It really is the most daunting thing alive, goalkeeper analysis – but I am still going to write it. The debate of who should be the Swedish number one goalkeeper for the national team is an interesting one. In this particular analysis I will look at Zećira Mušović’s performances in 2021/2022 and whether she has a good chance of being the number one in goal for Sweden for the WWC 2023.
Mušović plays for Chelsea in the WSL and to properly analyse her in that league, we will look at 4 different categories to assess with data and video how good she really is. These categories are important when we look at the modern goalkeeper.
- Shot stopping
- Ball handling & reflexes
- Aerial command
The data and video come from Wyscout and were collected on September 3rd, 2022.
In the scatterplot above you can see two different metrics combined. We want to measure the quality of the shots faced and we can do that with expected goals against per 90 minutes. Then we want to see how the goalkeeper do in saving shots in percentages.
We see that Mušović has 0,45 xGA per 90 minutes which is quite low in comparison to keepers with more shots faced. This can be easily explained by the fact that those goalkeepers play for teams that concede more shots due to their quality. Chelsea is the best team in the league and therefore will face fewer shots. Mušović’s save rate is 72,31% and is only below 3 other keepers: Berger (Chelsea), Roebuck (Manchester City), and Zinsberger (Arsenal).
In the bar graph above you the metric of prevented goals. With this metric, we can measure the quality of saves with the likelihood of goals. Expected goals against minus conceded goals = prevented goals. You can see that Mušović scores 4th with 0,12 prevented goals per 90 minutes.
Here Mušović plays against Lyon with Chelsea and she keeps close to her near post and doesn’t give them space. She knows the defenders have the far post, but even in case of a cross, she can defend the near post and central areas.
In the game against Spurs she sees a ball from deep and anticipates not correctly at first, but still manages to make a safe.
Ball handling and reflexes
A closer look at saves makes us aware of ball handling. With this, I mean the way they handle the ball when it comes toward them for a save: are they going for the catch or are they going for the parry to the sides? This all depends on what is needed and essential in those moments.
In the game against West Ham we see a situation where a deep ball goes towards a goal and seems easy to catch, but it’s not always the right choice. In this example, she could have positioned herself better for the catch or immediately chosen for the tap over the goal.
This example is one of how she not only positions herself well to catch the ball but also puts her weight behind the ball to get a better stance. By catching it instead of parrying it, she can continue to play quicker and start a counter-attack.
How well does she react to unexpected balls or balls where she doesn’t have a lot of time to decide what to do? In other words how well does she do with reflexes? You can see that in the clip above when she played against Wolfsburg with Chelsea. She anticipates well on the bounce in the ball and makes a good save, with parrying to the side — so it will lead to less danger.
In terms of style we can also look at the two different metrics portrayed in this particular scatterplot: exits per 90 and aerial duels per 90. Exits indicate how many she has left her line and the aerial duels speak for itself.
What we can see is that Mušović doesn’t like to leave the line too much or engage in aerial duels. You can see that she has the lowest number in both metrics of all goalkeepers in WSL — indicating she is move of a line-keeper.
Distribution of the ball under pressure
So far we have seen Mušović is good on her line and can make saves from there pretty well, but we have also seen that she is not very prone to leave her area and commit to aerial commands.
Another important part of goalkeeping is how the ball is distributed via passing when under pressure. Mušović struggles with that as she has a clear idea what to do, but her execution is poor at times.
She gets the ball back here from her central defender and there is press from Lyon on the ball. She chose to kick it long as the full-backs are wide, but the execution is poor and it means loss of ball.
We can see the same here. She gets the ball back and Spurs press her. Her first touch is a tad disappointing meaning she limits herself in options and has to kick the ball long with her left foot. In doing so she uses her only options and it goes for a throw-in.
When we look at modern keepers we want them to feel comfortable on the ball and be press resistant. They should act as the 4th or 5th defender in possession of the ball. Mušović can do that when there is no pressure and that’s a sign of something to think about.
These are just a few things we can assess a goalkeeper on, but these categories and metrics give us insight into the playing style of a goalkeeper. Mušović is great with saves, reflexes and balls on the line, but doesn’t engage in exits, aerial duels much. Also, she doesn’t feel as comfortable on the ball when being pressed.
All these things don’t mean she isn’t a good goalkeeper, in fact she is one of the best at shot-stopping in the league. In terms of a modern goalkeeper, she qualifies as a shot-stopper than a sweeper keeper/ball-playing keeper.In these series, I will look at the Swedish goalkeepers of the national team individually and finally assess whether they fit into the mold of the national team wants to play.