2023-24 season review & squad planning: Goalkeeper edition

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The Blues had a pretty big turnover before the season began as both Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga left for Al Ahli and Real Madrid respectively. This meant the club had to buy both a first-choice and a backup goalkeeper. Robert Sanchez came from Brighton and Hove Albion as a first-team keeper whereas Djordje Petrovic came from the MLS side New England Revolution.

Robert Sanchez started as Chelsea's number one and was commanding the 18-yard box well but was always very nervy when it came to playing the ball out from the back. As the season progressed, the shortcomings of a young squad and the Spanish goalkeeper's lack of ball-playing ability were evident as the team went on losing matches. During the gameweek 16 match against Everton, Sanchez suffered an injury which meant Djordje Petrovic had the chance to make the number one spot his own.

The goalkeeping performances did improve but the West London side lacked the consistency to put a string of wins together. It was always one step forward with encouraging performances against the likes of Manchester City, and Arsenal but then two steps back with the performances of Burnley and Sheffield United who ended up being relegated from the league.

Even though the season ended on a high for the club with five wins in a row and the team qualifying for European club competition for next season, the performances of the two goalkeepers are more similar than people would have expected them to be. Even though every fan felt a bit more relaxed with Petrovic in between the sticks, after the season ended the stats of the two keepers are eerily similar.

Since Robert Sanchez's injury, Petrovic has gone on to play 31 games whereas the Spanish international played only a couple of cup matches since. Despite playing 10 more games, the Serbian international had only two more clean sheets at seven. Goals conceded per 90 by both the keepers and save percentage were surprisingly similar which begs the question, did Djordje Petrovic have a better season than Robert Sanchez?

A couple of metrics which showcase a big difference between the two are based on "post-shot expected goals minus goal conceded". Petrovic stands at -6.7 whereas Sanchez stands at only -0.8 showing that the Serbian has conceded almost seven goals more than he should have. Another surprising metric is that of "pass completion percentage" where the Spaniard surpasses Petrovic despite that being his main weakness. Also, something Sanchez has been better at is commanding the 18-yard box by claiming cross attempts by the opposition.

Seeing how the season has fared for both the goalkeepers who have got almost the same amount of chances to prove each other, it is difficult to say who has had a better season. Even if one of them has had a better season, it's not by much. In terms of whether the club should sell or keep any of the two, it would be better to keep both of them in the team. Maybe an upgrade can be made between the sticks but seeing the need for other much-needed reinforcement in other areas of the field, no new signings should be made this transfer window.


Djordje Petrovic: 6/10 Djordje Petrovic: KEEP

Robert Sanchez: 5.5/10 Robert Sanchez: KEEP