Penalty saving goalkeepers of the Premier League
Leicester's Kasper Schmeichel showcased his penalty saving qualities this weekend but is he one of the best the Premier League has ever seen?
Schmeichel denied Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero during the second half of Leicester’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday and that is the fourth time he has saved a penalty during his top-flight career.
That save handed Schmeichel the family bragging rights in terms of Premier League penalty saves, as he has now completed one more than his father Peter did during his own top-flight career.
The Denmark international is now tied fourth for most Premier League penalty saves made since his return to the top-flight with Leicester in 2014, with Simon Mignolet (six), Lukasz Fabianski (six) and Adrian (five) the only goalkeepers to have stopped more during that time.
However, percentage-wise, Schmeichel does not rank so highly over the last six years, as he has only saved 16% of the top-flight penalties he has faced during that time, with the likes of Mignolet, Dean Henderson and Robert Green all ranking higher over the same period.
Nobody can come close to matching former Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor’s record during that time though, as he has a perfect 100% score, saving both the penalties he has faced.
The goalkeeper that has saved the most penalties in Premier League history is former Liverpool, Manchester City and Portsmouth stopper David James, who made 13 such stops during his Premier League career at an average of one every 44 games.
It does help that the 49-year-old also holds the record for most Premier League appearances, giving him more chances than most to demonstrate his penalty saving heroics.
Former Sunderland, Stoke and Aston Villa goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen is the only player close to James on the all-time list, as he saved just one less than the former England international, despite making over 200 fewer appearances during his own Premier League career.
Mark Schwarzer, Shay Given and Brad Friedel are the only other goalkeepers to have reached double figures for top-flight penalty saves, all three achieving 10 during their distinguished careers.
The best-placed goalkeeper on the list that is still active in the Premier League is Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, who has made nine saves during his time with Tottenham and the Hornets.
However, don’t be backing the Brazilian to add to that total anytime soon, as the veteran has not made a Premier League appearance in either of the last two seasons and, at the age of 39, could call time on his career at the end of the current campaign.