Power Ranking the 20 First-Choice Premier League Goalkeepers
Ranking players in the Premier League is always a tough job. The goalkeeping department is particularly tricky.
Strikers can easily be assessed on goals, wingers on assists. Defenders and goalkeepers are harder to judge. Statistics like clean sheets and goals conceded say more about the defensive unit as a whole than individual players.
The number of saves that an individual keeper makes can also be misleading, as all squads are not created equal and it only stands to reason that some keepers will need to make more saves than others.
With that said, here is my take on how the Premier League shot stoppers rank.
20. Wayne Hennessey: Wolves
Well, someone has to be on the bottom. I feel for the Welsh international, because there is clearly a good goalkeeper in there. At one stage he was seen as a real up-and-coming talent to watch, and he has played a fair few games for Wales.
However, the Wolves defense has not been up to much this season. They are currently on a long run without a Premier League clean sheet.
Still, the goalkeeper cannot be blameless in this, and Wolverhampton have conceded 49 goals in just 25 league games. Finally, in his last appearance Hennessey conceded five goals against West Brom.
19. Paul Robinson: Blackburn
It's difficult to create a glowing recommendation for Robinson. At one stage he may have been a decent option for England's national squad. This is no longer the case, especially due to the fact that Blackburn are the only Premier League club yet to keep a clean sheet this season.
Blackburn also have the worst Premier League defense and have conceded 56 goals this season. Robinson recently conceded seven goals in a match against Arsenal.
18. Paddy Kenny: QPR
Paddy Kenny has long since established himself as one of the finest goalkeepers in the Championship. However, he has found things harder going in the Premier League. It has now been 16 games since QPR last kept a clean sheet.
The QPR defense in general has not been too handy and has conceded 44 goals in EPL play so far. Kenny is a very capable backup keeper, but if QPR want to stay in the Premier League long term they may need a new first-choice goalkeeper before long.
17. Ali Al-Habsi: Wigan
Al-Habsi was one of Wigan's more significant bits of summer transfer business. He certainly pulled off a number of great saves, but he has also made his fair share of mistakes.
Al-Habsi is decent but a long way from being one of the best on the league. The Wigan goalkeeper has let in 50 goals so far in the league.
16. Jussi Jaaskelainen: Bolton
Adam Bogdan has been playing in recent games, but I am going to assume that Jaaskelainen is still first-choice for Bolton and will be back between the sticks shortly.
Jaaskelainen certainly has a reputation as one of the finest goalkeepers we have seen in the Premier League. However, he is not the player he once was like many of the keepers on this list.
There are now many younger and better goalkeepers. Bolton have one of the worst defensive records in the league, conceding 51 goals.
15, Ben Foster: West Brom
Ben Foster was another highly rated player at an earlier stage in his career, especially when he was at Manchester United.
However, he has not shown the sort of form since leaving Old Trafford that would get him on the plane to Euro 2012, for instance. (Unless, of course if Roy Hodgson was appointed as England's next manager.)
West Brom have struggled throughout much of the season, but their defensive record is not as bad as some teams in the league. Nevertheless, there are certainly much better goalkeepers in the Premier League.
14. Simon Mignolet: Sunderland
Sunderland's Belgian keeper Simon Mignolet has made a decent entry into Premier League life. He has a big frame and it's difficult to be too critical of a player who only cost the club £2 million.
Mignolet arrived at Sunderland in the summer of 2010, and has now made 40 appearances in the EPL.
However, he still has a fair way to go before he can be considered one of the league's elite.
13. Shay Given: Aston Villa
Shay Given has made a career out of being a high quality Premier League goalkeeper, but being relegated to the Manchester City bench for significant stretches of time did not help his cause.
The Irishman is now getting towards the end of his career and is not the same player he was at Newcastle. There are certainly better netminders in the league, but Aston Villa are lucky to have a player with such experience.
12. Thomas Sorensen: Stoke
Stoke City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen has bags of Premier League experience and is a popular figure in the game.
