football at the end of the day. Both sets of players tried to bring me away but thankfully nothing too drastic happened. It's a sour taste but I'm sure we will enjoy it when we go back into the dressing room."

Tottenham have confirmed that the supporter, when identified, will face an ‘immediate ban’. 

Aside from the ill-feeling present at the end of the North London derby, this weekend's clash of the titans left goalkeepers with several points to muse over. And, when the margins are so fine, it really is a single fingertip, early movement, or rogue deflection that can make the difference between titles, Champions League spots, and even relegation. Whilst this weekend's sides aren't threatened by the latter, De Gea, Ederson, Ramsdale, and Lloris - as well as those of us in the goalkeeping community - can take several learnings from 2023's opening derby weekend. 


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