Brad Jones has an unenviable position these days. It’s doubtful one fan of his club believes he is good enough to play for them, and inaccurate stats and general abuse towards him flood the Twittersphere. Here are some of the least offensive tweets:
But how bad is he? I thought I’d use a simple expected goals system to try to figure this out.
I’ve divided shots on target into four categories based on pitch location:
Using the Premier League average conversion rates for each zone, we can see how many goals we would expect Jones to concede based on the location of the shot. This doesn’t account for things like the speed or placement of the shot, or if there were players blocking Jones’ view, but it’s just for a numerical indication. Here are the findings (with his cameo at Burnley excluded as he didn’t face any shots on target).
So what can we see here? The main thing to note is that Brad Jones has done well with bread-and-butter shots from locations where you wouldn’t expect the attacker to score too often; in the areas apart from the centre of the box, he has conceded three goals when a league average goalkeeper would concede 4.7 (if such a thing were possible, of course).
In the centre of the box is where Jones’ problems lie, and this is where a goalkeeper really earns his corn, as shots on target from this area tend to be the big saves that earn points. Sadly for Liverpool, Jones has conceded twelve goals when even a league average performance would have only seen eight goals against, and don’t forget of course that the Reds have far higher ambitions than merely being average.
His poor performance with shots from the centre of the box means that in total he has conceded fifteen goals against an expected tally of 12.7; he is 15% below league average, and that just isn’t good enough for a team like Liverpool.