The Dane is still a good goalkeeper and his experience is a real bonus. But Sorensen is another player heading towards the end of his career, and it will not be long until Stoke will be looking for a new shot stopper.
11. Mark Schwarzer: Fulham
Australian goalkeeper Schwarzer has been a fantastic servant to English football. The shot stopper was ever present as Middlesbrough's main goalkeeper for many years before joining Fulham.
It's hard to be too critical of him because he is still a great professional, but Schwarzer's best years have passed.
10. David De Gea: Manchester United
Sir Alex Ferguson does not make many mistakes in the transfer market, and he will like to think he has not made one with the signing of David de Gea. The Manchester United manager paid around £19 million to bring the Spaniard to England.
De Gea has had a mixed start to life in the Premier League, sometimes showing his brilliance, but other times showing tremendous flaws.
The goalkeeper is in his early 20s and still has plenty of time to prove himself. Ferguson will be hoping he can do just that.
9. John Ruddy: Norwich
Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy has adapted pretty well to life in the Premier League.
The Canaries' defensive record may not be the best in the league, but the team would have conceded many more goals if it was not for Ruddy this season.
He has a way to go before he can be considered one of the Premier League's best, but on current form he is arguably the second best English goalkeeper in the league.
8. Tim Howard: Everton
American international Tim Howard has been playing in the Premier League since he joined Manchester United in 2003. He has proved himself to be one of the more capable shot stoppers in the English top-flight.
Everton manager David Moyes prides himself on a solid defense, and Howard is an integral part of that.
7. Michel Vorm: Swansea
Michel Vorm arrived at Swansea in the summer, and the signing has proved to be an excellent bit of business from Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers.
The Welsh club have had a tight defense at Liberty Stadium this season and the spectacular saves the Dutchman has made has played a crucial part in keeping the goals out.
Swansea are close to securing their place in the Premier League for another season. The only problem now is that Swansea have alerted bigger clubs to his talent.
6. Petr Cech: Chelsea
There was a time the Chelsea goalkeeper would be considered the best in the league. This is no longer the case, but he is still hugely talented. Now, he is also hugely experienced having been at the club since '04.
Cech is still capable of producing heroics between the sticks.
5. Wojciech Szczesny: Arsenal
One thing most people agree on is that Arsenal have their goalkeeping position set for many years.
Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny is hugely talented, and if he keeps his feet on the ground he may well be the best in the Premier League in short time.
The fact that the Pole is just 21 years old and 6'5" are both good omens for Gunners fans.
4. Jose "Pepe" Reina: Liverpool
Having joined English football in July 2005 for £6 million, Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina has been fantastic for the Premier League and Liverpool. The £6 million looks like an absolute bargain by today's standards.
Reina has played a significant part in the solid defense that Liverpool have fielded for the past several seasons. Reina is still of the highest quality.
3. Tim Krul: Newcastle
Tim Krul has been the undisputed No. 1 choice between the sticks for Newcastle this season. For the most part he has been hugely impressive (though, he didn't enjoy his last performance against Spurs too much when he conceded five).
The Dutch goalkeeper is just 23 and undoubtedly feels he can be a top-level keeper for years to come. He will also be keen to repay the faith put in him by his manager Alan Pardew.
2. Brad Friedel: Spurs
American goalkeeper Brad Friedel may be 40 years of age, but the man is evergreen. The shot stopper seems to be as good now as he was in his 20s.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp would surely admit that signing Friedel was a fantastic bit of business.
The quality and experience the American has is a huge asset to Spurs.
1. Joe Hart: Manchester City
So there we have it, the best goalkeeper in the Premier League. England may be without a manger at the moment, but Hart will be going to Euro 2012 as the man between the sticks.
It is no surprise that Manchester City have the best defensive record in the Premier League. The fact that Hart has only been beaten six times at home illustrates the man's quality.
Manchester City and England have the very best.