Newcastle picked up an advantage in their Carabao Cup semifinal matchup with Southampton on Tuesday. The Magpies beat the Saints on the road 1-0 on the night. They will now have an edge when the two teams meet up at St. James’ Park next week to decide which club moves on to the cup final.

The match was Newcastle’s 16th clean sheet in 26 total games so far this season. While keeping a clean sheet is certainly a team effort, goalkeeper Nick Pope deserves massive credit for the impressive record. In fact, Pope has helped keep a clean sheet in 10th-consecutive matches in all competitions. The England international was not between the sticks for the club’s 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the month.

Teammate, opposing coach praise Nick Pope as top goalkeeper

Following the Southampton match, Pope’s teammate Bruno Guimaraes gave the keeper some high praise. “I’d like to say thank you to Nick Pope, he has been brilliant for us. He is the best goalkeeper in the world,” proclaimed the Brazilian midfielder.

Southampton head coach Nathan Jones also complimented Pope following his team’s loss on Tuesday. “There isn’t a better goalkeeper in the league, in terms of what you need to be a goalkeeper, using your hands, he’s categorically the best in the league,” said Jones.

Keeper has been one of the signings of the season

Pope has been a smash hit since his $12.5 million move from Burnley in the summer. The Magpies currently sit third in the Premier League table and have allowed the fewest goals in the entire top flight (11). Pope has obviously been a major factor in Newcastle’s rejuvenation. The 30-year-old keeper currently leads the league in clean sheets as well.

Along with clean sheets, Pope also has impressive save percentage statistics as well. His 83.9% save rate is far and away tops among all Premier League goalkeepers. The closest shot-stopper in England’s top flight with at least 15 appearances is Fulham’s Bernd Leno with a save rate of 77.1%.

Newcastle fans will be hoping that Pope and his stingy defense can keep the club in Champions League contention. The Magpies have not played a top European competition game since 2003.

PHOTO: IMAGO / News Images