With Cameroonian international Carlos Kameni firmly established as Malaga’s No. 1, Guillermo Ochoa elected to accept a season-long loan to fellow La Liga side Granada in July. This is Granada’s sixth consecutive season in the Spanish top-flight, an achievement they haven’t bettered since a run from 1968-76. If they’re to maintain their status in La Liga, they’ll have Ochoa to thank.
When the Mexican international arrived looking for more action, he couldn’t have foreseen just how much he’d face. Ochoa has made 79 saves this season, the most in La Liga. He’s also made an incredible amount of saves from inside the box, 62.
Guillermo Ochoa: Has made at least 19 more saves (62) from shots taken inside the box than any other goalkeeper in La Liga this season pic.twitter.com/z5nEtiTSwT— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 25, 2017
The bad news for Ochoa and Granada is that they have the joint-worst defensive record in the league. They’ve given up 42 goals in 19 matches, a mark only matched by bottom-dwelling Osasuna. For Ochoa, that means he’s giving up, on average, 2.21 goals per game.
As Ochoa fights to win his place back from Alfredo Talavera as Mexico’s first-choice goalkeeper under Juan Carlos Osorio, these numbers paint a conflicting picture of Ochoa’s season.
It’s not dissimilar to what USMNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan experienced last year with Aston Villa. Villa were ultimately relegated from the Premier League, and Guzan now finds himself playing deputy to Victor Valdes at Middlesbrough.
Granada look doomed for relegation. They’ve managed only a solitary win in 19 games and 10 points. They’re eight points behind Leganes and safety, a gap that looks all but insurmountable given the team’s struggles this season.
Ochoa’s contract with Malaga expires in August, and it’ll be interesting to see where the 31-year-old goes from there.