Top 10 Best Arsenal Goalkeepers of all Time
There are 11 players in a game of football. All of them have specialized duties in the field of play, but there is no player as important as a goalkeeper in the game of football.
A game can be completed without a striker, or defender, or even a midfielder. However, with a penalized or injured goalkeeper, the goalkeeper must be replaced even if it is at the expense of another footballer on the pitch.
The successes of Arsenal in Europe is largely linked with the excellence of their goalkeepers. Over the years, we’ve seen some of the most talented European goalkeepers from Arsenal.
In this article, we’ll go over the list of the most effective goalkeepers to have ever featured for Arsenal. So, sit back and go through our list of the top 10 best Arsenal goalkeepers of all time, and why we deemed it fit to add them to this list.
It can never be imagined that the former Stuttgart midfielder would later become a sought after goalkeeper in Arsenal. At 19 years and 193 days at Leverkusen, Bernd Leno became the youngest player to feature in a UEFA Champions League match. This led Arsenal into signing him.
Although he had to face a lot of competition at Arsenal, his impacts and records couldn’t be forgotten so easily. He is the holder of many insane records, apart from the one already listed above. He once saved five penalties in a row, a record that still holds to this day!
Frank Moss is a name that may sound strange to most modern-day Arsenal fans. This is understandable, given that his stint with Arsenal was between 1931 and 1937. That’s a long time ago, but Moss’ efficiency in goal was to be remembered for decades and decades.
The First Division trophy won by Arsenal then can be highly attributed to his excellence. He was the preferred of the Arsenal senior team for four seasons consecutively, after his debut match against Chelsea.
The excellence of this goalkeeper wasn’t limited to the goal, alone. He was forced to play as a winger, totally out of position in a game that will decide if Arsenal was to win the division or Sunderland. He was forced to play in the position due to a shoulder injury he had suffered before the match.
With the dislocated shoulder and his play out of position, Frank Moss managed to score a goal for Arsenal, which was to be his only career goal.
Jack Kelsey was a steelworker, before starting his career in football. He was discovered by Arsenal while playing for a Welsh domestic side. While he was instantly offered a place in Arsenal FC, he had to exercise some patience as another legendary goalkeeper, George Swindon was still in place.
An injury to George Swindon gave the Welshman a chance to prove his prowess in between the goalposts. The former steelworker proved he could be better than Swindon and brought the latter’s career to a regressive end.
He continued to be Arsenal’s preferred goalkeeper for the next eight seasons. He played his entire career at Arsenal, while also featuring for Wales 41 times, a record at that time.
George Swindon is unarguably one of Arsenal’s best talents at the goal. However, he was one of the players that experienced World War II, and it briefly impacted his career.
Before the war, he was much of a struggling goalkeeper who had to share playing time with others more experienced than he is. During the war, he had to combine his extra job of being a PT instructor with his Arsenal career, and that cost him quite a lot of games.
After the war, George Swindon was a completely transformed goalkeeper, like he secretly had training sessions during the war. His positive change made him the preferred Arsenal goalkeeper for six years in a row.
He won three Championship medals with Arsenal, in addition to reaching the FA Cup final more than once. As he aged, he got displaced by a seemingly better goalkeeper, Jack Kelsey, who is also part of this Arsenal top 10.
Bob Wilson is another well-respected name amongst Arsenal’s goalkeepers, who played for Arsenal from 1963 to 1974. His career might have started earlier than that, had his father seen football as a proper sport.
He had to compete with Jim Furnell for the first-team spot, and Jim Furnell always seemed to have the upper hand for the first four years. A Furnell blunder was enough to push Wilson into the first team, and into the limelight.
He bagged a player of the year award with Arsenal, an award that’s uncommon among goalkeepers. He was also instrumental in Arsenal’s win of the 1969-70 Inter-Cities Fairies Cup.
He played throughout for Arsenal and even spent an extra 28 years after retirement, as a goalkeeper coach. This made him a legend amongst Arsenal’s goalkeepers.
Probably the most backdated name on this list, Ashcroft featured for Arsenal in 1900 through 1908. He is known for keeping the sheets clean, in most matches where he is the shot-stopper.
He once kept six clean sheets in a row, bringing his total clean sheets of that season to 17. This record remained untouched for 90 years when Alex Manninger equaled the feat. Also, he made 154 consecutive appearances for Arsenal, which is nothing but insane.
He helped Arsenal get promoted to the first division while helping them to two FA cup semifinals before he finally gave up the gloves for his successor.
John Lukic is another Arsenal goalkeeper that’s highly respected for his excellence. His presence at the club ended a 28 years league title drought. John Lukic is well known for consistency, and once you have John Lukic in goal, you shouldn’t care much about the defense.
His first stint at Arsenal ended in 1990, a year after winning the league title with the club. He was replaced by David Seaman, who is also highly rated in this list. He returned six years later to succeed his successor, bringing his total appearances for Arsenal to 293.
Being a first choice keeper for over a decade isn’t something common, and can only be found among legends like John Lukic
Jens Lehmann is another Arsenal shot-stopper that was to serve as a replacement for David Seaman, but upon introduction, he seemed to be much better than his predecessor.
In his first season with the Gunners, other goalkeepers must be mad at him for he started every single match. He was also part of the “Invincibles” of the 2003-04 season that finished the season undefeated.
He was awarded goalkeeper of the tournament in the 2005-06 UEFA Champions League where he kept a clean sheet for 853 minutes. In June 2008, he left for Stuttgart after he started struggling with appearances.
Winning three League Championships, four FA Cups, the European Cup Winners Cup and the League Cup isn’t a small achievement, and that’s exactly what Seaman achieved with Arsenal.
He is often referred to as the best penalty saver in England, which is quite an invaluable quality to have as a goalkeeper. His brilliant reflexes coupled with his quick dives all work together to deprive opponents of deserving goals.
When we talk goalkeepers, David Andrew Seaman is a legend, both for Arsenal and England.
Pat Jennings is another name that you will hear frequently when talking about Arsenal’s goalkeepers. Irish by nationality, this keeper was with Tottenham Hotspur for 13 years before dedicating the rest of his career to the North London side.
Although he only got to play for Arsenal for 8 years, he is much more respected in Arsenal, than he is at Tottenham, and he will always be warmly welcomed, either at Emirates or White Hart Lane.
He has been awarded an MBE and OBE due to his contributions to football, and he was named Footballer of the Year in 1973.
He is not bad internationally either, and he has 119 appearances for Northern Ireland, in a 22-year career, making him the most dedicated Irish player.
His five major trophies, as well as the honorary MBE and OBE awards, are enough to earn him a place amongst Arsenal legends, not to talk of his exemplary performance with the Gunners.
Arsenal is known to produce some of the finest talents in goalkeeping, as they do with all other positions in football.
Here, we have compiled our top 10 best Arsenal goalkeepers, to have ever featured for the North London side. Although this list is not arranged in any particular order, we are sure that these are the names you’re most likely to hear in any discussion about the best Arsenal FC goalkeepers.
Now sit back, relax, and watch some incredible saves from Arsenal goalkeepers.
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