Is Petr Cech the best ever Premier League-era goalkeeper?

Petr Cech - Credit: Ryu Voelkel (Flickr Creative Commons)
Petr Cech - Credit: Ryu Voelkel (Flickr Creative Commons) /

Petr Cech equalled a Premier League record this past weekend, but is he the league’s greatest ever goalkeeper?

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Cech earned his 169th Premier League clean sheet as he helped steer Arsenal to a 2-0 victory over league strugglers Aston Villa.

The record had previously been set by former Liverpool, West Ham and Portsmouth goalkeeper David James, but it looks likely that Cech will set a new record this season, with the Gunners’ fixture with Manchester City this weekend being the Czech international’s first opportunity.

Here at We Are Hooligans, we produced an article that detailed our Premier League Top 11, with Cech being labelled our choice for goalkeeper. So I thought I would look into this decision and see whether or not Cech can compete with the other two goalkeepers often seen as the best in the Premier League-era: Peter Schmeichel and David Seaman.

For the purposes of this debate, all records, trophies and appearances from the Premier League’s inception from the 1992-1993 season will be counted.

Any performances and achievements prior to this date will not be included as they do not count towards the Premier League and the Premier League-era of English football, the top league in England prior to the 1992-1993 season was the First Division.

Personal Awards

Being three of the best goalkeepers to grace the English game, it is no wonder that they have won multiple awards between them. Petr Cech has won the Premier League Golden Glove award three times, but as this award was not introduced until the 2004/2005 season, it is not being included here.

Cech has won a combined six awards including Premier League Team of the Year, World’s Best Goalkeeper and Best European Goalkeeper, while Schmeichel has won seven across the same categories, but has also been named the only goalkeeper in Premier League history to be named the outright Player of the Season.

Seaman found himself falling short in this category, surprisingly only being named to the Team of the Year on one occasion, winning no other significant yearly awards.

Additionally, as previously mentioned above, Cech is now the joint-record holder for most clean sheets in the Premier League, while Schmeichel finds himself on the list of Top 10 most clean sheets. Seaman, however, did not make the list.

Cech: 2x PL Team of the Year, 1x IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper, 3x UEFA Best European Goalkeeper
Schmeichel: 1x PL Team of the Year, 2x IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper, 3x UEFA Best European Goalkeeper, 1x PL Player of the Season
Seaman: 1x PL Team of the Year


Between the three of them, they have won a combined 43 trophies since the Premier League’s first campaign in 1992/1993.

That is a staggering number, which is almost equivalent to winning two trophies each season the Premier League has been operating.

Cech and Schmeichel both have the same number of total trophies won, with sixteen, while Schmeichel has won one-more Premier League title.

Seaman has won eleven trophies during his Premier League tenure, a number that only Cech and Schmeichel have currently bested.

Cech is still playing and could win another trophy or two with Arsenal, which would give him the edge over Schmeichel, but Schmeichel’s better Premier League haul may just put him slightly ahead in this one.

Cech: 4x Premier League, 4x FA Cup, 3x League Cup, 3x Community Shield, 1x Champions League, 1x Europa Cup (16)
Schmeichel: 5x Premier League, 3x FA Cup, 1x League Cup, 4x Charity Shield, 1x Champions League, 1x Super Cup, 1x Intertoto Cup (16)
Seaman: 2x Premier League, 4x FA Cup, 1x League Cup, 3x Community Shield, 1x Cup Winners’ Cup (11)

Premier League Tenure

The three goalkeepers have had long careers, with Seaman currently having the longest in the Premier League, playing 12 seasons in the tournament.

Cech is in his 12th season and will match the former England goalkeeper’s record after this campaign is finished. Schmeichel falls short of this accomplishment due to him spending a couple of seasons in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon and retiring one season prior to Seaman, in 2003.

Fun fact: Schmeichel finished his career with Manchester City in the 2002/2003 season and Seaman finished his career with the same club in the 2003/2004 season, replacing Schmeichel the season after he retired.

Cech: 2004 – Present (11+ years)
Schmeichel: 1992 – 1999, 2001 – 2002, 2002 – 2003 (9 years)
Seaman: 1992 – 2004 (12 years)

So which goalkeeper truly stands above the rest? Cech is still playing at the age of 33, giving him a number of years to continue his impressive run in the Premier League.

But is he better than Schmeichel or Seaman? Who do you think is deserving of the title: Greatest Premier League-era Goalkeeper?