The introduction of VAR has seen an increase in the number of penalties being awarded in the Premier League, the ability to rewatch incidents supposedly leaving significantly less room for error for players and officials.
Already we’ve seen 13 spot-kicks awarded over the opening two weekends of the new Premier League campaign, though only two have been saved by goalkeeper’s facing a thankless task of facing a free strike at goal from just 12 yards out.
Throughout the history of the Premier League several shot-stoppers have made a name for themselves when it comes to such situations, however, though as this list proves it is not always the greatest goalkeepers who are the experts when it comes to the guessing game of penalty kicks.
Here are the seven goalkeepers with the most penalty saves in Premier League history:
Jussi Jaaskelainen – 7
Jussi Jaaskelainen became one of Bolton Wanderers’ greatest ever servants during a lengthy career in English football, helping the side to promotion to the Premier League and becoming a mainstay of the club’s finest moments of the modern era.
The Finland international was an ever reliable presence in the Bolton goal and spent more than a decade with the club, making 379 appearances in the top flight before a three season spell at West Ham.
During that time the goalkeeper made his mark in terms of saving spot-kicks, saving seven efforts including a double save to deny Blackburn Rovers in dramatic circumstances during the 2006/07 season.
Bolton were protecting a one-goal lead when they conceded two penalties in the final five minutes, Jaaskelainen guessing right to deny Benni McCarthy and then Jason Roberts to seal three points for the visitors at Ewood Park.
Tim Howard – 7
Sitting level with Jaaskelainen is former Manchester United
number one Tim Howard, who made seven successful penalty saves during a lengthy Premier League career.
The former US international struggled to establish himself at Old Trafford and each of his spot-kick saves came after moving to Merseyside, Howard a reliable presence for Everton throughout his decade spell with the Toffees.
Amongst his finest moments came in a penalty-laden clash against Blackburn in 2011, Howard saving from Junior Hoilett with the scores goalless before Blackburn missed a second spot-kick as Mauro Formica hit the post.
Everton sealed all three points with a last-gasp penalty of their own from Mikel Arteta, though had the intervention of their American goalkeeper to thank for the win.
Joe Hart – 7
Amongst the few goalkeepers on this list with the winners’ medals to match their penalty feats, it is easy to forget how good Joe Hart was at the peak of his powers given his dramatic fall from grace.
Hart holds the joint-record for most Premier League Golden Glove awards alongside Petr Cech, in addition to winning two league titles as a key part of Manchester City’s rapid rise to the elite.
The former England international also ranks amongst the goalkeepers with the most penalties saved in Premier League history, though remarkably only two of his stops came in victories including a save to deny Frank Lampard in victory over Chelsea in 2013.
Now playing a back-up role at Tottenham following his summer switch to north London from Burnley, it remains to be seen whether the 33-year-old will get an opportunity to further boost his tally.
Simon Mignolet – 8
Simon Mignolet may never quite have convinced after signing for Liverpool
from Sunderland, but his record from the penalty spot was hugely impressive during his time on Merseyside.
The Belgian’s brilliance in spot-kick situations became apparent during his time in the North East, including saving a kick from Demba Ba to secure Sunderland a point in the Tyne-Wear derby.
At Liverpool, he began with a debut penalty save against Stoke to help seal a 1-0 victory at Anfield, whilst he made other notable stops to deny the likes of Theo Walcott and Jamie Vardy in narrow victories over Arsenal and Leicester respectively.
He finished his career having saved eight Premier League penalties from 28 attempts, with only two goalkeepers having ever managed more.
Ben Foster – 8
Ben Foster has enjoyed a long career at the highest level and has been a dependable servant for a succession of clubs, winning club Player of the Year accolades at Watford, Birmingham and West Bromwich Albion.
Only two players can better Foster’s record when it comes to saving penalties in the Premier League, the eight-cap England international having saved eight spot-kicks throughout his top flight career.
Foster’s saves have often been of utmost importance with only two of those stops coming in defeats, with six of his efforts rewarding his side with precious points including three wins by just a one-goal margin.
Rob Green – 9
The third former England international to feature on this list, Rob Green jointly holds the record for most ever Premier League penalty saves with nine.
The majority of Green’s haul came during a six-year spell at West Ham
after making seven stops from the spot for the east London outfit, including twice denying pantomime villain Jermain Defoe to further endear him to the Hammers’ support.
Green also made two saves from Steven Gerrard and saved a spot-kick from Cristiano Ronaldo to help secure a 2-1 victory over Manchester United in 2007, the goalkeeper seemingly unfazed when facing the Premier League’s finest from 12 yards.
Heurelho Gomes – 9
Sitting alongside Green as the Premier League goalkeeper with the most penalty saves is Heurelho Gomes, a shot-stopper not always renowned for his solidity but one who excelled when facing the pressure of a spot-kick.
The Brazilian is one of just seven goalkeepers to save two penalties in one fixture and the only player to do so on two
occasions, first achieving the feat with Tottenham in 2010 before another double save whilst playing for Watford six years later.
Gomes’ first double stop twice denied former Spurs’ teammate Darren Bent – who remarkably also scored a penalty in the same fixture – before saving two Saido Berahino efforts whilst keeping goal for Watford at West Bromwich Albion in 2016.
That tally is part of a haul of nine Premier League penalty saves for Gomes, a record-breaking total for a player who mastered the guessing game.
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