One of the few heartening positives for West Ham die-hards travelling back to East London from a loyalty-testing four o’clock kick-off down at Southampton was another superheroic showing from goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
The Finn makes it into our top five Premier League custodians, friends to win-to-nil fiends and under 2.5 goals backers everywhere.
Jussi Jaaskelainen – West Ham
Sam Allardyce’s former Bolton mucker was a one-time Barcelona target and with the Hammers’ stopper topping the Premier League for saves last term* it’s not hard to see why.
His stellar performance at St Mary’s helped preserve his team’s third clean sheet in four league games this season and they can be backed 13/5 to deny Everton a goal in their next Premier League outing.
Asmir Begovic – Stoke City
Mark Hughes must have been chuckling to himself all the way through pre-season about the fact that no team had come in with a concerted effort to sign the Bosnian.
Begovic kept 12 clean sheets in 2012/13 as the City defence he stewarded finished seventh meanest in the Premier League and his performance at Anfield on the first day of the new campaign – where his 10 saves brought his side within a missed penalty of an unlikely point – show he’s retained every bit of his class this term.
Simon Mignolet – Liverpool
Saving the aforementioned penalty would have won over any remaining sceptics about the latest gloveman on the Anfield block.
Three clean sheets in as many league games for his new club come on the back of a 2012/13 campaign in which his 124 saves (the third most of any Premier League keeper) were vital for a Sunderland side that had the wherewithal to win just nine games.
The Belgian – incredibly his nation’s second choice in nets – is 7/4 to deny Swansea a goal when Liverpool come to visit.
Petr Cech – Chelsea
Being a keeper at one of the top clubs is a different kettle of fish to representing West Ham or Stoke, with the ability to stay awake during the long periods when the ball is a faintly visible dot all the more important.
In spite of this, Cech’s 96 per cent success rate when coming to claim the ball (along with a massive 28 punches) were vital to the Chelsea cause during a 2012/13 season in which their central defence was an often-shifting work in progress.
Hugo Lloris – Tottenham
Displacing Brad Friedel was never going to be easy, but the former Lyon man has well and truly achieved that feat and he’s shipped just one goal in six competitive outings so far in 2012/13.
Taking command of potentially confusing situations is one of the Frenchman’s best attributes as his 14 successful claims and four punches in four Premier League games show.
* All stats for this piece from Squawka.com