EPL: The Top 10 Goalkeepers of the Premier League era

After compiling a list of my top 10 defenders and strikers, I decided to do something similar on the best glovemen we have seen over the last 20 years.

Like previous top 10 lists, the rankings are based on a number of aspects, including quality, trophies and longevity.


10. Jussi Jaaskelainen – Clubs: Bolton, West Ham – Prem apps: 382

Jussi Jaaskelainen has been a solid, consistent goalkeeper for over a decade at the top level. Making over 350 appearances, the Finn had been a key player for Bolton, helping them establish in the Premier League, as well as qualify for the UEFA Cup in 2007.

Jaaskelainen ended his long alliance with the Trotters in 2012, signing for newly promoted West Ham.


9. Nigel Martyn – Clubs: Crystal Palace, Leeds, Everton – Prem apps: 372

Nigel Martyn became the first ever seven figure goalkeeper upon signing for Crystal Palace in 1989. He played two seasons in the Premier League (1992-93), (1994-95), but was relegated both times.

After losing the First Division Play-off Final with the Londoners in 1996, Martyn completed a move to Leeds for a then record keeper signing at £2.25m.

Over the following 7 years, Martyn was consistently outstanding, and only the form of David Seaman denied him more than the 23 caps he won for England. He was also picked for the PFA Team of the Year in three consecutive seasons (1998-2000)

At the age of 37, Martyn left Leeds to join Everton. He was quickly established as first choice keeper at Goodison, and in 2004/05, his brilliant displays helped them to a 4th place finish in the Premier League.

Martyn retired in the summer of 2006, having made exactly 100 appearances for the Toffees.


8. Joe Hart – Clubs: Birmingham, Manchester City – Prem apps: 165

Joe Hart signed for Manchester City in 2006 at the age of 19, after more than 50 appearances for his home town club, Shrewsbury Town. He made just a single Premier League start for City, before two successful loan spells at Tranmere and Blackpool.

In 2007/08, under new boss Sven Goran Eriksson, Hart became first choice at the City of Manchester Stadium, making 26 appearances, keeping 7 clean sheets. In the summer of ’08, Hart made his international debut for England, and remained first choice at City, until he was dropped in February ’09, in favour of new signing Shay Given.

Hart then excelled for newly promoted Birmingham City on loan, helping the Midlanders to a mid-table finish. Despite his great form (he was voted Premier League goalkeeper of the year in 2009/10) he was criminally overlooked as first choice for England’s World Cup campaign in South Africa.

In the last two years, Hart has established himself as one of the world’s finest goalkeepers, with his immense shot stopping and superb all round game.

He won the Golden Glove award in both 2010/11 and 2011/12, keeping a combined total of 35 clean sheets, as well as winning his first Premier League title in 2012 with City.


7. Pepe Reina – Club: Liverpool – Prem apps: 257

Pepe Reina completed a move to Liverpool in the summer of 2005, for a fee believed to be close to £6m. The Spainiard’s first season in England was a huge success, helping Liverpool to a 3rd place finish by keeping 20 clean sheets and winning the Golden Glove award, an honour he retained in the following two seasons. He also played his part in Liverpool’s F.A Cup triumph, saving three penalties in the shoot-out against West Ham.

Reina continued to perform solidly in the following seasons, with a fine distribution one of the strongest facets of his game. Whilst there were a number of casual blunders, this was offset by some great displays.

Reina made over 180 consecutive Premier League appearances for Liverpool, until he was sent off in a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle in April 2012. His 257 games include 120 shut-outs.


6. Shay Given – Clubs: Newcastle, Manchester City, Aston Villa – Prem apps: 440

Shay Given moved to Blackburn in the summer of 1994 on a free transfer, after two years without a single appearance at Celtic. Following lower league loan spells at Swindon and Sunderland, Given left Ewood Park and joined Newcastle for £1.5m in 1997.

Given made almost 350 league appearances in a 12 year spell for Newcastle, establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s best ever shot stoppers. In the early 2000’s, his performances helped Newcastle to three consecutive top 5 finishes, and he was named in the PFA Team of the Year in 2001-02.

The Irish international left a struggling Newcastle in February 2009, completing an £8million move to Manchester City. He immediately dislodged Joe Hart as the first choice keeper, and the following year he was a key member of a City side that eventually finished 5th in the Premier League.

A revitalized Hart regained the shirt for 2010/11, with Given subjected, domestically, to just a single League Cup appearance. In the summer of 2011, he joined Aston Villa, playing 32 times as the West Midlanders narrowly avoided relegation.


5. Brad Friedel – Clubs: Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa, Tottenham – Prem apps: 441

Still one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers at 41, Brad Friedel has been a hugely consistent performer at the top level for a number of years.

The American had seen moves to both Nottingham Forest and Newcastle denied by work permits in the early 90’s, but he eventually managed to sign for Liverpool in 1997. He featured only sporadically in his time at Anfield, before joining Blackburn in 2000.

It was at Ewood Park where Friedel began to show his quality. An almost ever present during his 8 year spell, he was included in the PFA Team of the Year in 2002/03 after a string of superb performances, and even managed to find the net in an away game at Charlton in February 2004!

