Ranking the 5 greatest Premier League goalkeepers of the 21st century

Cech and Courtois ahead of Chelsea vs Swansea City Premier League game
Cech and Courtois ahead of Chelsea vs Swansea City Premier League game

Who would want to be a goalkeeper in the Premier League? As the saying goes, they are a special breed and a bit crazy. However, every team challenging for trophies needs a good player between the posts, or else all the efforts of the outfielders go in vain.

The Premier League has seen a host of goalkeepers come and go, with many struggling to adapt immediately. The sheer physicality during corners is an issue for some, while others find it difficult because of defenders making back passes and unwanted errors.

This century, there have been many top goalkeepers who have plied their trade in the English top flight. On that note, here's a look at five of the best of them:

Note: Only appearances, clean sheets and Premier League titles have been counted. Any achievement in other competition is not included while making the list.

#5 Thibaut Courtois (two-time Premier League winner)

Chelsea vs Sunderland - Premier League
Chelsea vs Sunderland - Premier League

Thibaut Courtois spent just a few seasons at Chelsea, but the Belgian was on top of his game while at Stamford Bridge. He took the #1 spot from Petr Cech at the start of the 2014-15 season, and kept his place in the team until the end of the 2017-18 one.

The Chelsea star won the league twice and the Golden Glove once in his four seasons with the Blues.

7ī¸âƒŖ years ago today, we signed @ThibautCourtois!Here's five of his best saves so far... 👐

He kept 48 clean sheets in 126 league games before leaving the club for Real Madrid.

Chelsea reluctantly sold the Belgian in a reported â‚Ŧ35 million deal, with Mateo Kovacic heading to London on loan. The Blues replaced Courtois with Kepa Arrizabalaga, who is yet to prove the world-record fee paid for him.

#4 Mark Schwarzer

Mark Schwarzer during a Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City game
Mark Schwarzer during a Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City game

Mark Schwarzer is often forgotten when the Premier League's greatest goalkeepers discussion takes place. The Australian spent 19 seasons in the league with four different clubs.

Starting off with Middlesbrough in the 1998-99 season, Schwarzer played 514 games in the league. He kept 151 clean sheets in the process, with most of them coming for Middlesbrough and Fulham.

The shot-stopped spent three seasons in total at Chelsea and Leicester City before hanging his gloves at the end of the 2015-16 campaign. He made just ten league appearances for the two teams, managing three clean sheets.

#3 David de Gea

Manchester United vs West Ham United - Premier League
Manchester United vs West Ham United - Premier League

David de Gea had a tough start to his Manchester United career, but Sir Alex Ferguson stuck by the Spaniard. The push to make himself better worked, and the goalkeeper has been the Red Devil's best player for many seasons since then.

After joining United in 2011, the goalkeeper made 29 appearances in the league in his first season. He has played every single game in a season just twice in his 11 years at the club. However, he played 37 matches in a league campaign on three occasions.

In total, he has made 361 league appearances to date, keeping 127 clean sheets. He won the Premier League once (2012-13), and the Golden Glove award as well.

#2 Edwin van der Sar

Manchester United Legends vs Bayern Munich All Stars
Manchester United Legends vs Bayern Munich All Stars

Edwin van der Sar is arguably the greatest goalkeeper in Manchester United's history. A few would argue in favour of Peter Schmeichel and David de Gea, but the Dutchman has an edge over them. Van der Sar spent just six seasons at United, but won the title four times.

Iconic shirt, iconic keeper đŸ—Ŗ🧤 @vdSar1970#MUFC | #PhotoOfTheDay

Interestingly, the Red Devils finished second both times they did not win the title with Van de Sar in the team.

However, the Premier League legend won the Golden Glove award just once in his United stint. He had spent four seasons at Fulham before moving to Old Trafford, so it is safe to say that he was on top of his game there as well.

Overall, Van de Sar played 313 games in the league and kept 132 clean sheets, most of them for United.

#1 Petr Cech

Chelsea vs FC Schalke 04 - UEFA Champions League
Chelsea vs FC Schalke 04 - UEFA Champions League

Petr Cech holds the record for most clean sheets (202) in Premier League history. His record is unlikely to be broken any time soon.

The Czech goalkeeper spent 11 seasons at Chelsea before moving to Arsenal for five seasons. He played a total of 443 goals for both clubs in the league, and kept a clean sheet almost every two games.

'It is probably in the top five saves that I made as a Chelsea player!'Lightning reflexes from @PetrCech in our FA Cup tie against Man Utd #onthisday in 2013! ⚡ī¸â›”ī¸

He won the league four times in his career, all with Chelsea. Cech is now the technical and performance advisor at Chelsea. He played a huge part in bringing their current #1 goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to the club.

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Edited by Bhargav
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