Revisiting the Serie A department of useless information. The goalkeepers edition.
By Frank Risorto
Get the moka on the stove and pull up a chair.
It’s time to revisit the Serie A department of useless information for another whirlwind of trivial information, entertaining, nonetheless.
We’ve visited the department, and their wonderful work before twice, here and here, this time, however this time we’re focusing on Serie A’s goalkeepers.
The mavericks, the flamboyant ones, the whatever-you-want-to-call-them, of football.
If you type into that big search engine ‘Are goalkeepers’ … the first response is ‘crazy’.
Perhaps they are, and I’m allowed to say that, I was a goalkeeper, but let’s look at the numbers and see what we can find. Don’t forget the coffee!
All stats courtesy of FBRef.com.
Atalanta’s Marco Sportiello is the only Serie A keeper to have taken the field this season and is yet to make a single save. How’s that possible you ask?
He’s got two starts for two goals conceded.
His first start a nil-nil draw against Genoa, where unsurprisingly Genoa failed to register a single shot on goal.
Sportiello’s second appearance of the season, he was in goal for his side’s 2–1 loss to Fiorentina and how did Atalanta lose yet manage to concede a single shot on goal you ask?
Fiorentina didn’t have a single shot from regular play, however Sportiello faced two Dusan Vlahovic penalties and failed to save both.
On the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got Empoli’s Guglielmo Vicario, who must surely be knocking on the door of the Azzurri squad, and shout out to the @RTWCalcio crew who are also on the Vicario bandwagon.
Vicario’s registered 85 saves this season albeit from 120 shots on target.
At this rate the 25-year-old is on track to make more saves this season than his first three seasons in professional football.
Given it’s only a small sample size across the past four seasons but we urge you Mr Mancini give the busiest man in Empoli some love and a well-deserved call-up.
Torino’s Vanja Milinkovic-Savic meanwhile is proving he’s not the only skilful member of the Milinkovic-Savic family gracing the field in Italy.
‘VMS’, as he’s known around these parts, along with Atalanta’s Juan Musso, the only two keepers to have dribbled past opponent outside the box, and that’s not his only wonderful stat for the season so far.
VMS has had more touches in the opposition penalty area than Gary Medel, Lucas Leiva, Erick Pulgar, and granted all are defensive midfielders … but still?
How’s this conceivable?
Travel back in time to Matchday 10 where AC Milan registered a 1–0 victory over VMS’s Torino and the Spanish-born 6-foot-7 tower of a man registered a header, that’s right a header on AC Milan’s goal.
VMS is the unfortunate owner of the league’s worst long pass completion rate for a player with 20 appearances or more.
The Serb has attempted a whopping 560 long passes for a success rate of 36.8%.
Compare that to his short passing game, 94.4% success, and medium pass rate, 97.5%, and Ivan, we have a problem.
So, VMS next time you want to kick the leather off the ball so to speak, keep it simple and pass it short.
Keeper’s in the attacking third, not quite snakes on a plane, but speaking of, Lazio’s Pepe Reina has given us another gem in the attacking third.
Reina’s the only keeper to have registered a successful tackle, and not only that, but it’s in the attacking third of the pitch, yes read that sentence again, the attacking third of the pitch.
Which of course means Reina has made more tackles in the opposition attacking third than Venezia’s Dennis Johnsen, Cagliari’s Leonardo Pavoletti and Hellas Verona’s Miguel Veloso combined.
You don’t want to mention the word ‘clean sheet’ to Cagliari’s Alessio Cragno.
Not content with being a member of one of the worst defensive records in the league this season (38 goals conceded), and yet to keep a clean sheet, Cragno proudly owns the record for most goals conceded involving corners (7) and free kicks (4).
So, for any Serie A players reading this, and I know you’re out there, next time you’ve won a free kick outside the box against Cagliari, you have my permission to shoot on sight.
And as always when it comes to goalkeepers, we’ve got the old, Sassuolo’s Gianluca Pegolo, (40-years-old) and we’ve got the new Torino’s Luca Gemello (21-years-old).
Born exactly 19 years and 100 days apart, they’re the only two goalkeepers, along with Hellas Verona’s Daniele Padelli, to make a single appearance this season.
But the funny business of Serie A doesn’t stop there.
Pegolo’s first ever appearance in Italian football was for Hellas Verona way back in November of 2001.
In the 51st minute Pegolo was introduced as a substitute for the injured starting goalkeeper Fabrizio Ferron and one of his teammates that day, none other than current Fiorentina manager, Vincenzo Italiano.
Who was the opposition that day? Of course, it was Torino.
Fast forward 7351 days and the leagues youngest goalkeeper is making his debut for, Torino of course, against Fiorentina, who are managed by, none other than Pegolo’s teammate back in 2001, Vincenzo Italiano.
Now is that useless information?
No, that’s calcio.
Thanks for reading and stay safe.