Open in App
Sunderland Nation

Is Sunderland youngster Anthony Patterson ready for the Premier League?

By Michael Graham,


What do the statistics say about Anthony Patterson's current level amid reports of Leicester and Wolves interest?

Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson is reportedly a £10million summer target for Premier League duo Leicester and Wolves.

In truth, young players being targeted by clubs higher in the food chain is something Sunderland fans are just going to have to get used to. Actually selling them is also going to be something we learn to accept.

It is no surprise to see the Sunderland goalkeeper linked with Premier League clubs in truth. He has become a consistent performer and his talent is there for all to see.

What about Anthony Patterson in the here and now, though? How does he compare to other Championship goalkeepers and is he even remotely ready for Premier League football yet?

Shot stopping

It will always be the main job, right? Saves. Stopping shots. Keeping the ball out of the net.

And, when it comes to that, Anthony Patterson is, well, pretty average right now as it turns out.

Patterson has faced a total of 101 shots on target this season and he has stopped 69 of them. That’s… not great. It means he has stopped 67.3% of shots this season. It’s about middle of the road, although closer to the bottom of the middle than the top of it.

Rotherham’s Viktor Johansson leads the way with a very impressive 117 saves from 155 shots, which is a save percentage of 75.5%.

One obvious caveat is that it is not about how many saves you make, but which ones you do – and when. There are big moments in games, pivotal moments, and Patterson does tend to come up big during them more often than not.

Dealing with crosses

It feels like a regular criticism of Anthony Patterson is that he doesn’t ‘dominate’ his area enough when it comes to crosses. That, though, appears to be a criticism without foundation.

In fact, the data will tell you that only one goalkeeper, Birmingham’s John Ruddy, has stopped a greater percentage of crosses than Patterson has this season.

Of the 460 crosses that have rained into the Sunderland box, Patterson has successfully intercepted 44 of them. No goalkeeper can claim a bigger number.

It means Patterson has stopped 9.6% of the crosses played into the Sunderland box this season, just a slither short of Ruddy’s 9.7%

When you consider Ruddy is 36-years-old and Patterson 14 years his junior, it’s clear that Patterson is well ahead of the curve in terms of how well he dominates his box. It’s certainly not a weakness.


Where you stand on this one probably depends on what you want from your goalkeeper. If you want a lively, modern goalkeeper who thinks nothing of leaving his box, then Patterson is not delivering.

If, though, you prefer a traditionalist safety-first goalkeeper who prefers to remain in his box unless it is absolutely necessary, then Patterson is doing brilliantly.

He has made just 22 defensive actions outside of his penalty area this season. That’s low. In fact it doesn’t even happen, on average, once per game. Ruddy is again top here with 68.

The unmeasurable stuff

Not everything can be measured in statistics, of course. How boring would it be if it could?

You speak to anyone who has worked closely with Patterson and the word ‘temperament’ comes up more than anything.

For me, the goalkeeper sets the tone for the rest of the team. A jittery, erratic goalkeeper makes for a jittery, erratic defence, and it spreads like wildfire through the other players.

With Patterson, the opposite is true. He is a calming presence behind the team and you can see by the way they play that they trust him.

He also responds brilliantly to mistakes and, as Tony Mowbray says, ‘nothing fazes him.’ In terms of his temperament, there is no question that Patterson is elite.

Is Anthony Patterson ready for the Premier League?

If Leicester and Wolves are looking at him, you’d be surprised to see them move for him this summer.

Right now, Patterson is a quality goalkeeper, but one that comes with occasional mistakes and he is yet to develop a complete game.

The tools are all there, and he will almost certainly have a Premier League career, but he’s not going to get there by sitting on a Premier League bench for the next couple of years.

A couple more seasons of regular football, though, and he will likely be one of the top goalkeepers in the country.

Read more Sunderland news

Expand All
Comments / 0
Add a Comment
Most Popular newsMost Popular

Comments / 0