The Premier League is one of the most attacking football competitions in the world and defensively solidity is a rare quality that only the best teams have managed over the years.
Although a club's campaign is generally rememebered by the attacking prowess on display, there is no way a team could achieve glory without a solid defensive unit.
Several iconic backlines have been part of the Premier League's rich history
Goalkeepers are often blamed for even small errors, and they have one of the hardest jobs in football. And true to its status as possibly the best football league in the world, the Premier League has produced many legendary goalkeepers such as Edwin van der Sar and Petr Cech. These goalies found success after being backed by a sturdy defensive line.
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, and John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho are just a couple of prominent defensive pairings that have helped their team ascend to the top of the pyramid during their times.
Let us now take a look at the five teams who have kept the most consecutive clean sheets in Premier League history:
#5 Southampton: 7 clean sheets (2000-01)
Southampton are rarely known for their defensive solidity. However, the 2000-01 Premier League season was an exception and the Saints played some of their best football in years during that campaign. Glenn Hoddle had been made Southampton’s manager, replacing Dave Jones, who was allegedly charged with child abuse.
This change in management led to an immediate improvement in the Saints’ performance, and they made up for the abysmal start to their season very soon. After losing to Liverpool in early January, the Saints won five of their next seven games. Goalie Paul Jones went on to keep seven consecutive clean sheets during the same period.
The Saints were unable to keep the tempo going after this and they finished the season in 10th place. This was also their last season playing in The Dell. The Southampton board wanted to expand the club’s development and they moved to the St. Mary’s Stadium after this season.
#4 Arsenal: 8 clean sheets (1997-98)
The 1997-98 season was Arsene Wenger’s second in charge of Arsenal. The Frenchman faced tremendous criticism after his appointment, but proved his worth by leading Arsenal to great success. The Frenchman guided the club to their second-ever league and FA Cup double.
The Gunners went on a run of eight games without conceding a goal in the second half of that season. David Seaman, one of Arsenal’s greatest-ever keepers, had a phenomenal campaign behind the formidable trio of Tony Adams, Martin Keown, and Steve Bould, which reinforced the defense.
Dennis Bergkamp was the standout performer that season, scoring 16 goals and providing 13 assists in the Premier League. Arsenal went on to win the Premier League by the tiniest of margins, beating Manchester United to the title by just one point. The Gunners were also crowned FA Cup champions that season.
#3 Liverpool: 8 clean sheets (2005/06)
Although Liverpool’s superiority over the past few seasons has been evident, the Reds’ weren’t always this commanding in the Premier League era. Arsenal and Manchester United were the kings of the noughties, with other teams hardly getting a chance at winning the coveted silverware.
Liverpool were, however, a rejuvenated side in the 2005/06 season after their glorious Champions League win in Istanbul.
This was Pepe Reina’s first season with the Reds, having signed for them from Villareal. Liverpool were defensively solid mid-season, keeping eight clean sheets in a row. Rafa Benitez’s men matched the Reds' previous record, which came in the 1922-93 season.
The season turned out to be a successful one for Liverpool as they won the FA Cup and finished the league in a respectable third position. Pepe Reina starred in the FA Cup final, saving three out of four penalties in the shootout.
#2 Chelsea: 10 clean sheets (2004-05)
Chelsea’s 2004-05 team is amongst the best ever in Premier League history. The Blues put in dominant performances consistently and went on to claim their second league title. Chelsea finished the season with 95 points, which is the fifth-highest points tally in top-flight history.
Petr Cech was a key member of the Blues’ side that season. The Czech international, aided by his robust defense, kept 10 consecutive clean sheets. This was a league record at the time. Chelsea put on a defensive masterclass that season and lost only one game in the entire campaign, to Manchester City.
Petr Cech went on to win the inaugural Premier League Golden Glove after keeping 24 clean sheets in total, and his record still stands. Chelsea were extremely hard to break down and they conceded just 15 goals in the entire season, which is also a league record.
#1 Manchester United: 14 clean sheets (2008-09)
Manchester United continued their nineties' league dominance into the 2000s as well. The Red Devils conquered the English top-flight thanks to both attacking prowess and defensive strength. Sir Alex Ferguson created a team of mentality monsters that fought tooth and nail for every piece of silverware that was on the line.
The 2008-09 season saw United win their third of three consecutive Premier League titles. While a 24-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo was the Red Devils’ leading goalscorer with 18 goals, United’s defense was also quite exceptional.
Edwin van der Sar, backed by the center-back pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, formed a rock-solid backline. They kept 14 consecutive clean sheets together, a Premier League record that is yet to be broken. United also won the League Cup and the Club World Cup, marking the end of a highly successful season.