EPL

Mat Ryan to make bushfire donation of A$500 for every Premier League save

By Sports Desk January 10, 2020

Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Mat Ryan has pledged to donate A$500 to a wildlife charity for every Premier League save made this weekend amid the bushfire crisis in Australia.

The Socceroos international will send the funds to the WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation emergency fund.

In posts on Twitter and Instagram, Ryan wrote: "In the light of the devastation caused by the bushfires back home, I'm donating 500 Australian dollars for every registered save by all Premier League goalkeepers across every Premier League fixture for this weekend.

"I've chosen to donate to the WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation emergency fund. Thank you to all for your support thus far and as a nation we really do appreciate your gratitude and generosity.

"However, there continue to be homes lost, lives of both people and animals lost or in danger, along with whole communities, businesses and more.

"I hope we can continue in the same manner and continue to encourage and influence people into raising money for those affected."

The wildfires are said to have killed 27 people and around 500 million animals. In the state of Victoria 1.2 million hectares have been burnt by blazes while New South Wales has seen almost 1,900 homes destroyed.

Ryan, from Plumpton in New South Wales, pledged $1,000 for every goal scored across the A-League and W-League last week as part of an appeal through Professional Footballers Australia's Footballers' Trust. Twenty-seven goals were scored across the two leagues.

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    Jamie Carragher says Liverpool need to do whatever it takes to sign RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano in January after losing Virgil van Dijk to a serious knee injury. 

    Netherlands international Van Dijk was forced off early in the Reds' 2-2 draw with Merseyside rivals Everton on Saturday after a wild challenge from Jordan Pickford.

    Scans have since revealed Van Dijk suffered damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, an injury that will ensure he misses the majority – if not the entirety – of the remainder of the season.

    Liverpool have previously been linked with 21-year-old France international Upamecano and Carragher – the Reds' second-highest appearance maker – says Jurgen Klopp needs to bring him in as a matter of urgency when the January transfer window opens. 

    "Liverpool's next big signing had to be a centre-back anyway and I am talking next summer," Carragher told Sky Sports. 

    "Dejan Lovren went and they didn't replace him so they only have three centre-backs and one of those, Joel Matip, is always injured. There are question marks now about Joe Gomez.

    "So, there is no doubt that Liverpool had to go big in the transfer market next summer. That was the next one. That has now got to be brought forward to January 1, whoever the target was in the summer. Not the end of January. 

    "There is a young man everyone was talking about at Leipzig, Dayot Upamecano. I think he is only 6'1" or 6'2", so he is maybe not that aerial but if he is the one they wanted then bring it forward. Pay extra money and do it on January 1.

    "That means getting through 11 league games without Virgil van Dijk."

  • Was Lampard right to single out his keepers amid Chelsea defensive woes? Was Lampard right to single out his keepers amid Chelsea defensive woes?

    When Frank Lampard was questioned over Chelsea's poor defensive record in his tenure as manager, he suggested his goalkeepers were to blame.

    Ahead of Tuesday's home game against Sevilla, which will kick off the Blues' Champions League campaign, it was put to Lampard that his side were conceding enough goals for him to rank him among the club's worst bosses ever in that category.

    Indeed, Chelsea have conceded nine goals in their first five Premier League games this season – three coming in Saturday's 3-3 home draw with Southampton – and leaked 54 in the 2019-20 top flight, more than any other team to finish in the top 10.

    "I'm aware of the stats and the other stat is we have conceded second least shots," said Lampard.

    "That helps to narrow down the issue. It's something we are aware of with our recruitment and on the pitch with the players to make sure we set up well.

    "We want to concede less, as do all teams at the moment."

    As Lampard referenced with recruitment, Chelsea hope the signing of Edouard Mendy for around £22million from Rennes can solve their goalkeeping issues.

    But is the statistic he cites correct and to what extent can the other keepers, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero, be blamed for the club's woeful defensive record? We have used Opta data to find out...

    CHELSEA RANK HIGHLY IN PREVENTING SHOTS

    Since Lampard took charge at the start of last season, Chelsea have conceded 89 goals in 62 games across all competitions, an average of 1.44 per game.

    Of the 17 sides who played in the Premier League last year and this year, that puts Chelsea in the bottom half (11th of 17).

    The best two records, by comparison, are held by the two Manchester clubs, with City (61 in 65) and United (63 in 67) both averaging 0.94 goals conceded per game. West Ham are the worst, with 1.58 (79 in 50 matches).

    But, as Lampard suggests, there is a significant difference when it comes to shots faced.

    Taking all competitions into account, the Blues have faced 590 shots across their 62 games, an average of 9.52 per game.

    That ranks third of the 17 teams, only narrowly behind Manchester City (7.34 shots per game) and Liverpool (9.46), with Leicester City (9.76) the only other team facing less than 10.

    Of the shots Chelsea have faced, 215 have been on target, an average of 3.47 per game which ranks fifth of 17. 

