The best goalkeepers in the English Premier League can make a serious difference.
A great defense can be thwarted by a bad goalkeeper. Similarly, a great goalkeeper can save a poor defense. After comparing the talent on the defenses to clean sheets and goals conceded, I have compiled a list of the five best goalkeepers in the EPL.
Feel free to let me know if I missed a goalie, or if my rankings are a little off!
Tim Howard is an elite goalkeeper. He plays well internationally, but he also led the seventh best defense in the EPL last season.
For Everton, Howard makes a good amount of saves, but he isn't called upon as much as he is for the United States. His reflexes are some of the best in the world, and he can save even the closest range shots.
Everton are hoping to make a climb into the top six, and they will need a huge season from Howard in order to do so.
David de Gea has some huge boots to fill. Edwin van der Sar is a Manchester United legend, and the 20-year-old de Gea will have to follow in his footsteps.
De Gea made nearly 60 La Liga appearances for Atletico Madrid in his two-year career, and that was enough to impress Sir Alex Ferguson. The Spanish international is regarded as one of the best young goalkeepers in the world. If he lives up to those expectations, United may have found itself another legend.
Right now, de Gea is already one of the best goalkeepers in the EPL. Still, he is young, and he will go through some growing pains. If United fans can understand a mistake or two, de Gea could potentially blossom into the greatest keeper in the world.
Pepe Reina is getting a little older, but he remains a world-class goalkeeper.
Last year, the Spanish international had the fewest clean sheets in a season since arriving at Anfield. He played well, but his defense let him down a few times.
This year, however, Liverpool are hoping to return to glory, and Reina will be a big contributor. He wants to play in the Champions League, and Liverpool have a great chance to qualify this year. Their attacking will be fantastic, which will take a lot of pressure of the defense and Reina.
With less pressure, I think Reina will be able to make big-time saves, and his clean sheet count could climb near 20. Reina is a great keeper, and he will continue to play well this year.
Joe Hart was not selected as England's goalkeeper for the 2010 World Cup. Last season, he made Fabio Capello realize his mistake.
Hart was unbelievable for most of the season. He won the Golden Glove Award last season for keeping the most clean sheets (18) in the season. Hart had a strong defense in front of him, and he made all the necessary saves to maintain his clean sheets.
Hart, along with Manchester City, had a midseason swoon last year. If they can avoid that trouble, City will challenge for the title, and Hart could win his second consecutive Golden Glove.
When you look at overall goalkeeping, Petr Cech is the best keeper in the English Premier League.
He makes fantastic saves, stays in good position and leads one of the best defenses in the league. Cech allowed the fewest goals in the league last year (33). Not to mention, if you eliminate the Arsenal, Aston Villa and Sunderland debacles, Chelsea never conceded more than two goals in a match.
Chelsea continue to age, but Cech remains in form. There is constant talk about issues with Chelsea's strikers, but Cech remains a rock.
As long as Chelsea have the best goalkeeper in the league, they will always stand a chance of claiming the title.