Most Clean Sheets in Premier League History
No matter what happens in a game, a clean sheet always means at least a point for the team that has achieved it and these points ultimately help the team in the league, so we thought it would be interesting to look at the goalkeepers with the most number of clean sheets in Premier League history and the contribution they have made towards their teams’ successes.
It is to be noted that a clean sheet, much like a goal, is often a team effort so it wouldn’t be fair to a call it a solo effort by the goal keeper, but as in most games every keeper faces shots from the opposition and even if the defense is really well, the goalkeeper has to show quality too in saving those shots. So let’s see who makes it into top 10 goalkeepers with most clean sheets in Premier League history.
Most Clean Sheets in Premier League Ever
We are starting our list with a legend like Peter Schmeichel, and if one of the legends of the Premier League is the number 10 on our list, then who are the other 9?!
10. Peter Schmeichel
Considered by many to be the greatest goal keeper of the Premier League era, although many would argue with that as this list suggests as well. Schmeichel is a legend of the Manchester United football club and served the club for 8 seasons, joining United just a year before the English First Division was turned into Premier League in 1991. He stayed until 1999 and played 398 matches for them in all competitions and even managed to score a goal!
In the Premier League however, Schemeichel played 310 games for 3 different clubs, Manchester United, Aston Villa and Manchester City. He had 128 clean sheets in those 310 games and registered the 10th most clean sheets in Premier League history. 112 of those clean sheets were at Manchester United. He had an incredible record of 41.3% clean sheets in his Premier League games.
Schmmeichel’s commanding presence in the box and his aggressive way of organizing United’s backline led them to some of the greatest honors in the club’s history. He was one of the leaders in the dressing room that Ferguson relied upon to shape the fairly young team that he had. Perhaps his final moments in Manchester United were the sweetest as he captained his team on their way to a famous 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final as United became the first and only English side to achieve the Treble.
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9. Brad Friedel
Technically the number 7 spot is shared between 3 different keepers but we have tried to place them in order of their clean sheet ratio per game. So we have Brad Friedel with the 9th most clean sheets in EPL of all time. The American was playing football in the Premier League past his 44 birthday and boasts of a career longevity that most goal keepers don’t have.
He was a late bloomer as he only started playing first team football when he was 24 and after stints in Turkey, Sweden and back in his home country, he joined the Premier League side Liverpool in 1997 and stayed with them for 3 years, although he was always a backup choice for David James in Liverpool. It was in Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa that he made a name for himself. After his time at Aston Villa ended, Friedel, who was almost 40, decided to join Tottenham and he ended up finishing his career there. He became one of the oldest ever Premier League players in 2013 by being 42 years old.
Friedel played 450 games in 4 different Premier League clubs for 17 seasons and had 132 clean sheets in those games, which is some of the most clean sheets in Premier League history but his clean sheet percentage per game is actually the lowest among the goal keepers with highest clean sheet in Premier League ever by being 29.33%. but it doesn’t take away from the fact that he played mostly for mid table teams that struggled defensively and the fact that he has achieved a clean sheet every 4 games speaks to his quality.
8. Tim Howard
Another American who had some of the most number of clean sheets in Premier League history. Tim Howard was one of the goalkeepers that Manchester United brought to replace Schmeichel but ultimately United was never a good fit for him. He joined in 2003-04 season replacing Fabian Barthez but after a season he saw his game time being reduced heavily, which was mostly because of his errors. After the arrival of Edwin van der Sar in 2005-06 season that game time was reduced even more and it was time for Howard to move on.
He joined Everton at the start of 2006-07 season, first on loan but the club later made it a permanent deal, and it was in Everton where Howard started to truly shine. He played in 354 Premier League matches for Everton and even scored a goal for them. He served the club for 10 years and was a first choice goalkeeper in all of them.
Howard played 399 Premier League games and achieved 132 clean sheets holding the joint 7th spot among keepers with most clean sheets in EPL of all time. He had a clean sheet in 33.1% of his games, which is not bad considering he didn’t have that much of a great defense in front of him, for the majority of his time at Everton. After Everton he went back to his country and he is still playing football today. He also represented USA in 121 games, becoming the most capped goal keeper in USA history, and he even captained his country in some stages.
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7. Edwin van der Sar
Edwin van der Sar’s career was always a strange one, since the goalkeeper only came to the Premier League when he was already 31. It’s true that goalkeepers have longer careers but most of them experience a loss of form in their early thirties. For van der Sar though, these rules did not apply, as he only got better the older he got.
