The 25 goalkeepers with the most PL clean sheets: Cech, Seaman, James…

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Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech instructs his defence during their Premier League victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, Blackburn, August 2006. Credit: PA Images
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech instructs his defence during their Premier League victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, Blackburn, August 2006. Credit: PA Images

Sir Alex Ferguson always held the opinion that, while attackers win games, it was defence that won league titles – as this list of the goalkeepers with the highest number of clean sheets in Premier League history demonstrates.

While goalscorers and creators generally garner most of the spotlight due to their exploits up front. every Premier League team that’s worth its salt has an excellent shot-stopper between the sticks.

Of the 12 goalkeepers with the most clean sheets in the competition’s 30-year history, six have lifted the Premier League title while the others are renowned as goalkeeping stalwarts that have represented a number of clubs with distinction.

It’s no surprise to see Petr Cech at the head of our list. After signing for Chelsea in 2004, Cech only conceded 15 league goals in his first season as Jose Mourinho’s side swept all before them.

The former Czech Republic international won a further three league titles at Stamford Bridge and was also between the sticks as Arsenal finished second in 2016 – their highest league finish since the 2004-05 season.

Second place belongs to Premier League cult hero David James, despite never quite shaking the nickname ‘Calamity James’ from his Liverpool days.

James played in the top flight until just before his 40th birthday and the other Premier League clubs he played for – Aston Villa, West Ham, Manchester City and Portsmouth – all became defensively poorer after he left.

Mark Schwarzer, who kept goal during Chelsea’s infamous 2-0 win at Liverpool in 2014, David Seaman and Nigel Martyn round off the top five. All three were worth around 10-15 points per season at their peak.

Liverpool legend Pepe Reina has kept 136 clean sheets in the competition while a trio of excellent goalkeepers – Brad Friedel, Tim Howard and Edwin van der Sar – are tied on 132 shut-outs.

The Premier League goalkeeper with the most clean sheets that’s still active in the competition is Manchester United’s David de Gea (130), although Hugo Lloris of Tottenham (120) isn’t far behind and could even overtake De Gea in 2022-23.

Ederson, Kasper Schmeichel and Lukasz Fabianski also make our list and will be looking to bolster their personal tallies over the 2022-23 campaign.

You can view the full top 25 below, with the Premier League clubs they played for and the number of clean sheets listed beside each name. A player in italics is currently active in the competition.

1. Petr Cech (Chelsea, Arsenal) – 202

2. David James (Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Man City, Portsmouth) – 169

3. Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough, Fulham, Chelsea, Leicester) – 151

4. David Seaman (Arsenal, Man City) – 141

5. Nigel Martyn (Crystal Palace, Leeds, Everton) – 137

6. Pepe Reina (Liverpool, Aston Villa) – 136

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

READ: Remembering when Pepe Reina played as a midfielder for Liverpool

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=7. Brad Friedel (Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa, Tottenham) – 132

=7. Tim Howard (Man Utd, Everton) – 132

=7. Edwin van der Sar (Fulham, Man Utd) – 132

10. David de Gea (Man Utd) – 130

11. Peter Schmeichel (Man Utd, Aston Villa, Man City) – 128

12. Joe Hart (Man City, Birmingham, West Ham, Burnley) – 127

13. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) – 120

14. Shay Given (Blackburn, Newcastle, Man City, Aston Villa, Stoke) – 113

15. Jussi Jaaskelainen (Bolton, West Ham) – 108

16. Thomas Sorensen (Sunderland, Aston Villa, Stoke) – 107

17. Ben Foster (Man Utd, Birmingham, West Brom, Watford) – 92

18. Ederson (Man City) – 91

19. Paul Robinson (Leeds, Tottenham, Blackburn, Burnley) – 86

20. Kasper Schmeichel (Man City, Leicester) – 82

21. Lukasz Fabianski (Arsenal, Swansea, West Ham) – 81

=22. Tim Flowers (Southampton, Blackburn, Leicester) – 80

=22. Simon Mignolet (Sunderland, Liverpool) – 80

24. Ian Walker (Tottenham, Leicester, Bolton) – 77

25. Mark Bosnich (Aston Villa, Man Utd, Chelsea) – 74

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