Premier League: José S: from the ‘controversy’ with Casillas to being the goalkeeper who saves the most in Europe

Jos Pedro Malheiro de S (Braga, 1-11-1993) went from ‘anonymity’ to becoming a ‘trending topic’ whenSuddenly, with the 2017-18 season already under way, I ‘sent’ Iker Casillas in Porto. A decision that generated a lot of controversy and was highly commented on both in Portugal and in Spain.

There was so much debate Casillas ended up recovering the position in the final stretch of the season and being decisive for Porto to win the first League of the ‘Conceiao era’. Moreover, José S, having finished the course, chose to go to Olympiacos -first on loan and then transferred- looking for minutes

In Greece he won two Leagues and a Cup and distinguished himself as one of the goalkeepers with the fewest goals in Europe: He played 124 games, conceded 89 goals and finished unbeaten 62 times.

One of the signings of the season in the Premier

But ‘Olympus’ was too small for him and José S decided to head for England. Wolverhampton paid 6.8 million last summer to ‘take over’ from his compatriot Rui Patrcio in the Molineux goalkeeper and the Portuguese goalkeeper He has become one of the great signings of the season in the Premier League.

The goalkeeper who saves the most in Europe

Much of the blame for Wolverhampton (8, 49 points) still having European aspirations belongs to Jos S. The former Martimo, Porto and Olympiacos player has put the ‘bolt’ on the ‘wolves’ goalkeeper: he has conceded 27 goals in 31 Premier games and has kept a clean sheet 11 times. Only Ederson (17), Alisson (17) and Ramsdale (12) surpass him in the fight for the Premier’s ‘Gold Glove’.

However, José S has been much more demanding. Wolverhampton’s number 1 is the goalkeeper who has cleared the most balls (18) and the third who makes the most stops in the Premier (103). What’s more, according to ‘Fbref’, it has the best percentage of saves (82.8%) of the five major leagues in Europe. They are followed by Walter Bentez (Nice) with 82.4 and Yassine Bounou (Seville) with 80.6%.

In any case, there is a fact that speaks even more clearly about the season of the ‘wolves’ goalkeeper. Yes is the goalkeeper with the most ‘expected goals’(probability of a shot being scored based on a number of factors)from all over Europe. According to this advanced statistics metric from ‘Fbref’, he should have conceded 10.7 more goals than he has conceded. A real barbarity! Second on the list is David de Gea. The Spanish goalkeeper of Manchester United has avoided 10.5 sung goals.

“He arrived with the responsibility of replacing Rui Patrcio and is leaving his ‘mark’ in the best League in the world. Everybody talks about what he is achieving”, points out his coach Bruno Lage.

He arrived with the responsibility of replacing Rui Patrcio and is leaving his ‘mark’ in the best League in the world

Bruno Lage

Curiously, Lage and S coincided in the Benfica youth academy: “I’ve known him since he was 16-17 years old, before he had a beard. He never worked with me, but I knew of his potential. He was a kid before and now he’s a ‘top’ goalkeeper.”

A bastion also with the feet

José S, who played right back until he was 13, doesn’t just shine with his hands. His contribution with his feet is also important. He is, not in vain, the goalkeeper who has generated the most scoring chances (3) in the Premier.

“Just as our forwards are important in defence, the goalkeeper is important to start the game from the back. If the goalkeeper stays in the goal, the gap with the defenders gets bigger”, confessed Bruno Lage to ‘Sky Sports’.

Just as our forwards are important in defense, the goalkeeper is important to start the game from the back.

Bruno Lage

Pedro Martins, key in his career

José S now enjoys success… but it wasn’t always like that. During his time at Martimo and Porto, between 2012 and 2018, he barely accumulated 51 games in the elite.

“I worked with him in 2014-15 at Martimo. He would be about 22 years old. He wasn’t our starting goalkeeper, but it looked like he was in good shape. At that time what he needed was to play to grow”, remembers his former coach Leonel Pontes to ‘Express & Star’.

A continuity that, really, did not reach until he signed for Olympiacos in 2018. “Pedro Martins had been the coach of José S in the Martimo reserve team and he was the one who took him to Greece. He needed to play to show how good a goalkeeper he is. It was impossible for him to have a good career as a substitute and at Olympiacos he got the experience he needed.”

Even Pedro Martins was surprised by his evolution: “I gave him the opportunity to play at Martimo and right now he is at a superb level that I honestly had doubts he would ever reach. He has a lot of quality and has experienced tremendous growth”, admits the Olympiacos coach in an interview with ‘Mais Futebol’ in February 2020.

I gave him the opportunity to play at Martimo and right now he is at a superb level that I honestly had doubts he would ever reach.

Peter Martin

Holder with Portugal?

The good moment of José S does not correspond, however, with the ‘status’ that he holds in his country. The Wolverhampton goalkeeper was left out of Portugal’s play-off list. Fernando Santos preferred Rui Patrcio, Diogo Costa and Anthony Lopes. However, the loss of the latter due to injury finally opened the doors for him.

In any case, he has not yet made his debut in an official match with the ‘Seleao’ and it seems unlikely that he will start in Qatar 2022. “Replacing Rui Patrcio is not easy. I think he is one of the best in the world in his position. For me, he is in the top 10”assures Leonel Pontes.

Replacing Rui Patrcio is not easy. I think he is one of the best in the world in his position. For me, it’s in the ‘top 10

Leonel Pontes