10. Carlo Cudicini
His years of sitting on the bench at Stamford Bridge behind Petr Cech in the pecking order may have made many people forget just how good the Italian shot stopper was. I always think it speaks volumes when a goalkeeper wins a club’s Player of the Year award, and that’s exactly what Cudicini did for the Blues in 2002. Cudicini was notorious for making wonderful saves and often made fans jaws drop. It is a shame that the Italian potentially ruined his Premiership career by playing second fiddle to the Czech for much longer than he should have.
9. Jussi Jaaskelainen
At first this may seem like an odd choice, but the Finn has most certainly proved himself over the years in the world’s top league. Jaaskelainen gets more practice than any other keeper on this list and if Bolton have got a result you can bet that Match of the Day will be the Jussi Jaaskelainen show. Often known for making exquisite saves, the Finn is worshiped at The Reebok, scooping both the Player of the Year and Player’s Player of the Year awards in 2007.
8. Brad Friedel
The American international has risen from Anfield bench-boy to one of the Premier League’s best current keepers. During his time at Blackburn Rovers he proved to be a thorn in the side of the ‘Big Four’ on numerous occasions, with inspired performances against Manchester United springing to mind. Friedel has played a huge part in Aston Villa’s rise over the last few seasons and despite being 38 is likely to contribute to the Midlands clubs for a few seasons yet.
7. Pepe Reina
Since the departure of David James, no stranger to the odd mistake himself, Liverpool had failed to find a solid reliable keeper, with Sander Westerveld and Jerzy Dudek more than prone to the occasional error, however when they signed the Pepe Reina in 2005, that’s exactly what they got. Errors are few and far between with the Spaniard, wonder saves are not. In times of crisis at Anfield (like now) Reina has been one of the shining lights and he often lifts the team, something that is sometimes under appreciated.
6. Edwin Van Der Sar
The United goalkeepinh position gave manager Alex Ferguson headache after headache for years after the departure of Peter Schmiechel and it was not until Ferguson signed the Dutch international that he found a worthy replacement for the Dane. Every good goalkeeper should install confidence in their defence, and that’s exactly what Van Der Sar does. Shown by his recent return to action, the Champions look a better outfit with the Dutchman between the sticks. There’s also that small matter of the fact he went 1,311 minutes without conceding a league goal, smashing all records along the way.
5. David Seaman
England and Arsenal’s number one for years, Seaman will go down as a goalkeeping legend. The infamous pony-tailed stopper was instrumental in much of the success Arsenal enjoyed throughout the Premiership before finally being succeeded by 2003 by Jens Lehmann, making over 400 appearances for the Gunners in the process. A career highlight will most definitely be a save from a Paul Peschisolido header in an F.A Cup Semi Final, in which Seaman appeared to achieve the impossible and scoop the ball off the line in mid air.
4. David James
One of the all-time greats of the Premier League, James has proved to be a solid goalkeeper wherever he has been and has proved his worth all over the Premiership. Often known more for his crazy haircuts, James shrugged off the nickname ‘Calamity James’ through years of solid performances. At 39, James is still staking his claim to be England’s number one and is arguably the most experienced keeper in the league. His presence will be vital to Portsmouth’s campaign.
3. Shay Given
It amazes me how so many of Shay Given’s admirers have only recently emerged after his move to Manchester City when season after season the Irishman was outstanding at St. James’ Park. What Given gives away in height he makes up for in his shot stopping and has already earned City vital points this season. Is it a coincidence that Newcastle were relegated after Given’s departure?
2. Petr Cech
Headguard or no headguard, Cech is an outstanding keeper. One of the key players in Chelsea’s back to back title victories of 2005 and 2006, Cech has previously been labelled ‘best goalkeeper on the planet’. Three times winner of the ‘Best Goalkeeper’ award in the UEFA Champions League, the Czech international is a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge. There are not many people let alone goalkeepers that would have recovered so quickly from the head injury that Cech sustained. Despite a recent lull in performances, Cech is still undoubtedly one of the best the Premier League has seen.
1. Peter Schmeichel
Who else but the Great Dane? Bought in 1991 for £530,000, Alex Ferguson described this as the ‘bargain of the century’, and who would disagree with him? Schmiechel would spend 8 years at Old Trafford before later returning to England with Aston Villa and Manchester City. The ex-United man also has the added note on his CV that he knew how to score a goal or two, being one of the only goalkeepers in the world whose sight in the opposition’s penalty box resulted in fear as opposed to laughter. Quite simply the best the league has seen.
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