    So, Chelsea have been reasonably effective in limiting the shots they face and the attempts their keepers have to save.

    However, 15 per cent (89) of opposing teams' shots have resulted in a conceded goal and by that metric, Chelsea are worst of all 17 teams.

    The best is Arsenal (eight per cent) and Manchester United also rank in single figures (nine per cent), so it seems Lampard has a point that his goalkeeping is the primary concern.

    KEPA STATS MAKE ABYSMAL READING

    Delving deeper into Opta's advanced goalkeeper metrics, we can look at expected goals and how their keepers rank in the goals prevented statistic.

    Unfortunately, it makes abysmal reading for Kepa. 

    There were 43 shot-stoppers who played a Premier League game since Lampard took charge of Chelsea and Kepa ranks last in goals prevented differential.

    In his 36 league matches for Chelsea since Lampard took charge, Opta's expected goals system projects the Spaniard should have conceded 39.21 goals. The actual figure was 51, giving him a goals prevented ratio of minus 11.79.

    For context, the next worst of those who played at least 25 matches in that time period, were England duo Nick Pope (minus 4.31) and Jordan Pickford (minus 4.17).

    Caballero also has a negative differential (minus 3.73), conceding nine Premier League goals from his six matches when his expected figure was 5.27.

    The best goalkeeping performance in that time has come from Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris (plus 9.87 goals prevented), closely followed by Martin Dubravka (plus 8.57), Dean Henderson (plus 8.35) and Vicente Guaita (plus 7.97) – with those four ranking well clear of the rest.

    As a team, Chelsea have conceded 63 in the league since August 2019, while the expected figure is 44.74, their minus 18.26 differential being far and away the top-flight's worst.

    Southampton are next worst at minus 9.91, while the best record is held by Sheffield United, who conceded 46 when they were expected to concede 56.59, giving them a plus 10.59 ratio.

    The poor goalkeeping is highlighted further when looking at Chelsea and their big six rivals.

    Chelsea (44.74), City (44.34), Liverpool (44.67) and United (46.61) all rank similarly for the Premier League goals they would have been expected to concede since the start of last season.

    By contrast, Arsenal (62.73) and Tottenham (62.72) rank more poorly.

    However, the actual figures show Chelsea (63) conceded the most of the big six, more than Arsenal (54) and Spurs (55), who were boosted by the positive differentials and fine performances of Bernd Leno, Emiliano Martinez and Lloris.

    City (42) fared best, with Ederson (plus 4.47) ranking well, while Liverpool (46) United (48) finished up relatively close to their expected figures, all highlighting just how badly Chelsea have been let down between the sticks compared to their nearest competitors.

    Chelsea will hope Mendy, once fully fit and settled, can resolve their goalkeeping woes, as it is clear the data backs up Lampard's statement.

  • Liverpool will 'make the best' of Van Dijk's lenghty absence, says Klopp Liverpool will 'make the best' of Van Dijk's lenghty absence, says Klopp

    Jurgen Klopp has refused to put a timescale on Virgil van Dijk's return from knee surgery but expects the Premier League champions to "make the best" of his absence. 

    The Reds confirmed on Sunday the Netherlands international had damaged ligaments in his knee and is likely to miss most of the rest of the campaign. 

    Van Dijk was subjected to a wild challenge by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in Saturday's 2-2 Merseyside derby draw with Everton and limped off after 11 minutes.

    The 29-year-old has since vowed to come back "better, fitter and stronger" after surgery but, while confirming he will be out for a "pretty long time", Liverpool boss Klopp would not be drawn on an exact date for his return to action.

    "He will now be out for a while, that's clear," he told Liverpool's official website. "We don't want to set any timeframe, to be honest, because each player is different and these possible timeframes are always for the x, y, z player. Virgil is Virgil and we don't want to set any timeframe.

    "But he will be out for a pretty long time and that's what the situation is. I expected it pretty much after the game, especially when I saw the challenge back. I saw it the first time only from the bench, and when I saw it back I was pretty clear that he will be out for a long time.

    "So, we feel now in this moment extremely, extremely [sad] for him because most of us were in a similar situation and we know that these situations are absolutely rubbish.

    "You don't need it but you have to get over it and Virgil will get over it, 100 per cent, and today is already the first day, if you want, of the recovery. 

    "We already go in the right direction. So, see what you get and then make the best of it and that's what we do now."

    Klopp says he understands what Van Dijk is going through after suffering a similar injury during his own playing career and insists the club will do everything it can to support him. 

    "It's always the same; players love to be on their own to deal with it to begin with," he added. "I have been in the business long enough to know that. I was injured myself; I had exactly the same injury and you're not pretty chatty. 

    "We are in contact, of course. We are there for him. He knows that and we will wait for him like a good wife is waiting when the husband is in jail and will do all we can to make it as easy as possible for him."

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