Date: 7th April 2009 at 9:26pm
Written by:

KBFulhams latest article inspired me to look a little closer at our keeper, so I thought I`d delve into the wonderful world of statistics.

Many people believe statistics mean absolutely nothing.

The answer to who was the better team is displayed clearly on the scoreboard at the end of ninety minutes. Who cares how much time of possession a team had.

It`s about winning and losing, right? Well, yes? and no. I`m a big believer in statistics. Winners and losers are obvious, but the truth of how they got there can often be revealed in those useless numbers compiled after every match. Which brings me to my question – how good is Mark Schwarzer?

Fulham have conceded 27 goals through 31 games, tied with Arsenal for 4th best in the league, and we`re 6th in the league with 12 clean sheets.

Good defense, right? Not really! Schwarzer has faced 171 shots on goal; 3rd most in the league.

More importantly, he`s made 144 saves; 1st in the league.

Now, I don`t know what you get from these numbers, but here`s what I get?

1) Our keeper is even better than I thought he was.

2) Our defense, despite the presence of Hangeland, is not what it should be and needs to be improved mightily over the summer.

In my mind, I had already penciled in Hangeland as our player of the year, but after this little exercise, I think I may change my vote.

So back to my original question – how good is Mark Schwarzer?

Answer: Really Damn Good! (But, you didn`t need numbers to tell you that, did you?)


18 Replies to “How Good is Mark Schwarzer?”

  • Thanks. Twas easy. No long division required. I found another stat that was pretty interesting, but not worth an entire article. If you just take half-time results, Fulham would be in 4th position in the league. 10 wins, 19 draws and 2 losses. I think that’s a perfect illustration of our lack of depth and how it effects us late in games.

  • Reminds me of a stat from last year. About 3/4 of the way through the season I had heard that, based on scores at half time, Fulham would have been at the top of the table. Damn those goals in the final 10′. Also, not to knock on Schwarzer because I think he is doing very well, but it has seemed to me that a lot of the shots that are taken on him are from either poor angles or are poorly hit balls. Leads me to believe our defence may actually be up to snuff!

  • Yeh, but the fact that our opponents are even able to put that many shots on goal suggests that we’re not marking well enough. Too much space given. Compare his numbers to Van der Sar and Reina. Van der Sar has only faced 96 SOG this season (through 1 less game) and Reina has only faced 97. That’s a big difference.

  • Of course, you could also look at it from attack. As evidenced by our relatively low goal tally, our attack has not been great. Perhaps we’re putting the defense under too much pressure by not sustaining possession and not putting our opponents under enough pressure. That is another way to look at it.

  • i agree… sometimes stats don’t matter, but you can also learn a lot from them… this shined some light on some interesting things… and i would say definitely proved that schwarzer is much better than i assumed… and might be the best in the league…

  • I think so, Putney. Look at Van der Sar. They hardly mention his name during a ManU match. I remember hearing something back during that long run of clean sheets, that he had faced fewer shots than any keeper in the league during that period.

  • I remember that as well, and it has got to be true! I would go as far as to say Schwarzer is better, as Van Der Sar can be a bit of a calamity keeps, whilst Mark is one of the most reliable and consistent I have ever seen!

  • He is the best keeper we have ever had I think.

    Consistent unlike VDS, fantastic reflexes where Taylor probably wasn’t out and out a world class shot stopper and he catches a ball well unlike Niemi.

    Signing of the season as well for nothing.

  • Coming from Australia I am a little biased but I think he is one of the most underated keepers in the PL

  • he has bin a great keeper for years now,he seems to b getting better with age,mayb im being biased now too but he gets my vote as player of the season

  • I would be happy to see him get player of the season too. But I am going to give the other players a chance and decide on my personal fave at the end of the term!

  • fullcircle – I actually did an analysis on opponents shot quality, and found pretty much the same thing as you suspect:

    Going purely by shots, saves and goals conceded, you would have to say that Schwarzer has been the best keeper in the league (if not one of the best in the world) this season, and our outfield defence has been slightly above average. After analyzing opponents’ shot quality, we can see that the defence has had a positive impact in terms of limiting the more dangerous shots. Schwarzer is still one of the top 1-3 keepers in the league, but this does make our defenders look better.

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