Historically a point of criticism for the women’s game, goalkeeping in the Women’s Super League is strong in 2020/21, especially when it comes to rising stars vying for England places.
Virtually all 12 WSL clubs have a reliable first choice goalkeeper this season, but how do the stoppers compare against each other?
*Stats quoted from FBREF
12. Aurora Mikalsen (Tottenham)
Having left Manchester United in search of games, Aurora Mikalsen is currently getting that chance at Tottenham in the absence of usual number one Becky Spencer.
But the Norwegian has looked shaky during her appearances so far. That could change with increased confidence, but for now she is not saving enough and is conceding too many.
11. Lydia Williams (Arsenal)
Veteran Australia international Lydia Williams has got in ahead of Manuela Zinsberger at Arsenal, although it hasn’t quite been plain sailing for the 32-year-old.
Williams ranks poorly compared to other WSL starters in terms of xG conceded, with the stats suggested she should be saving more than she has been. Her save percentage is also low.
10. Sophie Baggaley (Bristol City)
Sophie Baggaley was named in the PFA’s WSL Team of the Year for 2018/19, but it is always going to be tough for any Bristol City goalkeeper.
The Robins give up a lot of chances and attempts at goal, which means that Baggaley is extraordinarily busy. She has faced far more shots than any other goalkeeper and therefore has made more saves, although her save percentage is below 57%.
9. Megan Walsh (Brighton)
Megan Walsh was the star of the show when Brighton held Manchester City to a 0-0 draw in September and has generally conceded fewer goals this season than the xG numbers.
The 26-year-old has plenty of WSL experience under her belt from previous spells at Everton, Notts County and Yeovil.
8. Lisa Weiss (Aston Villa)
Aston Villa’s Lisa Weiss arrived in the WSL last summer with plenty of experience, having previously been at Lyon and part of Germany squads at international tournaments.
Weiss has performed well for a team that was always expected to struggle in its debut season as a top flight club and deals with crosses well.
7. Mackenzie Arnold (West Ham)
West Ham turned to established Australia international Mackenzie Arnold in 2020, with prior club experience in Norway and the United States as well as her homeland.
Arnold plays on the front foot and is the WSL goalkeeper who most readily takes up a ‘sweeper keeper’ role and defends beyond the usual safety of the penalty area.
6. Grace Maloney (Reading)
Grace Maloney has spent more than a decade at Reading and has helped the Royals become a consistent WSL force in the top half of the table in recent seasons.
Maloney’s save percentage currently stands at 63%, which drops her just below the very best goalkeepers plying their trade in the WSL this season.
5. Sandy MacIver (Everton)
Getting her WSL debut last year after a spell playing college soccer in America, Sandy MacIver is helping make England’s goalkeeping department very strong, both now and for the future.
MacIver has height on her side and is one of relatively few WSL goalkeepers comfortable enough with the ball at her feet to pass out from the back.
4. Mary Earps (Man Utd)
Manchester United brought Mary Earps back to England from German giants Wolfsburg in 2019 following their promotion to the WSL and it has proven to be a smart signing.
At 27, Earps is a senior voice in a largely young dressing room and is a reliable last line of defence. She saves as well as any of the league’s other top goalkeepers.
3. Hannah Hampton (Birmingham)
2020/21 had the potential to be a dreadful season for Birmingham but the performances of 20-year-old Hannah Hampton have been a significant reason why it hasn’t lived up to that expectation.
At the time of writing, Hampton has the highest save percentage of all the WSL starters. She also plays with a maturity beyond her years that serves to minimise errors and ill-judgement.
2. Ellie Roebuck (Man City)
Ellie Roebuck has kept veteran England international Karen Bardsley sidelined at Manchester City since 2018 and has also replaced her as Lionesses number one, all at the age of 21.
City are a possession team and Roebuck does that part of the game well, rarely kicking the ball long in either open play or from goal kicks. At 70%, her save percentage is strong too.
1. Ann-Katrin Berger (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s Ann-Katrin Berger was one of only five goalkeepers who featured on The Guardian’s list of the top 100 female footballers in the world at the end of 2020, and the only one from the WSL.
The German international has gone from strength to strength since joining from Birmingham in 2019 and is just another of the many reasons why Chelsea are the team to beat in England.