In modern Football, keeping a clean sheet is becoming a much more difficult feat for a Goalkeeper. Defending seems to be becoming a lost art with the modern fan and several modern players more concerned with playing attacking football than keeping the ball out at the other end.
A number of World class Goalkeepers have plyed their trade in the English top flight over the years, but only a few have been able to withstand the pressure and make a name for themselves.
The Premier League is full of drama and Goals! But as much as we all want to see goals, have you ever thought which Goalkeepers have managed to keep most number of clean sheets?
NIGEL MARTYN- 137 clean sheets
Premier League appearances: 372
Years active: 1992-2006
Clubs: Crystal Palace, Leeds United, Everton
Retired England international Nigel Martyn began his career at Bristol Rovers. He is popularly remembered as the first million pound goalkeeper, as Crystal Palace paid the sum for the Englishman’s services. Developing his career and ability at Palace, Martyn made Selhurst Park his own backyard, impressing with his superb shot stopping ability and reflexes. He did however, twice suffer relegation with The Eagles in the early years of Premier League.
In 1996, Martyn completed his transfer to Leeds in a record 2.5 million pounds deal. Seamlessly transitioning into his new surroundings, Leeds proved to be a perfect fit for him. With solid goalkeeping displays, he continued to rack up clean sheets before joining Everton in 2003. He remained the number one choice between the posts at Goodison Park for several years before announcing his retirement in 2006.
David Seaman – 140 clean sheets
Premier league appearances: 344
Years active: 1992-2004
Clubs: Arsenal, Manchester City
David Seaman made his professional debut in 1982 for Peterborough United. However, it took him eight years to reach the English top flight with spells at Birmingham City and Queens Park Rangers. In 1990 he made a move to Arsenal. Seaman’s time at the Gunners coincided with one of the most successful periods in the North London club’s history.
He donned the Gunners jersey for next 13 years and his performances also earned him 75 England caps. Seaman earned a reputation of a penalty-saving specialist after saving three penalties in Arsenal’s semi-final shoot-out against Sampdoria in the Cup Winners’ Cup, all while playing with two cracked ribs.
Tall, calm and calculated, he had plenty of attributes which made him stand out from his counterparts from the division. The fact that he was a monstrous figure in-between the posts ensured he established himself as one of the Premier League greats. Seaman joined Manchester City in 2003 but his career in Manchester was plagued by injuries and called time on his career in January 2004 at the age of 40.
Mark Schwarzer – 152 clean sheets
Premier League appearances: 514
Years active: 1998-2016
Clubs: Middlesbrough, Fulham, Chelsea, Leicester
Australian shot-stopper and another legendary keeper, Mark Schwarzer started his professional career at the age of 19 for Australian club Marconi Stallions. In 1996, Schwarzer travelled to England to test his fortunes at Bradford before making a move to Middlesbrough.
Where he helped them earn promotion to the Premier league. He did not disappoint, making over 300 appearances for Boro. After 11 years with the Teesiders, he made the decision to move to South to London with Fulham interested in establishing some stability at the back.
Schwarzer’s contribution was important as his performances led Fulham to book a European berth and guided them to 2010 Europa league final to only lose against Atletico Madrid. His arrival at Fulham started the most prosperous period in club’s recent history.
In 2013, He moved to Chelsea on a free transfer but only as a back-up Goalkeeper. In his two year tenure at Chelsea, opportunities were scarce before eventually making a move to Leicester.
The Foxes also didn’t offer him much role as he was a bench warmer in large part of the season where the unthinkable happened, Leicester won the Premier league. Mark chose this moment to retire, establishing himself in the elite Goalkeeper’s list of the Premier league.
David James- 169 clean sheets
Premier League appearances: 572
Years Active: 1992-2010
Clubs: Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Manchester City, Portsmouth
David James played for five different Premier League clubs in an illustrious 18-year career in the English top flight. Making his debut in the youth team of Watford, his performances led Liverpool to sign him in 1992. He went on to make 200 appearances for The Reds in a span of seven years before making a transfer to Aston Villa in 1999.
He then made moves to West Ham in 2001 and Manchester City in 2004 with regular first team action as one of his key demands to remain settled at a club. He joined Portsmouth in 2006, where he won the FA Cup.
Petr Cech – 201 clean sheets
Premier League appearances: 436
Years active: 2004- present
Clubs: Chelsea, Arsenal
Petr Cech is in a league of his own when it comes to clean sheets. He has now achieved the massive feat of keeping 200 clean sheets. In 2004, Cech was signed by Chelsea and he has been a perfect example of model consistency ever since, establishing his world class quality and reliability when the Blues needed it the most, as they continuously improved on a yearly basis with the imposing ‘keeper their first choice.
The emergence of Thibaut Courtois and his breath-taking performances at Atletico Madrid, which were too good to ignore, Chelsea gave the legend Cech their blessing to join London rivals Arsenal in the summer of 2015.
At The Emirates, he has continued to feature regularly and it was with the Gunners that he achieved the 200th clean sheet accomplishment. Although at 36 his performance levels have begun to dip a bit in recent seasons, it will be a long long time before any ‘keeper even comes close to breaking his sensational record.