Friedel left Blackburn to sign for Aston Villa in 2008. After three successful seasons at Villa Park, he left to join Spurs, with whom he helped to a 4th place finish.

He is currently on a run of a record 307 consecutive Premier League appearances, stretching back more than 8 years.


4. Petr Cech – Club: Chelsea – Prem apps: 257

Petr Cech signed a pre contact agreement with Chelsea in February 2004, joining the Londoners following a fine European Championship with Czech Republic.

Cech was a barnstorming success in his first season in English football, forming an almost impenetrable back 5 as Jose Mourinho’s new look side romped to the Premier League title. He kept a record 21 clean sheets to win the Golden Glove award, as well as being named in the PFA team of the year. During the season, Cech also went unbeaten for 1,025 minutes, before Leon Mackenzie of Norwich netted in a 3-1 Chelsea win.

Voted the world’s best keeper in 2005, Cech continued to excel as Chelsea retained their Premier League title. In a game against Reading in the early stages of 2006/07, Cech suffered a depressed skull fracture following a challenge with Stephen Hunt, ruling him out for three months.

Since returning, Cech has been forced to wear a headguard to protect his injury. He ended the season by helping Chelsea win the F.A Cup, the first at the new Wembley Stadium.

Cech has remained a consistent keeper, if not replicating his early Chelsea form. In 2009/10, he was invaluable as Chelsea won their third Premier League title. Cech won the Golden Glove award for the second time, keeping 17 clean sheets from 34 games.

Cech has won 4 F.A Cup titles with Chelsea, as well as the Champions League in 2012.


3. Edwin Van der Sar – Clubs: Fulham, Manchester United – Prem apps: 313

After spells at Ajax and Juventus, Edwin van der Sar made a shock move to Fulham in the summer of 2001. His fine form for the Cottagers earned a move to Manchester United four years later

Van der Sar re-established himself as one of the world’s best keepers at Old Trafford, as United finally found a worthy successor to Peter Schmeichel. As well as his shot stopping, the Dutchman was also a wonderful distributor of the ball. He helped the Red Devils to three consecutive Premier League titles, as well as saving the crucial shoot-out penalty in their 2008 Champions League triumph. In 2009, he stayed unbeaten for a world record 1,311 minutes, and won the Golden Glove award, keeping 21 clean sheets.

Van der Sar was included in the PFA Team of the Year on three occasions, winning four Premier League titles.

He retired in 2011, following United’s Champions League Final defeat to Barcelona.


2. David Seaman – Clubs: Arsenal, Manchester City – Prem apps: 344

David Seaman was a fine Premier League custodian for more than a decade. Having signed for Arsenal in 1990, Seaman helped the North London side to two Premier League titles, as well as four runner-up finishes.

A solid, unflappable keeper, Seaman served Arsenal with distinction, making 325 Premier League appearances. He kept 141 clean sheets (a record until David James overtook it in 2007) and was named in the PFA Team of the Year in 1997.

Seaman also won four F.A Cups, as well as the League Cup in 1993 and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1994. In 2003, he left Arsenal for Manchester City, making 19 appearances before retiring at the age of 40.

In 2002, Seaman was voted into the best domestic team of the first Premier League decade.


1. Peter Schmeichel – Clubs: Manchester United, Aston Villa, Manchester City – Prem apps: 310

Signing for just £500,000 in 1991, Peter Schmeichel surely has to go down as Sir Alex Ferguson’s best bargain at Old Trafford!

A domineering presence in the United goal, Schmeichel kept 22 clean sheets as United won the first ever Premier League title in 1993, a title they retained the following season.

In 1995/96, Schemichel was again inspirational, never more so than in United’s crucial 1-0 win away at title rivals Newcastle. The result tipped the balance in United’s favour, who went on to win the Premier League title for the third time.

Schmeichel was a key member of the treble winning side of 1999, and ended his United career in the Nou Camp following the dramatic win over Bayern Munich.

After two years in Portugal, Schmeichel returned to the Premier League with Aston Villa, making just short of 30 appearances (and scoring one goal!). He then made a similar contribution to United’s rivals, Manchester City, before retiring in 2003.

Schmeichel won four Premier League titles at United, as well as three F.A Cups. He was voted the best goalkeeper of the Premier League in the 20 Seasons Award, and also indicted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

As hard as it was to compile most of this list, the decision to put Schemichel at No. 1 was simple. One of the best keepers of all time, he possessed extraordinary reflexes (look up his save against Rapid Vienna, it is better than Banks’!) and had an aura and presence about him that very few in the game have ever had.


Unarguably, the greatest keeper to play in the Premier League!


Keepers who just missed out

David James was close to getting into the top 10. He holds the record for the most clean sheets, and he did perform superbly at Portsmouth and consistently well at Manchester City, but made too many errors to be considered top class.

Mark Schwarzer was close, and it was almost a 50-50 between him and Jaaskelainen.

Tim Flowers also wasn’t far away, especially after his performances in helping Blackburn to the title in 1995.


Written by Nick Wall

Follow him on Twitter @NickWolf89

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