With the season in the books, we’re taking a look back at how each of the players performed, starting with the goalkeepers.
Leicester’s goalkeeping has been a sore subject for a few weeks now, so we thought it best to put our biggest critic in charge of reviewing it, me!
Goalkeeping is a particular beast to critique, as you usually have to get past the first 10 before they’re called upon to do anything, but it’s still important to look at now we’re heading into a transfer window.
Remember him? His last match was January 25th, 2020. I don’t think anyone expects him to unseat Kasper Schmeichel anytime soon, especially since he was only given two rounds in each of our cup competitions. Will we see him more next season with Europa League in play? Or will we bring in a new number two to serve as Kasper’s understudy?
He stood between the posts for two matches in the League Cup and had a fairly comfortable ride. His first was in the third round away to Luton, which ended 4-0 and he faced one shot on target. His second match was the fourth round at Burton Albion. An early second half goal kept it close at 2-1, until it finally ended 3-1 on the night. Ward faced four shots on target, allowing one goal.
Danny waited to really shine in the FA Cup where he kept two clean sheets in rounds three and four against Wigan and Brentford. His best performance was against Brentford, where he was called into action to save what would have been a certain equalizer from Luka Racic.
Where to begin unpacking this gem. If you only watched post-project restart Leicester, you’d be correct in wondering what dark magic was at play that put them in 3rd in the first place.
You’d also be correct in wondering how a Premier League winning goalkeeper could contribute to the worst on field collapse you’ve seen since 2013. I don’t much mind the failed Söyüncü-turn against Manchester United, but the pass that lead to Bournemouth’s comeback, for me, is unforgivable, and something that has long been in his locker.
Kasper Schmeichel takes responsibility for "changing the game" against Bournemouth, and apologises to Leicester fans for their second half performance ️ pic.twitter.com/jEtuz15Qof— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 12, 2020
To me, Kasper is still the keeper for now, but not having a suitable number two to put pressure on him for the majority of his Leicester career really showed in the second half of the season.
His best season came when he had veteran Mark Schwarzer to back him up, and in a squad with several youngsters, perhaps that calming veteran presence could’ve pushed us across the line. Now’s the time to start lining up a potential successor, especially if this is the best Kasper can provide.
Kasper had a save percentage of .738, saving 95 of 126 shots. His post-shot expected goals equalled last year at 44, but where he was 4 worse at 48 goals allowed last season, this year he kept it down to 41. It was his lowest total since 15/16 and he finished 3rd with 13 total clean sheets.
He had only one error (officially) that lead to goals, and had two own goals scored on him. He was 2/10 saving penalties, and has only saved four for the Foxes in the Premier League.
Interestingly, the distance in his goal kicks are down from 57.4 yards to 40.9, but that seems more like an anomaly with passes being allowed inside the box now.
Kasper definitely deserves to be our keeper next season, and our full time captain once Wes Morgan moves on. It will be hard to find a better servant for the club, especially one that has been through many ups and downs that are hardly thrust upon other keepers at other clubs. But if we’re going to build something for the next 3/5/10 years, he’ll have to start on his next greatest challenge, building his replacement.