This season there is a clear choice between picking a premium keeper, or looking for value in the £4.5m bracket. You can either go set and forget, or look for a solid rotation pair, but the keepers below will be options to choose from if you are looking for a cheaper keeper.
The £4.5 tier of goalkeepers has a couple of teams with 2 or even 3 options, so watching preseason and manager comments will be important in determining who to pick. In those cases I will group the keepers by team.
Matt Ryan (£4.5m) – Brighton
Brighton struggled last year, and they have a new manager in Graeme Potter to contend with who wants to play a more attacking brand of football, which could make the sometimes solid Brighton defence less attractive. However, Ryan is a guaranteed ever present who obtained 104 points last season and 146 the season before, saving nearly 100 shots in both seasons.
I’m not convinced on him as a set and forget, however his first 3 games of Watford (A), West Ham (H) and Southampton (H) have potential clean sheet prospects. If, like me, you are looking to confirm who exactly will be the number 1 for Burnely, Southampton and Bournemouth, Ryan could be a safe pair of hands for the first 3 gameweeks, before Brighton play Manchester City.
Nick Pope/Tom Heaton (£4.5m) – Burnley
Whoever gets the number 1 job for Burnley could be the stand out choice for the long term. 2 seasons ago they made Europe, with a good team built on a solid defence, with Pope keeping 11 clean sheets that season and amassing 152 points. Pope was injured for the last campaign, and Burnley struggled at the start of the season, but towards the end their form picked up and I expect them to be back to a solid mid table team this year.
Heaton is approaching the end of his contract, with rumours of Aston Villa preparing a bid for him, and I expect Pope to be the chosen number 1. I would however urge caution in the first few gameweeks, as Burnley play Southampton (H), Arsenal (A), Wolves (A) and Liverpool (H) before their fixtures become slightly more favourable.
Asmir Begovic/Artur Boruc/Mark Travers (4.5) Bournemouth
We have 3 keepers for Bournemouth, all at the same price and currently there are no indications of who will get their number 1 job. Bournemouth have some great talents in defence, but Eddie Howe plays such an expansive game they can not be trusted to keep a clean sheet, even when you expect them to. The defence seems to be undergoing and overhaul, with Howe bringing in 2 new young fullbacks to supplement the possibly Manchester City bound Nathan Ake, so for me Bournemouth are a team to avoid until we know more about their backline.
Angus Gunn/Alex McCarthy/Fraser Forster (4.5) Southampton
The keeping position still looks up for grabs for Southamton, as after the upturn in their fortunes under Hasenhuttl, whilst he actually dropped Gunn towards the end of the season after a few poor showings. Gunn is clearly a talented keeper, keeping 3 clean sheets last year, but the jury is still out as to if he will be first choice come the first game of the season, or will it be McCarthy. Again, a watching brief for Southampton’s pre season games may indicate who their number one will be, but with starting fixtures of Burnley (A), Liverpool (H), Brighton (A) and Manchester United (H) it maybe be worth choosing another option for the first few weeks.
Personally I am looking at a £4.5m set and forget for the season to free up funds elsewhere. I have decided on using Matt Ryan for the first 3 or 4 gameweeks until I am sure if either Pope or Heaton is Burnley’s number 1 and picking them up, however the thought of an improved Southampton team having a regular number 1 is also an option.
If you are willing to go up to £5.0m you have the obvious options of Fabianski, Schmeichel or Patricio, but I would expect one of the £4.5m options to get you nearly as many points over a season, with Kasper and Rui getting 120 and 118 points respectively last season.
Keep and eye on the pre season games, but importantly the last pre season game, and it should give you an indication into who the respective managers favour for their number one spot.
Written by @LotmerFPL