Which goalkeeper has the highest percentage of clean sheets per game in the history of the Premier League?
Petr Cech, who this week announced he will be retiring at the end of this season, holds the record for most clean sheets in the Premier League. The Arsenal goalie does not have the best average shutouts per game, however, and is beaten to that honour by a very surprising candidate. Where does Cech land on this list and how do his stats compare to some of the other legends found here?
Note: Only goalkeepers with 100 clean sheets or more are included.
5. David Seaman – Arsenal, Man City
Clean Sheets: 140
Arsenal’s history is littered with goalkeepers who shone brightly over a long period of time: Jens Lehmann, Frank Moss, Jack Kelsey and, of course, Pat Jennings. But the most iconic of all has to be David Seaman.
And that’s not just recency bias. The England legend joined Arsenal in 1990, winning the First Division under George Graham and two Premier League titles under Arsene Wenger, playing in two European finals, and frustrating a hell of a lot of strikers along the way.
140 clean sheets in the Premier League is mightily impressive, but as the only keeper on this list to have played in the English top flight before the breakaway, the real number is in fact far greater than that.
4. Peter Schmeichel – Man United, Aston Villa, Man City
Clean Sheets: 128
Widely regard as the greatest goalkeeper the Premier League, and indeed English football, has ever seen, Peter Schmeichel was the personification of a brick wall in front of goal, only much louder and more painful when he collided with opposition players.
Roy Keane once said he was “arrogant” and would never accept a goal conceded as being his own fault, but it was that kind of attitude that made him so great as a player in the first place.
The stats bear this out, showing that the Great Dane kept the opposition scoreless over 40% of the time. His worth to United in the nineties was priceless when you consider the amount of games he would be hammered with shot after shot, keeping his side in the game long enough for them to nick a late winner.
3. Edwin Van Der Sar – Fulham, Man United
Clean Sheets: 132
The Dutch shot stopper may only have the joint-seventh most clean sheets in the history of the Premier League, but only two have kept a greater proportion of them when it comes to games played. This is all the more impressive given he spent much of his career in England at Fulham, where he kept 42 shutouts despite playing on a side that was routinely in danger of being relegated while he was there.
At Manchester United he was phenomenal, helping the Red Devils win multiple Premier League titles and the Champions League. The Dutch international was a long-awaited replacement for club legend Schmeichel, keeping the ball out of the net on 90 occasions. He also set a new record of 14 consecutive clean sheets in the 2008-09 season, smashing the previous record of 10 set by the next man on our list.
2. Petr Cech – Chelsea, Arsenal
Clean Sheets: 202
Having just announced his retirement this week, Petr Cech will surely go down in the pantheon of all-time great goalkeepers. He is the only goalie in Premier League history to have kept 200 or more clean sheets, keeping 162 of those for Chelsea during his highly successful stint before moving to London rivals Arsenal.
Although he could never quite get back to the level he was at before suffering an unfortunate head injury in the first minute of a match against Reading in 2006, the Czech international was at one point during the noughties the undisputed best in his position. His stats tell a story of just how unstoppable he was, especially at Stamford where he was part of one of the stingiest defences ever.
1. Pepe Reina – Liverpool
Clean Sheets: 134
Pepe Reina is rarely in the conversation when it comes to deciding the best goalkeepers in the Premier League era, but – having won the Golden Gloves Award three times consecutively upon joining Liverpool – does he deserve more respect?
The Spaniard was forever a level below world class though, never breaking into the Spain side on a regular basis, and could perhaps consider himself lucky to have played at Anfield under Rafael Benitez. There was always a howler in him waiting to spoil a game at any given moment, but keeping a clean sheet in almost half of your games at a club speaks for itself.
Despite his high profile mistakes Liverpool have had far bigger problems between the sticks ever since he departed for Napoli, up until the Reds acquisition of Alisson Becker, and it’s a wonder they didn’t hold onto him longer given how well he played in Serie A. Then again, had he played more often in England, then his ratio would have certainly decreased a fair amount.
The former Liverpool man is now playing out his days at AC Milan, where he is yet to feature in a league game for the Rossoneri.
All statistics via Wikipedia and premierleague.com