Top 10: Goalkeepers in Premier League history

The Premier League has seen many great goalkeepers throughout its history, here we have a look at the top 10

Tim Simon
Published 04/26/2013 09:14 by Tim Simon, read by 29,096 people.

The goalkeepers of the Premier League often get overlooked as people prefer to see goals scored rather than saved.

However there have been some truly incredible goalkeepers who have graced our shores. Here are my top 10 goalkeepers that the Premier League has seen:

10. Nigel Martyn

If Martyn had been around in a different era, he would have won a lot more than 23 England caps but his career ran parallel to that of David Seaman.

He began his Premier League career with Crystal Palace before eventually moving onto Leeds United and Everton.

The sides he turned out for passed all expectations, with Leeds reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2000 and at the time Everton recording their highest ever Premier League finish.

9. Mark Schwarzer

A Premier League stalwart who is rightly regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the history of the league, Schwarzer made his name at relegation threatened Middlesbrough. After joining them from Bradford in 1997, Schwarzer caught the nation’s eye with his phenomenal shot-stopping abilities and his sheer presence between the sticks.

After helping Middlesbrough survive, he then saved a crucial penalty in helping them qualify for the UEFA Cup. They also won the League Cup in 2004.

Now 40, he ply’s his trade at Fulham and despite his age he is still capable of winning matches for his side. 

8. David James

The man who has kept the most clean-sheets in the history of the league had to have a place among this list. However, James has also conceded the most goals too, a remarkable statistic.

This is down to the sheer longevity of the England internationals career. He played in the first ever Premier League season until he left Portsmouth in 2010. He originally gained a reputation for being extremely shaky in his time at Liverpool and after seven years at Anfield he had spells at Aston Villa, West Ham and Manchester City before joining Portsmouth.

At Fratton Park he moved up in everyone’s estimations, winning the FA Cup with the club and really showing off his class being a key member of the side.

7. Jussi Jaaskelainen

Another veteran of the league, Jussi Jaasekelainen is a Bolton legend. It would be easy to overlook Jussi due to the situation he found himself in at Bolton, regularly fighting relegation battles but he never ever let it get him down.

Over the years he has proved himself to be one of the best shot stoppers the league has seen and this helped him appear over 400 times in a Bolton shirt. You won’t find many harder working players than the Finland international.

He still plays in the league with West Ham, leaving Bolton after 15 years at the club to link up with his old boss Sam Allardyce.

6. Edwin van der Sar

If Van der Sar had played in the Premier League for a longer period of time he would surely be higher up this list. After making his name at Ajax in the 1990s, he joined Juventus in 1999 when he could have joined Manchester United.

He got pushed out of favour at the Old Lady due to the arrival of Gianluigi Buffon in 2001 so Fulham swooped in for his services. United then came back in for the Dutchman in 2005 and at Old Trafford he really rejuvenated his career.

He was an instant hit in Manchester with Sir Alex Ferguson proclaiming he was ‘the best keeper we have had since Peter Schmeichel.’

His commanding displays and incredible flexibility saw United win four titles and one Champions League during his time at the club. He will always be in their folklore following his heroics against Chelsea in 2008 in the final.

5. Shay Given

Given spent most of his career at Newcastle and is a hero on Tyneside, helping them qualify for Europe on several occasions. His character means he is one of the most likeable players in the league too.

Quite small in comparison to most goalkeepers, Given wasn’t the most secure between the sticks when he first came to the league but with experience proved himself to be one of the greatest shot stoppers you will see.

An incredible player, who after leaving Newcastle had a spell with Manchester City before joining current club Aston Villa.

4. Brad Friedel

Perhaps the most consistent goalkeeper in Premier League history, Friedel didn’t miss a single game for eight years between 2004 and 2012.

After originally signing for Liverpool in 1997, he struggled to make an impact. However, after moving to Blackburn three years later it was clear that the Anfield club had made a mistake in not having more faith in the American.

He was a massive success at Ewood Park and continued this form in a spell with Aston Villa before moving to Tottenham in 2011 which finally gave the White Hart Lane club a consistent goalkeeper.

3. Petr Cech

If Cech keeps one more clean-sheet in the league, he will hold the record for the most clean sheets with a single club. This statistic alone means he has to be one of the greatest keepers in the leagues history. Cech was an unknown when Chelsea signed him from Rennes but an injury to Carlo Cudicini meant he had to prove himself early.

He was an instant success and was regularly named amongst the game’s elite keepers. After taking a year out of the game following a life threatening injury to the head, Cech returned with a helmet on. Since then he has been so consistent between the sticks and he combines that with incredible shot stopping abilities. He is a fantastic goalkeeper who often doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

2. David Seaman

Working behind the most recognised back four in the league’s history, Seaman was always relied upon if his great defence was breached. No English goalkeeper could get close to Seaman when he was in his prime. He spent the majority of his career as England number one and is an Arsenal legend.

Seaman was capable of producing saves that not many goalkeepers would be able to pull off, he will be remembered in the Premier League for helping Arsenal win two league and cup doubles in 1998 and 2002. After leaving Highbury, Seaman had a brief spell at Manchester City before retirement.

1. Peter Schmeichel

What can you say about the imposing Dane? His sheer presence between the sticks will surely never be matched; there is no keeper in the history of the game that could organise a defence like Schmeichel could.

Remembered for his time with Manchester United where he won five Premier League titles, three FA Cups and a Champions League, including a famous Treble in 1999, Schmeichel was the most amazing goalkeeper the league has seen. Some of the saves he made were incomprehensible and is rightly placed as the best goalkeeper the league has seen.

After leaving Old Trafford he joined Sporting Lisbon but then returned to the league with Aston Villa, where he became the first goalkeeper to score in the league, before ending his career at Manchester City.


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