Having an excellent goalkeeper between the sticks is a significant boost to a team’s confidence. From penalty saving instances to out-of-the-world goalkeeping stands, goalkeepers play a massive role in a team’s overall performance.
Clean sheets are arguably the major key points through which goalkeepers are evaluated. The Premier League has the rise and fall of the best goalkeepers in the world. Through its inception in 1992, the Premier League has been home to the best goalkeepers attracting the best talents across the globe.
The premier league has been in inception since 1992 and has seen both the 90’s goalkeepers and the 20’s goalkeepers. Below is a list of the 15 greatest Premier League goalkeepers of all time.
1. Petr Cech
- Matches: 443
- Goals Conceded: 367
- Clean Sheets: 202
- Played For: Chelsea, Arsenal
Undoubtedly the best EPL goalkeeper with 202 clean sheets across 443 matches and a high clean sheet percentage of 45.60%.
Cech has managed two consecutive clean sheet runs in 2006/07 and 2004/05, where he kept 8 and 10 successive clean sheets, respectively. Stunning saves and having won the premier league four times makes him the No. 1 goalkeeper to have ever graced the premier league.
He featured in two premier league teams of the year in the 2004/05 season & 2013/14 season, while taking home the golden glove in 4 times. Cech faced a life-threatening injury in which he fractured his skull, which left him out for three months (that’s why he wears a helmet).
After a short spell with Arsenal, Peter Cech announced his retirement from football and is now a technical and performance advisor at Chelsea.
2. Peter Schmeichel
- Matches: 310
- Goals Conceded: 287
- Clean Sheets: 129
- Played For: Manchester United, Manchester City, Aston Villa
Arguably the best goalkeeper in the 90s that ever graced the premier league. He played in 3 different teams, but his star shone at Manchester United, where he got to be among the best goalkeepers. The legendary goalkeeper was the first-ever goalkeeper in the premier league to score a goal at Aston Villa, making nine clean sheets.
However, his nine years at Manchester United gave him the accolade of the best goalkeeper in the premier league winning 5 premier league titles, 3 FA Cups and was among the 1999 treble-winning team. He is iconic for his star-shaped saves, sling-like clearances to the ball, and solid between the sticks.
The Dane well-organized his defense line and garnered 128 clean sheets in 310 appearances in the Premier League. He was the only Premier League goalkeeper with the most number of titles and never went trophyless in any of his seasons. Having played in both ends of Manchester, Peter retired from football in April 2003 and joined the BBC as a football pundit.
3. David Seaman
- Matches: 344
- Goals Conceded: 290
- Clean Sheets: 145
- Played For: Arsenal, Manchester City
The first English goalkeeper to grace this list as he is also regarded as the most consistent goalkeeper. He made his mark at Arsenal, where he produced brilliant saves in a well-organizing defense line that was solid. Seaman won 3 Premier Leagues and 4 FAs at Arsenal and goes on to be the second-most capped English goalkeeper.
The Englishman was able to garner 141 clean sheets and a goalkeeping percentage of 40.99%. He is known for his composure, reliability, and rebound control on balls, which led to him being nicknamed Safe Hands Seaman.
Seaman is among the top four all-time goalkeepers with the most clean sheets, and twice the led the clean sheet ladder in the 1993/94 season with 20 and 1999/2000 with 19. He retired from football at the age of 40 in January 2004.
4. Edwin Van Der Sar
- Matches: 313
- Goals Conceded: 302
- Clean Sheets: 136
- Played For: Manchester United, Fulham
A familiar name from Old Trafford graces our list of the best in the Premier League. He was a tall figure from Netherlands and whose career picked up when he was too old. At the age of 34, Van Der Sar made his Manchester United debut to be the epitome of his success in the Premier League.
However, the Dutchman had already made his Premier League debut with Fulham, in which he helped them extend their stay in the premier league before making his move to Old Trafford. He made 42 clean sheets out of the 127 appearances he had at Fulham.
At United, Van Der Sar rekindled his career with 4 Premier League titles, four domestic titles, and the champions league in 2008.
He was the only goalkeeper with more consecutive clean sheets at 14 (15th November 2008 to 18th February 2009) and the oldest premier league titleholder when he lifted it aged 40. The ‘flying Dutchman’ last match went down in defeat as United lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the 2011 UEFA Champions League final.
Van Der Sar has won significant individual honors and was in the premier league team of the year three times (2006/07, 2008/09, and 2010/11) and the golden glove award in the 2008/09 season.
5. Pepe Reina
- Matches: 297
- Goals Conceded: 267
- Clean Sheets: 136
- Played For: Liverpool, Aston Villa
With 136 clean sheets out of 297 Premier League appearances, the Spaniard makes it to the top five. A clean sheet percentage of 45.79% makes him the top-rated goalkeeper above Cech, as he achieved the feat with fewer games.
Rafa Benitez brought in the Spaniard and branded him as the best Spanish goalkeeper, which mounted a lot of pressure on Reina. He lived up to the expectation as he became the first-ever goalkeeper to win three consecutive golden glove awards (2006-2008) and win the player of the season award in the 2009/10 season for Liverpool.
Reina won the FA and Community shield during his time at Liverpool and made a return to the premier league with Aston Villa keeping two clean sheets in 12 matches, helping them avoid relegation.
6. Tim Howard
- Matches: 399
- Goals Conceded: 427
- Clean Sheets: 133
- Played For: Everton, Manchester United
The American goalkeeper is known for his baldness and signature beard. He was brought in at Manchester United in their search to replacing the great Peter Schmeichel, and Howard seemed the best replacement when he benched the then first-choice goalkeeper Fabien Barthez.