When an already world renowned van der Sar joined Fulham from Juventus at age 31, everyone thought he was in the twilight of his career but he proved them wrong as he registered 42 clean sheets for Fulham in his 127 appearances for the club. Fulham, at the time didn’t have a very strong defensive backline so it was van der Sar’s saves that made most of those clean sheets happen.
In 2005 though, Manchester decided to bring a 35-year old van der Sar to Old Trafford in order to compete with Howard for the starting position. But he ended up taking over the position completely and forcing Howard out of the club. He became an ageless wonder and a real pillar of Sir Alex Ferguson’s later years as United Manager. Van der Sar helped United win 4 Premier League titles, 3 of which were consecutive, and he won the Champions League with the club in 2007-08 season. In Premier League he had a record of almost a clean sheet in every 2 games for United.
All in all, he had 132 clean sheets in 313 Premier League games for Fulham and Manchester United, having a clean sheet percentage of 42.2% which is the 3rd among the goalkeepers with most clean sheets in Premier League history. He retired from football with his last game being the final of 2010-11 Champions League season but luck wasn’t with him that day as United lost that game to Barcelona. Van der Sar represented his country, Netherlands, 130 times and was their most capped player for the longest time until he was overtaken by Wesly Sneijder in 2017. Van der Sar will always remain one of the greatest goalkeepers of the Premier League era.
6. Pepe Reina
Pepe Reina has the least amount of games among the goalkeepers in our least, and the fact that he is 6th in having most clean sheets in Premier League history just shows how great a goalkeeper he was. Perhaps only records like this shows us how great he was because for most of his career he was under the shadow of one the greatest goalkeepers ever, Iker Casillas.
Reina was perhaps one of the first goalkeepers who adopted the ‘Sweeper-keeper’ role because of his great ability to play with his feet and his surprising speed that he used in coming out of the goal and aiding his backline. Gianluigi Buffon has even described Reina’s ball playing abilities as being the best of his generation. He is also a good shot-stopper and penalty-stopper.
Reina’s Premier League career started at Liverpool, where he took the league by storm, winning the Golden Glove award for most clean sheets in a season 3 times in a row, between 2005 and 2008. He spent 8 season at Liverpool and returned to the Premier League last season to play for Aston Villa. Overall he made 297 Premier League appearances making 136 clean sheets. With an incredible 45.8% clean sheet percentage in his games, he has the highest percentage of saves among the goalkeepers on this list and that should be enough to show how great a goalkeeper he was.
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5. Nigel Martyn
It’s not often that you find a player who is beloved by the fans of every club he played for, but Nigel Martyn is one of those players. Although almost half of his career was before the Premier League era, his incredible performances after the start of the Premier League in 1992 has earned him a place among the best goalkeepers in the EPL by having some of the most clean sheets in Premier League history whilst playing for Crystal Palace, Leeds United and Everton.
His longest time serving a club was with Crystal Palace where he remained for 7 years, 2 of which were in the Premier League, and then he went to Leeds, where most of his Premier League appearances as well as clean sheets happened. He became one of the most beloved Leeds players and later in 2006 was voted by the fans to be a part of the greatest Leeds team ever. But his time at Leeds was cut short and because of a disagreement with the managers he was told to leave Leeds United.
He had two offers to join Chelsea or Everton as a 2nd goalkeeper and he chose Everton and luck was in his favor as their first choice goalkeeper was injured soon after and he became a regular starter and took his chance as he was never put back on the bench again. He became a popular figure at Everton and amongst the fans. He helped them finish their highest ever Premier League spot by being 4th in 2004-05 season, one place above Liverpool, but sadly was badly injured the following season and was forced to retire.
Overall Martyn had 137 clean sheets in 372 matches. He made a clean sheet in 36.8% of the games he played and became a fan favorite figure who is still respected in different Premier League clubs. He is perhaps the more unknown goalkeeper in our list and that only shows, he did his job really well and didn’t look for any attention. Exactly what you want from a reliable goalkeeper.
4. David Seaman
David Seaman is an Arsenal legend and he is one of the most successful players on this list, having won many league titles as well as cup trophies and even individual trophies. He represented England for many years and appeared in 3 major tournaments for his country. He is also one of the longest serving Arsenal players of all time, by making 564 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal.
More than half of Seaman’s career happened before the Premier League even began. So to be placed so high among this list by having some of the most clean sheets in Premier League history is an incredible achievement for David Seaman, one he may have even bettered if his whole career was in the Premier League, like many of the keepers on this list.
