You have to look pretty hard at the Premier League results so far to find a decent amount of clean sheets. It seems that with each game in this short-lived season, it’s becoming increasingly less likely there will be no goals. While this is good for entertainment value, I can guarantee every club is not happy with their defenses at the moment.
Two of the obvious examples are Liverpool and Manchester United. Despite United’s recent win over Liverpool, neither team has started the season well. Most worryingly for both sides is the fact that their defenses have leaked so many goals.
Between the 2005/2006 season and the 2008/2009 season, Liverpool were known for being the clean sheet keepers of Europe. No one was able to hold a 1-0 score-line like them, and you always felt confident they wouldn’t concede.
Now they can’t keep a clean sheet to save their life, unless they’re not scoring themselves, that is. That being said, they’ve actually performed well in the Europa League, but it’s hardly the same opposition the Champions League and Premier League offer.
United have done a fair bit better, but once again they are a team whose defense is a shadow of their former self. So far this season, they’ve conceded two goals against Fulham, three goals against Everton, and two against Liverpool. Two of these games they dropped points in and the other they won by way of Liverpool’s defense being slightly worse than their own.
Merely two years ago in the 2008/2009 season, when Man United last won the title, they kept an impressive 24 clean sheets in the league. With Vidic and Ferdinand at the back, you felt their defense was always rock solid. Now that’s not the case.
Liverpool and United aren’t the only teams in the league giving up goals. Arsenal have kept only one clean sheet this season and that was against Blackpool. Manchester City, Tottenham, Everton, and Aston Villa have all conceded goals.
Not even Chelsea, the current league leaders with maximum points this season, have kept a clean sheet in all five games so far. That being said, Chelsea have also majorly contributed to the lack of clean sheets in the league overall. Their goal difference is +20 after only five games.
This statistic is slightly misleading, though. While Chelsea have started the season well, you’d have to say their fixture schedule has been incredibly kind. Winning 6-0 against consistent bottom of the table teams is not what you’d call impressive. In reality, it’s a combination of Chelsea’s excellence in front of goal, as well as incredibly poor defenses that have created their overwhelming lead at the top of the table.
It’s still too early to decide anything concrete about the season, but one thing is fairly obvious. The defensive frailties of the top teams could really cost them by the end of the season. That being said, I hope it continues if only to make the season more interesting.