He would later win the FA, Community Shield, in which he saved a decisive penalty against Arsenal and the League Cup. Individually, he was included in the PFA Team of the Year 2003/04 season.
Howard would later be drop after just 16 clean sheets with the Red Devils in 45 appearances but would later bounce back with a loan move at Everton, which later became permanent and in which he made 116 clean sheets in 354 appearances.
7. Joe Hart
- Matches: 340
- Goals Conceded: 383
- Clean Sheets: 127
- Played For: Manchester City, Birmingham City, West Ham United, Burnley
The English goalkeeper became a sensation to City in their growth towards being two-time premier league champions. City signed him in 2006 at the age of 19 and later released him on loan to Birmingham City, where he made an incredible run of games with ten clean sheets.
The outstanding performance earned him included in the 2009/10 PFA Team of the Year, and City recalled him to the first team. He replicated his fine form, where he took home three consecutive golden gloves from 2011 to 2013. All through, he was able to garner 127 clean sheets across 340 games in the Premier League.
8. David James
- Matches: 572
- Goals Conceded: 665
- Clean Sheets: 172
- Played For: Liverpool, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Man City, West Ham
David James comes second in the Premier League Clean sheet chart after Petr Cech with 169 clean sheets, although with the most games (572).
An excellent shot-stopper and the first Premier League goalkeeper for Liverpool was not left out with mistakes as his time at Liverpool was mixed with good and bad. James did rejuvenate his career at Portsmouth, where he also faced a mix of fortunes.
9. David De Gea
- Matches: 346
- Goals Conceded: 352
- Clean Sheets: 124
- Played For: Manchester United
The Spaniard was the heir to the throne that Van Der Sar left. United signed the Spaniard for a then British record of £18.9 million. Settling in Manchester was not easy for the young Spaniard, but he came to claim the number one goalkeeper with time.
He is well known for making 13 saves in a single match against Arsenal in 2017, and he went on to claim the golden glove in 2017/18.
De Gea has grown to be a prolific figure at United despite having two bad seasons where most of his errors led to the team’s poor performance. He, however, has five inclusions in the PFA Team of the Year (2012-13, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17 & 2017-18) and one premier league title.
10. Shay Given
- Matches: 451
- Goals Conceded: 607
- Clean Sheets: 116
- Played For: Newcastle, Man City, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Stoke City
The Irish goalkeeper comes in number 13 in the top premier league with the highest number of clean sheets and 113 clean sheets across the 5 Premier League clubs he played for.
His short stature may have made him struggle from crosses, but his shot-stopping ability made him a hero at Newcastle, where he helped the team secure European football.
Newcastle was relegated from the premier league when he left the club, showing how instrumental he was in keeping them in the premier league.
11. Mark Schwarzer
- Matches: 514
- Goals Conceded: 653
- Clean Sheets: 153
- Played For: Middlesbrough, Fulham, Chelsea, Leicester City
The Australian goalkeeper comes in 3rd in the PL Clean sheet chart with 151 clean sheets in 514 matches. He is well-known for his heroics at Middlesbrough that helped the team qualify for European football.
His last-minute penalty save against Manchester City’s Robbie Fowler in 2004/05 ensured a draw enough to grant Middlesbrough qualification into the UEFA Cup.
His shot-stopping ability while under pressure makes him outstanding and irreplaceable. He is the highest-appearing non-Brit in the premier league history with 514 appearances.
12. Jens Lehmann
- Matches: 148
- Goals Conceded: 125
- Clean Sheets: 55
- Played For: Arsenal FC
The German had a short spell in the Premier League with Arsenal as he was brought in to replace David Seaman. The shoes were too big for the German as Seaman had built a reputation as the number one goalkeeper and a prolific shot-stopper. Jens did take time to fill the shoes with the remarkable 148 appearances for Arsenal.
He remains the only premier league goalkeeper to have ever gone a whole season without being beaten in the invincible 2003/04 season that saw Arsenal win the league without defeat. He only conceded 26 goals and kept 15 clean sheets in the 2003/04 season.
13. Hugo Lloris
- Matches: 303
- Goals Conceded: 328
- Clean Sheets: 107
- Played For: Tottenham Hotspur
The Frenchman is a prolific goalkeeper at Spurs, having joined the club in 2012. He has 107 clean sheets in his 303 appearances for the Spurs and boosts a 35.31% premier league pure sheet percentage.
Despite having a weak defense, Lloris has been able to propel spurs into being title challengers from just a middle table team. His shot-stopping ability has made him make stunning saves.
14. Brad Friedel
- Matches: 450
- Goals Conceded: 567
- Clean Sheets: 132
- Played For: Blackburn, Aston Villa, Tottenham, Liverpool
The American goalkeeper made his premier league debut at Liverpool but made his mark at Blackburn Rovers, where he kept 77 clean sheets and in 2003 was named the PL Player of the year as a result of the 15 clean sheets he kept.
He left for Aston Villa in 2008, where he continued with his brilliant performances attracting attention from Spurs, who later signed him.
15. Nigel Martyn
- Matches: 372
- Goals Conceded: 410
- Clean Sheets: 141
- Played For: Leeds United, Everton FC, Crystal Palace
Setting the record as the most expensive goalkeeper twice and being the first goalkeeper to have been sold at one million pounds, Martyn garnered a good reputation at both Leeds and Everton that earned him English call-ups.
He made 372 appearances in which he had 141 clean sheets and a 36.83% clean sheet percentage. In 2000, he helped Leeds finish 3rd in the Premier League (their highest ever) and book a spot in European football.
Greatest Premier League players on other positions: