After his recent performance against Manchester United in the Europa League, FC Copenhagen‘s Karl-Johan Johnsson seems to be a keeper in demand and spotlight and appreciation has been pouring from all fronts for the Swedish international.
In this scout report, we will be looking at his goal-keeping tactics and also a small comparison with another keeper. This tactical analysis will also include some data analysis. Let’s begin the analysis.
Shot stopping ability
The most crucial aspect of any top goal-keeper is to stop the ball from finding the back of the net. Without saying much, it is undoubtedly one of the toughest jobs in the world where a keeper must give his all to ensure that his team doesn’t concede the goal. Johnsson has faced a post-shot xG of 54.99 goals this season but has significantly outperformed it by conceding just 45 goals which are almost 10 goals less than what is expected of him.
We can see the shot map consisting of the shots that he has faced in this season. The shots are quite evenly spread across different zones, both horizontally and vertically. The blue diamonds are the ones which he conceded, and the red circles are the ones which he saved. We can see a lot of high xG shots being saved to his right-hand side (for us it’s the left). This is because he is right-handed, and the stretch gives him full control to save those. Contrastingly, to his left, we can see a lot of goals being scored this is again due to the fact that he uses his right-hand to save those and when saving shots to his left he cannot stretch his right-hand to the maximum. Hence he concedes some of them.
Another interesting technique of Johnsson is his stance while facing a shot. You can find that many top goalkeepers lower their back to ensure that they are well-versed to save low shots with their hands. Johnsson also seems to have the same technique where he lowers his back to ensure that the opponent struggles to find past him when they attempt a low shot.
In the image above we can see that him lowering his back even before Anthony Martial tries to get inside the box. This gives him the ability to save low shots that are shot with immense power. He also comes off his line at the right time. This is one place where many keepers in the world tend to make an error. They make wrong judgements about when to leave their guard and close down the angle to the shooting player. If this run is even a second late then might be caught off guard and will eventually concede a goal. But here Johnsson is very good about making the right call.
He comes off his line just when Martial is trying to escape off the pressure from the other players and hence makes it further tough for the Frenchman by reducing his goal-scoring angle. Another example where he does it again by coming off his line and applying pressure on the opponent player is given below.
The above example is even riskier considering that the near post is left vacant, but Johnsson does his best to stretch his body in line to considerably reduce the angle for Martial to find the back of the net. His performances against Manchester United were flawless that day where he went on to make 13 saves and took the game to extra-time only for him to lose against a penalty.
We talked about him lowering his back to help him deal with low shots, but it also helps him deal with long-range shots or high shots. In the example below, we can see him bending even when the ball is outside the box and when Martial shoots, he still keeps his back lower. So when he decides to rise his back along with his thigh muscles pushes him further and helps to fly even faster in the air, thus thwarting a great chance. The black line is the half-way vertical point of the goal, and he is below that.
Johnsson is also good at shutting down penalty kicks. Out of nine penalties that he has faced this season, he has been able to shut three of them which is pretty good for a keeper. The following image consists of his penalty shot map from the 2015 season.
Again the penalty shot map shows that he favours shots to his right-hand side and has saved a good amount of shots targeted at that side. Even in the match against Manchester United, he guessed Bruno Fernandes’s penalty the right way despite not being able to make contact.
Copenhagen is a team that mixes a good amount of short passes along with a pinch of directness in their games. In certain games, they try to go long against teams that press with much intensity, but there are games where they go with building out from the back.
We can see his distribution map in the above image, that there a variety of passes. Well, it looks most of them are long passes some of the short passes are hidden inside. When we go deeper, we find that he has attempted 46 passes that are less than 20m in the distance, 66 passes that are in between 20-30m and 232 passes longer than 30m. His long pass accuracy is also good at 72.67%. He is one of the very few keepers who contributes well to the attack too. He has an xG buildup of 3.43 which is one of the highest in the league. This is a good example of him playing a part in the team’s attack as the accuracy in his passes are well used by Copenhagen.
He is also very good at spraying passes with his hand and those passes have an xG chain of 3.43. The image below shows the passes sprayed by him with his hands. One of them even goes past the half-way line to find his teammate giving a Peter Schmeichel vibe here.
Like other contemporary modern keepers, Johnsson is capable of performing sweeping duties by coming off his line and clearing the ball before any potential danger. In the Superliga, he averages around 2.16 sweeps per 90. The image shows the location of his sweeps and technically it is every surrounding the penalty area.
Command over the penalty box
If there is a glitch in his ability as a keeper that would be his command of the penalty box. During set-pieces, he doesn’t come out well and punches the ball. The same goes for crosses too where he doesn’t collect the crosses that are put inside the box and it eventually leads to a shot. Though this hasn’t cost him as he was able to thwart those attempts and save them, sometime down the lane it might cost his team. We can see a multitude of the crosses and set-piece deliveries he has faced has resulted in shots. Where for some of them that could have been easily avoided.
We can see that he has attempted some actions when the ball reaches his area but then again he does fail in some of his attempts and also he doesn’t step out to clear some of the dangers posted there. His aerial duels stat also suggest the same that he attempts only 0.42 duels per 90 which is the 26th best in the entire league, winning only 84.2% of them despite having keeper privilege that helps him to reach higher with his arms. In the following chart which compares the aerial duels per 90 and the success rate of all the keepers in the league. We can see that Johnsson has below average stats with respect to the league in both the cases.
Considering that he is 30, an age where most of the goalkeepers give world-class and matured performances, he can surely be a bargain option for many top clubs in Europe. His market value according to Transfermarkt is at one million euros but the value would have gone up after his recent performance against Manchester United. But still, he would be valued less than the likes of Andre Onana of Ajax and Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid, both of whom are targets of Chelsea. He would surely be a good bargain when compared against the likes of Oblak and Onana.
The above radar chart compares the stats between the two players. The blue filled chart is of Johnsson’s and the red filled chart is of Kepa’s. Though they play in a different league we can see that Johnsson seems to have outperformed Kepa in all but the aerial duels percentage. Especially that Johnsson has outperformed his post-shot xG and has conceded less than he is supposed to concede while Kepa has done the exact opposite that has almost cost Chelsea their UEFA Champions League spot. So he can be a worthy replacement for Kepa and also a cheap one.
Karl-Johan Johnsson seems to be one of the best keepers in the Scandinavian regions and also one of the most talked-about players after his heroics against Manchester United in the Europa League. He may not end up at a big club due to his entry into the 30s but he can surely find suitors in any of the top leagues this summer.