With Jordan Pickford a potential summer signing for Arsenal while Wojciech Szczesny returns after two years on loan at Roma, we take a look how each performed last season.
Jordan Pickford was sensational for Sunderland despite the Black Cats getting relegated. The young goalkeeper was one of the side’s best players, making 29 Premier League appearances. Although he kept only four clean sheets, his performances were consistently praised and the goals conceded are as a result of the porous defence in front of him.
Wojciech Szczesny also had a very good season with AS Roma as the club finished second in Serie A, just four points adrift of champions Juventus. The Polish goalkeeper was praised for outstanding performances throughout the season, keeping 14 clean sheets in 38 games. He’s also been linked with Juventus to be a long-term replacement for Gianluigi Buffon.
Szszcesny conceded one goal per-game to Pickford’s 1.72. The amount of saves-per-conceded goal is more similar with Szczesny making 2.45 and Pickford 2.2. The difference in the quality of their respective teams shows how much more work Pickford has to do on a weekly basis. The Sunderland goalkeeper had to make average of 3.79 saves -per-game while his Roma counterpart was called upon 2.45 times.
The biggest difference between the two is pass completion. Szczesny makes 72% successful passes to Pickford’s 47%. This contrast is a result of a different approach from the players and the demands of their managers. The average length of pass from Pickford is 53m to Szczesny’s 28m, highlighting the latter plays more possession football while the former is told to be safe and go long in his distribution.
Pickford is a bit shorter than Szczesny, 185cm and 196cm, and tends to punch incoming balls rather than catch them. He averages 0.79 punches-per-game to Szczesny’s 0.39.
There is a big difference in age and experience too. Szczesny spent five seasons at Arsenal, playing for a winning side and having Champions League football before two seasons at title-chasing Roma. He’s since grown as a goalkeeper and developed into one of the top-20 in the continent.
Pickford, 23, is four years younger and has spent most of his senior career on loan to lower league sides. 2016/17 was his first full season in the Premier League. As a result, Pickford lacks the experience of Szczesny but has shown he could surpass the Pole in years to come based on his impressive maiden campaign.