Robert Sanchez brought up a half century of Premier League appearances for the Albion when he started against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
The Spaniard becomes the third Albion academy graduate to make this number of Premier League appearances for the club (after Lewis Dunk – 159 and Solly March – 129). The Cartagena-born ‘keeper is one of 14 players to be given a Premier League debut by Graham Potter when aged 23 or younger.
Brighton‘s U23 Premier League debutants under Potter (age):— Albion Analytics (@AlbionAnalytics) November 23, 2021
🇩🇪 Khadra (19)
🇮🇪 Connolly (19)
🏴 Richards (20)
🇦🇷 Mac Allister (21)
🇮🇪 Molumby (21)
🇨🇭 Zeqiri (21)
🇵🇱 Moder (21)
🇨🇴 Alzate (21)
🏴 White (22)
🇪🇸 Sanchez (22)
🇫🇷 Maupay (22)
🇪🇸 Cucurella (23)
🇿🇲 Mwepu (23)#BHAFC pic.twitter.com/bpFSYkr86I
This season, Sanchez (2069) is one of just four 1997 (or later) born goalkeepers to have registered over 2000 minutes. His 50 Premier League appearances have seen as many wins as losses (14) and more clean sheets than games lost (17 versus 14), with draws in almost half (22). In his debut Premier League season, only Ederson, Edouard Mendy and Emi Martinez could better Sanchez’s clean sheet rate (37%); Brighton took 31 points from 27 games with Sanchez between the sticks in 2020/21.
Robert Sanchez’s (‘98) 20/21 Premier League season by numbers:— Albion Analytics (@AlbionAnalytics) August 12, 2021
2,430 minutes played
71.3% save percentage
37% clean sheet rate
24 punches + high claims
14 sweeper-keeper actions
4.8 additional goals prevented
Arms wide if you’re one of the best U23 GKs in Europe. 🇪🇸#BHAFC pic.twitter.com/eP0CwtNs3g
Impressively, Sanchez has shipped just 50 goals in 50 games (1 per game), with the Seagulls scoring 51 in that time and subsequently earning 64 points (1.28PPG) from those games.
Robert Sanchez ranked among Europe top 5 league GKs (born 1997 or later) this season:— Albion Analytics (@AlbionAnalytics) December 27, 2021
1st for passes (619)
1st for cross stop rate (15.2%)
2nd for additional goals saved (+2.1)
2nd for sweeper-keeper actions (20)
3rd for save % (78%)
3rd for clean sheet % (37.5%)
In game 50, Sanchez saved five of the seven United shots on target he was faced with, including four saves from shots inside the box, whilst completing 72% of his passes, a better completion rate than opposition ‘keeper and compatriot David de Gea, despite Sanchez kicking higher and longer more frequently.
SofaScore’s player rating algorithm has Sanchez’s best of his 50 appearances coming in the 2-0 home win against Brentford on Boxing Day of this season. As per StatsBomb data, that night Sanchez saved all five shots on target, preventing an additional goal (based on xG), stopping two crosses and completing 23/36 passes attempted.
His outstanding shot-stopping ability and 1v1 performances have seen him boast save percentages among the top eight goalkeepers in both Premier League seasons – 76% this season, an improvement from 71% last season.
Esta temporada, Robert Sánchez del Brighton ha evitado más de cinco goles más que razonablemente puede esperarse de un portero medio dada la calidad de los tiros a los que se ha enfrentado pic.twitter.com/MkVWmq1ehf— StatsBombES (@StatsBombES) May 24, 2021
That said, not every shot is equal in terms of quality, thus xG data can be used to work out the goals a goalkeeper prevents above the average (effectively the reverse of using xG to evaluate a striker’s finishing).
Across 50 games, Sanchez has prevented 6 extra goals than an average goalkeeper, and over the last year he ranks inside the top third of top five EU league goalkeepers in this metric, save percentage (72.2%) and defensive actions outside his box (one every 107 minutes). The triple threat – shot-stopping, box defending and distribution – is what makes Sanchez so valuable. Across the same time frame, he ranks inside the top 15% of Europe’s most elite goalkeepers for proportion of crosses stopped (10.4%), and inside the top 5% for passes (36.3 per game).
50 games up for Robert Sanchez this week. He's stopped the most crosses (27) and boasts the highest cross stop % (13.4%) of any Premier League goalkeeper this season.— Albion Analytics (@AlbionAnalytics) February 16, 2022
The graphic is from earlier this season, but he truly dominates his 6-yard box.@StatsBomb#BHAFC pic.twitter.com/DuCaVwjCbH
Of course, the Spanish international does benefit from Brighton’s build-from-the-back style, but he did set an Opta record for most passes completed (58) by a goalkeeper in a Premier League game – his three chances created are only bettered by Wolves’ Jose Sa (4) among ‘keepers in England’s top-flight this season. Whilst that stat may seem superfluous, they are evidence of his ability and technique execution to bypass an entire defence with one pass.