History

Assessing Chelsea's top 10 clean sheet kings

The latest Match of the Day podcast switches attention to clean sheets and goalkeepers this week. In order to provide a Chelsea twist to the list, we've picked out our top 10 shot-stoppers based on number of clean sheets below...

During the current pause in football, Match of the Day regulars Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright have been compiling ranked lists of Premier League-era standout performers. The podcasts are also being screened in the usual Saturday night highlights slot on the BBC. Previous episodes have focused on top goalscorers and the best captain, while attention in the latest edition focuses on the men between the sticks.

There is much more to the art of goalkeeping than merely keeping clean sheets but shut-outs remain the most telling indicator of a keeper's worth to the team. Petr Cech is sure to feature in the conversation of the Premier League's best, with 202 clean sheets from 443 appearances. In 2004/05, as the Blues won the title for the first time in 50 years, the Czech Republic international conceded only 15 goals all season, a record low that still remains intact.

Cech also headlines our list below of those to have kept the most clean sheets in all competitions for Chelsea so he is where we start...

Petr Cech

Cech leads the way with Chelsea clean sheets having kept a staggering 228, which would be enough alone to earn him legend status. However, it’s not just about the bare statistics when it comes to the 37-year-old.

Think about his heroics in the 2012 Champions League final, when he saved three penalties, or his remarkable stop to deny Andy Carroll in the FA Cup final a fortnight earlier. Steady and spectacular.

Peter Bonetti

With his distinctive green shirt and gloves, Peter Bonetti guarded Chelsea's net for the best part of two decades, making up for his lack of height with the outstanding agility and reflexes that earned him one of football's most iconic nicknames: the Cat. He was the last line of defence in all our trophy successes in the Sixties and Seventies, as well as being the club's first-ever World Cup winner.

Across 729 appearances for our first team he also secured another record which lasted until the modern era, when his tally of 208 clean sheets for Chelsea was finally surpassed by Cech.

Carlo Cudicini

Signed in the summer of 1999 as a virtual unknown outside of his homeland; departed a decade later a Blues legend. Cudicini was signed on a season-long loan from Castel Di Sangro, a transfer which was later made permanent for a bargain £160,000.

He soon became renowned for his reflexes and penalty-saving skills, with an incredible success rate of close to 50 per cent, and went on to win honours as both the club’s Player of the Year and the best keeper in the league. After 216 appearances and 101 clean sheets, even a move to White Hart Lane couldn’t taint his legacy in west London.

Sam Millington

A native of Walsall, Millington was signed from Wellington, in nearby Shropshire, and played an integral role in helping us to promotion in 1930, when he kept 14 clean sheets and missed only four matches.

The sight of the keeper between the sticks wearing his flat cap became a familiar sight for Blues supporters and Millington made a whopping 245 appearances during only six seasons as our undisputed number one after joining in 1926, shortly after his 30th birthday. Unfortunately, injury caused him to retire when he still had plenty to give, but he went out with 78 clean sheets to his name.

Jim Molyneux

Signed from Stockport in 1910 as an understudy to Jack Whitley, Molyneux soon made the gloves his own and held them for the next 12, war-torn, years. Although he stood at only 5ft 9in tall, his agility and sharp anticipation allowed him to prosper in other ways, earning him great respect from the goalkeeping community.

Molly, as he was known, appeared in our first FA Cup final, although he was unable to keep out Sheffield United in a 3-0 defeat in 1915. He retired with 239 first-team appearances, and many more during the war, and kept 77 clean sheets.

Ed de Goey

De Goey overcame a shaky start by helping us to glory in the League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup, and it was his stunning save in the last minute of the European semi-final against Vicenza which sealed our place in the final.

In 1999/00 he set club records for most appearances and clean sheets in a season; both have since been surpassed, although at 6ft 6in, he remains the joint-tallest player in our history. He ended that campaign as an FA Cup winner, though injury problems soon saw him lose his place to Cudicini. In all, he kept 73 clean sheets in his 179 games.

Vic Woodley

Woodley is one of the finest custodians to represent the club, and for three years prior to World War Two he was England’s undisputed number one, playing 19 matches in succession. Signed from Windsor & Eton in 1930, he went on to make 272 appearances for the Blues and held off strong competition for his place from Scotland's international keeper Johnny Jackson.

His consistency and sure handling proved crucial as we battled to maintain our Division One status during a difficult period. He left us after keeping 60 clean sheets to join Derby County, winning the first post-war FA Cup final with the Rams.

Thibaut Courtois

Brought back to the Bridge in 2014 from his loan spell with Atletico Madrid, where he had spent the previous three seasons, Courtois took number one status from Cech and helped us to Premier League glory 12 months after he’d won La Liga. Two years later he repeated the trick, this time adding the Golden Glove award for keeping the most clean sheets in the English top flight.

The Belgian also kept out Manchester United in his final appearance for the Blues, the 2018 FA Cup final, to add another trophy, leaving us for Real Madrid that summer with 58 clean sheets in 154 games.

Eddie Niedzwiecki

The Welshman was a bargain buy from Wrexham in the summer of 1983, helping to usher in a new era at the Bridge after a barren few years. He played every fixture and conceded less than a goal a game as we won the Division Two title and he was superb again when making the step up to the top flight.

Sadly, Eddie suffered serious knee ligament damage in 1986 while at the peak of his game and shortly before winning Player of the Year, and he attempted a comeback to no avail. His tally of 55 clean sheets and 175 appearances would have both been far greater, otherwise.

Dmitri Kharine

The spring-heeled goalkeeper earned cult-hero status at Chelsea during a seven-year spell in west London, although the tracksuit bottoms he regularly wore don’t quite put him up there with Bonetti in the sartorial stakes.

He joined the Blues following spells with three of Moscow's finest and after impressing at Euro 1992, where he represented CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] – one of three different national sides he played for, including Russia. The highlight of his spell in England was a trip to Wembley in 1994 for the FA Cup final, although he conceded four times in defeat to Man United. He kept 51 clean sheets in 146 games for the club.

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