Who is the best Premier League goalkeeper ever?
Harry Howes | 7 April 2020
We’ve chosen the top four – now it’s up to you to decide
The time has come. Here at Coral we’re narrowing down the best players by position in Premier League history and we need your help deciding.
We’ll be choosing the best keepers, defenders, midfielders and strikers and you’ll have the final say in who we crown as the best.
We start with goalkeepers, who are widely known to have a bit of a screw loose in the footballing world. Who else would choose a career that involved repeatedly launching yourself across a muddy goal and diving at people’s feet?
We’ve picked our four contenders for the best of all time and when it came to making our selections we wanted to pick not only those with the most talent, but also those who showcased it for a sustained period of time in successful teams.
Honourable mentions go out to stalwarts such as Mark Schwarzer, Shay Given and Brad Friedel, but a lack of silverware ruled them out of contention. In a similar vein, Ederson and Alisson have impressed since arriving on these shores but are perhaps still a few years away from being part of the conversation.
With three Premier League titles between them, David De Gea and Joe Hart could consider themselves unfortunate to miss out. But they weren’t quite at the level of our final four and now it’s time for you to help us decide who’s the best of the lot…
Manchester United, Aston Villa, Manchester City
5 Premier League titles
An obvious place to start, really. Schmeichel was more than a goalkeeper. He was a man mountain, a fearless leader and he wasn’t afraid to dish out verbal abuse, whether it was to the opposition or his own team-mates.
Best known for his eight-year stint at Manchester United, Schmeichel remains the only goalkeeper in history to have won the Premier League Player of the Year award. He’s also been crowned the world’s best goalkeeper on two occasions and was instrumental in Denmark’s remarkable European Championship success in 1992.
Despite spending a year at rivals Manchester City, Schmeichel remains an icon at Old Trafford having captained them to Champions League and treble glory in his final match for the club. He’s the only keeper in our final four with a Premier League goal to his name and he also boasts the most league titles on our list.
Schmeichel played more than 300 games in the English top flight and despite his size he was known for his quick reflexes, with his famous ‘star jump’ technique believed to be developed from his experience playing handball.
Arsenal, Manchester City
2 Premier League titles
Perhaps best known for his iconic ponytail and moustache combination, Seaman spent 13 years in goal for Arsenal and his performances earned him 75 caps as first-choice stopper for England.
Seaman was a pivotal figure in Arsene Wenger’s revitalisation of the club following his arrival in 1996, helping them to the league and FA Cup double in both the 1997/98 and 2001/02 campaigns.
Great goalkeepers are often defined by great moments and Seaman pulled off one of the greatest saves in history when he came from nowhere to deny Sheffield United’s Paul Peschisolido in the 2003 FA Cup semi-final. Schmeichel described it as the best save he’d ever seen but it was almost routine for Seaman, who was also adept at saving penalties.
With 140 clean sheets in just under 350 Premier League games, Seaman is undoubtedly among the best keepers England has ever seen, while his haul of silverware, including four FA Cup wins, means he’s not far behind Schmeichel and Petr Cech as the most decorated in our list.
EDWIN VAN DER SAR
Fulham, Manchester United
4 Premier League titles
Following Schmeichel’s departure from United, Sir Alex Ferguson tried desperately to replace him, with the likes of Fabian Barthez, Roy Carroll and Tim Howard deputising well but ultimately failing to fill the huge void.
But United finally got their man when they snapped up Van Der Sar from Fulham in 2005. Despite being almost 35 when he moved to Old Trafford, the Dutchman still managed six seasons as first-choice keeper at United, winning four league titles and one Champions League in the process.
Van Der Sar was the backbone of United’s best side since their treble winners and he appeared in the PFA Team of the Year three times. Like Schmeichel before him, he used his formidable size and reach to pull off remarkable saves and pluck crosses out of the air.
United have been blessed with top keepers in recent years, with De Gea among the best in the world currently, and Ferguson made it clear that Van Der Sar was his best since Schmeichel. Unlike his Danish predecessor, whose best years came earlier in his career, Van Der Sar aged like a fine wine, playing into his forties and securing a league title and a Champions League runners-up medal in his final season.
4 Premier League titles
How could we not include Cech? The most clean sheets in Premier League history with 202, he was pivotal in Chelsea’s dominance under Jose Mourinho and he continued to excel, enjoying 15 seasons in England’s top flight before retiring at the end of last season.
Cech’s won an incredible four Premier League titles, as well as four FA Cups and a Champions League. A nasty head injury threatened to end his career in 2006 but he recovered and he became synonymous with his protective scrum cap.
The Czech was known for his agility and reflexes, as well as his penalty-saving abilities, having saved crucial spot-kicks in the 2010 FA Cup final and the 2012 Champions League final.
Cech won the Premier League Golden Glove four times and he was twice named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year. He’s now back at Chelsea as their technical and performance advisor, while also enjoying a post-football career as an ice hockey player with Guildford Phoenix – is there anything he can’t do?
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication