5 Best Arsenal Goalkeepers of All Time

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2013

5 Best Arsenal Goalkeepers of All Time

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    Younger supporters might be surprised to know that Arsenal were once known as a bastion of goalkeeping excellence.

    Prior to the flapping of Lukasz Fabianski and the nerves of Manuel Almunia, the Gunners were renowned for the reliability and consistency of their custodians of the net.

    Over the next five slides, we count down the greatest goalkeepers ever to play for Arsenal.

5. Frank Moss

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    Frank Moss is unusual for a goalkeeper in that he is most fondly remembered for a goal he scored rather than saved.

    In 1933, Moss was the deciding figure in a thrilling chase for the title. Arsenal required a win at Goodison Park against Everton to beat Sunderland to the title. Unfortunately, during the match, Moss suffered a dislocated shoulder and had to be taken out of goal.

    However, rather than retire from the match, Moss played on the left-wing as an outfield player. Not only did he manage to complete the game, but he also scored the first and only goal of his career to send Arsenal on the way to a 2-0 win which clinched the title.

    Moss was a fine goalkeeper, but is remembered most for his outstanding courage.

4. Jens Lehmann

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    Any goalkeeper who can go through an entire Premier League season unbeaten is worthy of a spot in this list.

    Jens Lehmann was one of the game's great characters, and some goalkeeper too. His eccentricity was matched only by his agility.

    Rather tragically, the greatest occasion of Lehmann's Arsenal career was cut short, as he was sent off just 18 minutes in to the 2006 Champions League final. Lehmann's form never fully recovered, and in 2008, he was released to join Stuttgart.

    Like other great Arsenal goalkeepers including John Lukic, Lehmann returned for a second spell at the club towards the end of his career. He is now completing his coaching qualifications.

    Who knows? Perhaps Lehmann will soon return to Arsenal once again to drill their existing goalkeepers into shape. 

3. Jack Kelsey

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    Jack Kelsey's time at Arsenal spanned three decades.

    He joined in 1949 after being spotted playing for his local side in Wales. It took Kelsey two years to oust incumbent goalkeeper George Swindon, but once he had the No. 1 shirt, he held it for more than eight years.

    Kelsey was an innovator. He was one of the first goalkeepers to rush out of his penalty box to halt attackers. In the days before goalkeepers wore gloves, Kelsey was also said to rub chewing gum on his hands prior to matches in order to improve his grip.

    This thoroughly modern goalkeeper created a template for future Arsenal legends to follow. 

2. Pat Jennings

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    Like Jack Kelsey, Pat Jennings was unorthodox. His bravery and athleticism saw him develop a unique style: Jennings was one of the first goalkeepers prepared to use parts of his body other than his hands to block the ball.

    The greatest compliment one can pay Jennings is that he became an Arsenal legend despite having spent the peak of his career at Tottenham. When Jennings moved across North London, many assumed he was finished.

    They were wrong.

    He went on to play 327 matches for the Gunners and reach three FA Cup finals. His Tottenham past was almost entirely forgotten.

1. David Seaman

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    David Seaman is the greatest goalkeeper in Arsenal's history.

    He served the Gunners between 1990 and 2003, collecting a string of trophies along the way.

    Seaman's career was crowned by this extraordinary save from Paul Peschisolido in the FA Cup. Seaman showed extraordinary reflexes and strength to turn the ball out of the net when it appeared a certain goal.

    As Seaman's powers waned, he arguably held on a little too long to his place as Arsenal and England's No. 1. However, time has restored his reputation.

    David Seaman is rightly remembered as the greatest stopper Arsenal have ever had.