The retiring Petr Cech holds the most clean sheets – but not the record for the highest percentage of games ending in a shut-out…
10) Mark Bosnich – 38.9%
Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea
Played: 208. Clean sheets: 81. Conceded: 205. Minutes per goal conceded: 89.
The Australia keeper, a former United trainee, was Sir Alex Ferguson’s first attempt at replacing Peter Schemichel. It didn’t work and nor did the subsequent four or five attempts. But his failure to fit in at United or Chelsea shouldn’t overshadow entirely Bosnich’s fine early work or his achievement in making this list, with 87% of his Premier League career being spent at Aston Villa.
9) Ed de Goey – 39%
Played: 123. Clean sheets: 48. Conceded: 116. Minutes per goal conceded: 95.
The Dutchman, whose ‘tache rivalled David Seaman’s as the finest in goalkeeping, became the most expensive stopper in England when he joined Chelsea from Feyenoord. As a seasoned international, De Goey initially took his time acclimatising to the Premier League but once the then-31-year-old settled, he helped Chelsea win the FA Cup, League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup before being usurped by his understudy, Carlo Cudicini.
8) Manuel Almunia – 40.4%
Played: 109. Clean sheets: 44. Conceded: 99. Minutes per goal conceded: 99.
The Spaniard spent three seasons as Arsene Wenger’s No.1, which for some supporters is at least two too many. After eventually wrenching the gloves from Jen Lehmann in 2007-08, Almunia had a creditable year to earn himself a new long-term contract. But his form after signing on the dotted line was patchy and Wenger was reduced to sharing the goalkeeping duties between Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny.
7) Jerzy Dudek – 40.9%
Played: 127. Clean sheets: 52. Conceded: 118. Minutes per goal conceded: 96.
Forever a legend at Liverpool for his Champions League final antics, but Dudek’s Premier League form was too often too inconsistent. He had a fine first season in England after joining from Feyenoord in 2001 on the same day as Chris Kirkland arrived at Anfield. But Kirkland took his place the following year and were it not for a stream of injuries, he might have kept it. Dudek clung on to the No.1 spot for long enough to make himself a hero in Istanbul, before Rafa Benitez signed Pepe Reina barely a month later.
6) Peter Schmeichel – 41.6%
Manchester United, Manchester City, Aston Villa
Played: 310. Clean sheets: 129. Conceded: 287. Minutes per goal conceded: 96.
The greatest goalkeeper to play in the Premier League? The great Dane certainly changed the game with his distribution and some unique methods which have since become the default techniques of many modern-day keepers. Schmeichel helped United end their title drought before winning everything on offer with the Red Devils. He departed at the very top, bowing out after captaining United in the 1999 Champions League final, before tarnishing his legacy somewhat with some United fans by returning to the Premier League from Sporting Lisbon to play for Villa then Manchester City.
5) David Seaman – 41.9%
Arsenal, Manchester City
Played: 344. Clean sheets: 144. Conceded: 291. Minutes per goal conceded: 106.
George Graham had to break the British transfer record for a goalkeeper to get Seaman from QPR in 1990 but £1.3million proved to be peanuts after the England stopper spent 13 years at Arsenal during which time he won three titles, four FA Cups, a League Cup and a European Cup Winners’ Cup. Despite his impermeability seemingly waning in his final season, he still made what Peter Schmeichel labelled “the best save I have seen” to get Arsenal to his last FA Cup final.
4) Carlo Cudicini – 42.2%
Played: 161. Clean sheets: 68. Conceded: 146. Minutes per goal conceded: 98.
Of his 13 years in England, Cudicini spent only three seasons as an undisputed No.1. But he was bloody good for Chelsea between De Goey and Petr Cech, with the former Italy Under-21 stopper winning the Premier League goalkeeper of the season award in 2003-04. But less than a year later, when injury problems resurfaced, the Blues opted to spend £7million to bring Cech from Rennes in time for Jose Mourinho’s arrival. Cudicini’s refusal to leave the comfort of the Chelsea bench led to him being described in 2008 as ‘the world’s most unambitious footballer’ by The Telegraph.
3) Edwin van der Sar – 43.5%
Fulham, Manchester United
Played: 313. Clean sheets: 136. Conceded: 302. Minutes per goal conceded: 92.
The Holland keeper rediscovered his composure and consistency at Fulham after moving there upon being replaced at Juventus by Gianluigi Buffon. After two seasons at Craven Cottage, Ferguson finally got his man, having six years earlier considered the then-Ajax stopper as a potential replacement for Schmeichel. Another six years at Old Trafford saw Van der Sar win the Champions League, four Premier League titles, a League Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. He retired at the top, aged 40, when he was traded in for a goalkeeper half his age.
2) Petr Cech – 46.7%
Played: 443. Clean sheets: 207. Conceded: 367. Minutes per goal conceded: 108.
The owner of the most clean sheets narrowly misses out on top spot after 15 years in the Premier League. But Big Petr’s won the lot. And he retired in the right way…
1) Pepe Reina – 47%
Played: 285. Clean sheets: 134. Conceded: 247. Minutes per goal conceded: 104.
Perhaps it is because of the manner in which he left Liverpool and English football, but Reina is often forgotten when the matter of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers comes up for discussion. For the Reds he played just five short of 400 games in all competitions and only three players – Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia – have played more in the Premier League. But the persistent refusal to rule out a return to Barcelona eventually wore thin with Brendan Rodgers, who opted to sign Simon Mignolet to replace the Spain international. Under Rafael Benitez, things were very different. Reina replaced Champions League hero Dudek in 2005 as a 22-year-old and remained No.1 for eight seasons, being ever-present for the middle four, winning the Premier League Golden Glove in the first three. When Benitez went, he seemed to take some of Reina’s form and his eventual exit was made under something of a cloud, in stark contrast to the vast majority of his eight sunny years at Anfield.