Arsenal’s goalkeeper, David Ospina, is 1.83m (about 6 feet) tall, but is this enough for the Premier League? Well, according to the media it’s not.
Last week, The Guardian published an article summarising some mentions of Ospina’s height in British media. It’s called ‘In praise of short(er) goalkeepers”, and it is worth a read.
But is he that short?
Well…yes, a little bit.
The average height for a Premier League goalie is 1.91m (6.3 feet), and Ospina is 8 cm shorter than that.
To be fair, the Premier League and the Bundesliga have the tallest keepers among the 5 major European competitions. Compared to other leagues he performs a little bit better. For example, in Spain there is a tradition of short goalkeepers. The average is just 1.86m (still, 3cm more than Ospina) and the keepers of the 4 main teams are not particularly tall. In fact, Claudio Bravo, from Barcelona, and Iker Casillas, from Real Madrid, are both below the average height! And, as you can see in the chart below, keepers of Atlético and Valencia are not much taller.
The shortest first-choice goalie in La Liga and in all 5 major leagues* is Sergio Álvarez, from Celta de Vigo (La Liga) and he is only 1.77. I’m taller than that!
Does it really matter?
Well, height might be considered a good quality for a goalie, but it’s not essential. In the chart below I have put together the top 10 goalkeepers in the 5 major leagues with the lowest number of goals conceded per game and their height. As you can see, David Ospina is between them and he is not the only short one. Yann Sommer, who plays for Borussia Mönchengladbach, is the exactly same height. Claudio Bravo, the keeper with the lowest number of goals conceded per match, is just 1 cm taller.
Most keepers are tall, but you don’t need to be a giant to be among the best.
*5 major leagues are Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1