Seaman was widely considered to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of the 90s and he received some individual awards for his excellent performances. He was known for his brave style of goalkeeping as well as his quick reflexes and ability to organize the defense. His many qualities was a huge boost to Arsene Wenger in his early years as Arsenal manager.
Seaman won 3 league titles with Arsenal, 2 of which were Premier League titles, and he aso won 4 FA Cups as well as several other trophies. He made 141 clean sheets in 344 Premier League Appearances, all of which were for Arsenal except 3 that came in his solitary season in Manchester City. He had a clean sheet in 41% of the games he appeared in and overall had some of the most clean sheets in Premier League ever. He will always remain a popular figure among Arsenal fans and his moustache and pony tail look will forever be remembered by football fans all over the world!
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3. Mark Schwarzer
Schwarzer was somewhat of a nomad, having played for different clubs throughout his career but it was in Middlesborough that he became a well-known keeper. The Australian international played 446 games in all competitions for ‘Borough, 332 of which were in the Premier League. His final game for them came in a memorable 8-1 over Manchester City in the 2007-08 season’s final matchday. He then moved to Fulham to fill the void that van der Sar had left.
At Fulham he performed some of the best football of his career as he helped them reach a Europa League final, which they lost. 56 of his clean sheets in the Premier League were in a Fulham shirt. It was at Fulham where he made his 500th Premier League appearance and became the first non-British player to do so.
He joined Chelsea at age 41 and became a backup goalkeeper, but he did make a couple of appearances and even won the League, although he was ineligible for the Winner’s medal. He did the same a year later when he moved to Leicester City. He also became the oldest ever Champions League player by being aged 41 years and 195 days old.
Schwarzer made 514 Premier League appearances, being the only non-british player to pass the 500 mark, and he made 151 clean sheets, being only the third goalkeeper to have more than 150 clean sheets. He has some of the highest clean sheets in EPL history and that along the longevity of his career will stand the test of time as it’s doubtful that any foreign goalkeeper could break his appearances record or even the amount of clean sheets he made.
2. David James
Another nomad goalkeeper on our list. David James has the 2nd most clean sheets in Premier League history. He is also the 4th longest serving Premier League player by having made 572 appearances in the Premier League. James is just a staple of Premier League, especially its first 2 decades. Having played for big and small teams alike. He played for Liverpool, Aston Villa, West ham, Manchester City and Portsmouth in the Premier League and was a reliable goalkeeper for most of his career.
David James has won a League Cup with Liverpool, where most of his clean sheets happened, and an FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008 in the latter stages of his career. he also represeneted England 53 times including the Euro 2004 and the 2010 World Cup.
Once David James got a taste of first team action, he never let go as he was always the first choice goalkeeper everywhere he went, which in a competitive league like the Premier League only emphasizes his great quality.
David James made 169 clean sheets in his long career in the Premier League, appearing in 572 games. Surprisingly most of his clean sheets happened at Liverpool and Portsmouth which were the first and last Premier League clubs he played for and that means he maintained his standards thoroughout his career and was excellent until the end by having the most number of clean sheets in Premier League history just behind our number 1.
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1. Petr Cech
One of the greatest ever Premier League players, Petr Cech played for two clubs during his career in England, Chelsea and Arsenal. He was regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of his era as well as one of the greatest in European History. He holds the record for reaching 100 clean sheets in the fewest appearances possible, which was in 180 games. He is also the most decorated player on our list as he has won numerous titles and trophies as well as individual awards in his career.
After impressing in the Ligue 1 with Rennes, Petr Cech made the move to the Premier League in 2004 and instantly became a hit at Chelsea as he went on 1025 minutes without conceding a goal at some point in that season and recorded an incredible amount of 21 clean sheets from 38 games and won the Golden Glove Award. Chelsea set a record by only conceding 15 goals that season and Cech’s career only got better from there.
Cech won 4 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 1 Champions League and a Europa League with Chelsea and later Arsenal. On individual level he became the best European Goalkeeper 4 times between 2005 and 2012. To list all his achievements would take an entire article, suffice it to say that he was one of the greatest ever players of his era and there was really no competition for him at his best.
Petr Cech recorded 202 clean sheets in 443 Premier League appearances, 162 for Chelsea and 40 for Arsenal, and he is only the first goalkeeper to achieve more than 200 clean sheets. He will certainly go down as the greatest Premier League goalkeeper ever and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that come close to his achievements as he is the number 1 goalkeeper with most clean sheets in Premier League history.