Since the Premier League era started in May 1992, we have enjoyed the thrills and the spills of top-flight football. However, while we enjoy football for the goals and skills involved in it, there are players out there who go out of their way to stop the ball from going into the net, those players are the Premier League goalkeepers.
These often-eccentric characters are the guardians of the net. However, which goalkeepers in the Premier League era have kept the most clean sheets? Here is the list of the top ten:
Petr Cech – 202 clean sheets in 443 appearances for Chelsea (162) and Arsenal (40)
The big Czech Republic international is regarded by many as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League era. Cech played a key role in the first coming of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea before moving to the Blues’ capital rivals Arsenal.
He kept an impressive 162 clean sheets for Chelsea and 40 for the Gunners while winning four top-flight titles, all with the former.
David James – 169 clean sheets in 572 appearances for Liverpool (72), Portsmouth (39), Aston Villa (21), Manchester City (19) and West Ham United (18)
The former England goalkeeper was certainly well-travelled when it came to Premier League clubs, featuring for the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City. James played a key role for all his clubs in a career that lasted over two decades.
The longevity of James’ career was illustrated by the fact that he was voted into the Premier League Team of the Year in season 1995/96 and again 12 years later in season 2007/2008.
Mark Schwarzer – 151 clean sheets in 514 appearances for Middlesbrough (92), Fulham (56), Chelsea (2) and Leicester City (1)
The popular Australian ‘keeper first made his name in English football at Middlesbrough, where he enjoyed 11 years. However, when he left Boro, Schwarzer spent four years at Fulham, where he was just as reliable before short stints with Chelsea and Leicester.
Schwarzer also holds the distinction of being Australia’s most-capped player, having represented the Socceroos on 109 occasions, keeping a highly credible 44 clean sheets.
David Seaman – 141 clean sheets in 344 appearances for Arsenal (138) and Manchester City (3)
The former England goalkeeper established himself as one of the best goalkeepers of the Premier League era at Arsenal. His calmness earned him the nickname ‘Safe Hands’.
Seaman spent 13 years with Arsenal, winning, among other trophies, three top-flight titles before finishing his career with a final Premier League season with Manchester City.
On an individual basis, the Yorkshireman was also voted into the Premier Team of the Year in season 1996/97.
David De Gea – 141 clean sheets in 404 appearances for Manchester United)
The Spaniard arrived at United as a youngster from Atletico Madrid with a big reputation. He has fulfilled his potential in over a decade with the Red Devils, keeping an impressive 141 Premier League clean sheets. His performances helped the men from Manchester to the English top-flight title in 2013.
His United career has been full of accolades, as he has been in the Premier League Team of the Year on five occasions in seasons 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17 and 2017–18. De Gea also won the Premier League Golden Gloves award in season 2017/18.
Nigel Martyn – 137 clean sheets in 372 appearances for Leeds United (82), Everton (30) and Crystal Palace (25)
Another former England international, Martyn made his name at Crystal Palace before spending seven years in Yorkshire with Leeds United and ending his playing career on Merseyside with Everton.
Martyn was renowned as a highly reliable goalkeeper at all his clubs. As an individual, the affable stopper was named in the Premier League Team of the Year in seasons 1997–98, 1998–99 and 1999–2000.
Pepe Reina – 136 clean sheets in 297 appearances for Liverpool (134) and Aston Villa (2)
The former Spanish international is best known in England for his nine-year spell with Liverpool, where he proved to be a reliable and popular figure with the Reds. He also spent time on loan at Aston Villa in 2020.
Reina’s effectiveness was illustrated by the fact that the Spaniard won the Premier League Golden Glove award in seasons 2005–06, 2006–07, and 2007–08.
Edwin van der Sar – 132 clean sheets in 313 appearances for Manchester United (90) and Fulham (42)
The former Dutch international first arrived in the Premier League when joining Fulham in 2001 and kept a respectable 42 clean sheets for the Cottagers. However, in 2005 he joined Manchester United and helped the Red Devils to win the title in seasons 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09 and 2010–11.
The former Juventus star was voted in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in seasons 2006–07, 2008–09 and 2010–11. He also won the Premier League Golden Glove award in 2008–09.
Tim Howard – 132 clean sheets in 399 appearances for Everton (116) and Manchester United (16)
Although the USA international first arrived in England at Manchester United, where he kept 16 top-flight clean sheets, he is better remembered as Everton’s number one for 11 seasons from 2006 until 2016. Howard kept a creditable 116 Premier League sheets for the Toffees.
During his debut campaign with United, the goalkeeper was named in the Premier League Team of the Year in the season 2003/04.
Brad Friedel – 132 clean sheets in 450 appearances for Blackburn Rovers (77), Aston Villa (35), Tottenham Hotspur (14) and Liverpool (6)
Friedel enjoyed a long career in the English top flight like his compatriot Howard. In fact, the former USA international spent from 1997 until 2015 with various clubs in the Premier League. However, his most successful spell was in an eight-season spell with Blackburn Rovers.
During his time with Rovers, he was named in the Premier League Team of the Year in the 2002–03 season.