Melbourne Victory have delighted fans across the competition with their goal scoring antics thus far in Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season, but it’s been at the other end of the pitch where an equal, if not greater, contribution has been made to the side’s early success.
Shot-stopper Lawrence Thomas is again putting his name in the ring for the most effective goalkeeper in the competition, in what is his eighth campaign with Melbourne Victory.
According to Opta’s Goals Prevented metric, we can ascertain how many successful a keeper has been in saving goals. That is to say, based off the shots that have come their way, have they saved more or less than what has been expected?
Well, with regards to the shots on target that Thomas has faced this season, the data suggests he should have conceded at least 10 goals this season when in reality he has conceded just seven. Thomas has therefore prevented three goals from being scored so far this season, a figured no other keeper can claim in the Hyundai A-League.
Thomas’s overall save percentage ranks him among the premier keepers in the Hyundai A-League. The Victory custodian boasts a save percentage of 73% so far this campaign, which is the third best of any keeper behind Jamie Young (76%) and Andrew Redmayne (74%).
Brisbane Roar’s Jamie Young (3.3), Western Sydney Wanderers’ Vedran Janjetovic (2.3), and Wellington Phoenix’s Filip Kurto (1.1) are the only other goal keepers in the competition to have prevented more than one goal so far this season - though, unlike Lawrence Thomas, their efforts have not been enough to keep their squads in the top half of the ladder after six rounds.
Since Thomas became the Victory’s first-choice goal keeper at the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign, no player has made more saves in the competition - Thomas’s 198 saves in that time are 12 more next-best Paul Izzo (186).
In that period, Thomas has also managed to maintain a clean sheet on 14 occasions - the third most of any player in the competition behind Danny Vukovic (16) and Andrew Redmayne (15), both of whom kept those clean sheets during Sydney FC’s record-breaking seasons.