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La Liga’s Top Goalkeeper: Andriy Lunin leads in Save Percentage and Passing Accuracy

The data supports Andriy Lunin as Real Madrid’s starting goalkeeper.

Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid CF - Copa del Rey Photo by Diego Souto/Getty Images

Andriy Lunin has played 13 matches this season and just under 1,000 minutes in La Liga as he jousts for the starting goalkeeper position with Kepa. The Ukranian was not favored by Ancelotti to start the season but his performances have slowly forced the Italian manager to re-consider his #1 in the absence of Thibaut Courtois. Kepa was reportedly a direct request of Ancelotti, meaning Lunin’s fight for a new role is an impressive feat.

The debate over which goalkeeper is the better option has intensified in the past few months, especially after Kepa sustained an injury and Lunin demonstrated his skills during the Spaniard’s absence. Lunin is expected to start La Liga’s next match on Thursday night against Getafe, and the statistics support his claim to the number one spot:

Among other La Liga goalkeepers, Andriy Lunin ranks first in save percentage, first in pass accuracy, and first in fewest goals conceded per 90 minutes. The Ukrainian’s Post-Shot Expected Goal (a metric evaluating how likely a goalkeeper is to save a shot) is in the 92nd percentile compared with other goalkeepers in the top five European leagues, according to FBREF and Opta data. In contrast, Kepa ranks in the 77th percentile for the same metric.

His long range passing has been a pleasant surprise, many times kick-starting a Real Madrid transition opportunity. Both Fede Valverde down the right and Vinicius Junior down the left flank, have been the beneficiaries of his passing range.

Over a longer sample size, does Lunin’s quality still stand up? That is for the Ukranian to prove, but in the interim he has shown that he likely deserves the nod over Kepa.

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