After a weekend where Jordan Pickford went from hero to villain for Everton, is the Toffees goalkeeper’s England place now under threat?
BBC Sport assesses the possible contenders for the Three Lions number one shirt as Gareth Southgate prepares to name his latest England squad.
We explain why Raheem Sterling is Manchester City’s lucky charm and have details of yet another record for Pep Guardiola.
It was also a memorable weekend for forwards, with five players achieving significant landmarks. But for one player, though, the wait goes on…
Southgate’s goalkeeping conundrum
Ex-Sunderland star Pickford enjoyed some banter with the Magpies supporters on his return to the north-east, but it was the Newcastle fans who had the last laugh with their side battling back from two goals down to win 3-2.
Pickford was perhaps fortunate not to be sent off when he dragged Salomon Rondon to the ground in the first half after fumbling a cross from Matt Ritchie. He made amends by saving Ritchie’s penalty, but later in the game spilled Miguel Almiron’s shot into the path of Ayoze Perez who equalised.
That was Pickford’s fourth error leading to a goal this season, more than any other player in the Premier League. Indeed Pickford has made seven errors leading to shots, including goals, which is two more than anyone else in the division this season.
|Premier League 2018-19|
|Player||Errors Leading to Shots (inc. Goals)|
Southgate names his Three Lions squad on Wednesday for European Championship qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro later this month.
Pickford has been Southgate’s established number one since making his international debut in November 2017. But after an up-and-down season with the Toffees, is the 25-year-old’s place at risk? And if Southgate does decides to make a change, who are the contenders?
We have taken a closer look at some of the performances by English goalkeepers so far this season.
Stoke’s Jack Butland has kept more clean sheets and has a better save percentage than his rivals, though those games have been in the Championship.
Watford’s Ben Foster’s save percentage of 68.12% is the best of those English goalkeepers playing in the Premier League, but the 35-year-old has not been involved in an England squad since November 2014.
Pickford has kept more Premier League clean sheets than his English rivals, but his save percentage is behind both Foster and Burnley’s Tom Heaton, who has moved ahead of Joe Hart in the goalkeeping pecking order at Turf Moor.
|Games||Clean sheets||Shots on target faced||Saves||Save percentage||Errors leading to goals||Conceded|
We can also assess a goalkeeper’s performance in terms of expected goals on target. This can measure whether a goalkeeper is either conceding more or less than what we would expect the average goalkeeper to have conceded, based on the quality of chances they are facing.
Butland is again top of the list, conceding three goals fewer than expected, given the quality of shots he has faced. Of the Premier League goalkeepers, Pickford comes out on top, conceding two goals fewer than expected.
|Expected goals on target – 2018-19|
|Player||xGoT||Conceded (Excl. own goals)||Difference|
Goals galore under Guardiola
The teams are the division’s top scorers by a distance, plundering 147 goals between them so far.
Raheem Sterling’s second goal against the Hornets was City’s 150th Premier League goal at Etihad Stadium under Guardiola in just his 54th home game in charge, making him the fastest manager to reach that milestone in Premier League history. His title-rival Jurgen Klopp is the third-fastest to reach that mark, achieving it in his 65th home game in charge of Liverpool against Leicester in January.
Sandwiched between Guardiola and Klopp is another former Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, who took 56 home games to reach 150 goals. Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle side of the mid-90s is next on the list ahead of Chelsea’s Claudio Ranieri and Jose Mourinho.
|Team||Manager||Games taken to reach 150 goals at home|
|Manchester City||Pep Guardiola||54|
|Manchester City||Manuel Pellegrini||56|
|Manchester United||Sir Alex Ferguson||80|
City’s lucky charm?
Sterling’s hat-trick not only ensured City would stay top of the table, it also extended the champions’ remarkable run of winning every time the England forward scores.
City have won their last 26 games in which Sterling has found the back of the net, the second-longest run in the Premier League behind Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.
In fact, City have never lost when the former Liverpool man has been on the scoresheet, winning 36 and drawing one.
|Player||Consecutive games scored in and won|
A weekend of striking milestones
It was a good weekend to be a Premier League forward with five of the division’s most prolific marksmen reaching significant milestones.
Leading the way was Tottenham’s Harry Kane, whose strike against Southampton took him to 200 career goals for club and country. The 25-year-old has scored 184 times for Tottenham and England, with goals during loan spells at Millwall, Leicester and Leyton Orient completing his tally.
Saturday was also a significant day for Kane’s former England team-mate Jamie Vardy, who scored his 100th goal in all competitions for Leicester in their win over Fulham.
The 32-year-old is the first Foxes player to reach that landmark since Gary Lineker in 1985 and just the seventh player to do so in the club’s history.
Also bringing up a century was Glenn Murray, who scored his 100th league goal for Brighton against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The 35-year-old’s strike against Palace took him to 11 Premier League goals for the season, one short of the tally he achieved last campaign.
Those 23 goals equate to 35% of Brighton’s all-time Premier League total of 66, the highest proportion of any team’s goals by a player in the history of the competition.
Callum Wilson marked his return from injury by scoring the opener for Bournemouth in their 2-0 win at bottom club Huddersfield. That was Wilson’s 50th league goal for the Cherries in his 128th appearance since joining from Coventry in 2014.
Sadio Mane’s double in Liverpool’s 4-2 win over Burnley saw him reach 50 league goals in just 109 appearances for the Merseysiders.
One player who missed out on reaching his half-century, though, was Mane’s Reds team-mate Mohamed Salah, who remains stuck on 49 after failing to score for the fourth Premier League game.