The best goalkeepers in the Premier League fight it out each year for the Golden Glove award, but what is it?

Goalkeepers are an essential part of any successful team, increasingly so as football moves into a new era in which net minders are expected to be more complete players.

They may not receive the same level of admiration as goalscorers, but there have been plenty of iconic shotstoppers in the game over the years.

Indeed, for some, names such as Gianluigi Buffon, Peter Schmeichel or Oliver Kahn elicit the same level of admiration as Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo might for others.

In recent years, goalkeepers are being recognised more for what they bring to the table and the Premier League will hand the best goalkeeper the Golden Glove award at the end of the season.

But what is it exactly and how is the winner decided? Goal takes a look.

The Golden Glove is an award which essentially recognises the best goalkeeper in the Premier League.

Rather than consensus opinion, the Golden Glove award is given to the net minder who keeps the most clean sheets in the course of the season.

The award was first introduced in the 2004-05 season and is the goalkeeper equivalent to the Golden Boot award, which is given to the player who scores the most goals.

The nature of the award means that it is always likely to be won by a team with a strong defence that is challenging at the top end of the table.

Since its introduction in the 2004-05 season, the winners have been drawn from just five clubs: Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.

The first ever Golden Glove award in the Premier League was won by Petr Cech, whose 24 clean sheets for Chelsea in their title-winning campaign remains the record.

Season Winner Club Clean sheets
2004-05 Petr Cech Chelsea 24
2005-06 Pepe Reina Liverpool 20
2006-07 Pepe Reina Liverpool 19
2007-08 Pepe Reina Liverpool 18
2008-09 Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 21
2009-10 Petr Cech Chelsea 17
2010-11 Joe Hart Manchester City 18
2011-12 Joe Hart Manchester City 17
2012-13 Joe Hart Manchester City 18
2013-14 Petr Cech & Wojciech Szczesny Chelsea & Arsenal 16
2014-15 Joe Hart Manchester City 14
2015-16 Petr Cech Arsenal 16
2016-17 Thibaut Courtois Chelsea 16
2017-18 David de Gea Manchester United 18

Pepe Reina dominated the next three seasons in his role between the Liverpool posts and Edwin van der Sar ended the Spaniard’s dominance with 21 clean sheets for Manchester United in their 2008-09 league triumph. The Dutch shotstopper’s tally of 21 in that campaign remains the closest anyone has ever come to matching Cech’s record.

Cech reclaimed the award in 2009-10 before the era of Joe Hart, who collected the gong for three years in succession from 2011 to 2013. Hart was the first and – to this day – only Englishman to win the award.

The award was shared in 2014 by Cech and then Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who each managed 16 clean sheets, though, interestingly, neither of their teams won the title that season.

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In 2015, Hart won his fourth Golden Glove award, doing so with the lowest number of clean sheets ever posted by a winner (14). He subsequently surpassed Cech and Reina as the holder of the record for most Golden Gloves, but it was shortlived as the Czech moved level with him the next season after 16 clean sheets for Arsenal.

Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois won the accolade in the 2016-17 campaign and Manchester David de Gea won the following season, following in the footsteps of Van der Sar, picking up the award for the first time in his career.

There are a number of players in the running for the 2018-19 Golden Glove award and it will be no surprise to learn that the favourites are with teams that are in the title race.

It could come down to a battle of Brazilians, with Liverpool’s Alisson and Manchester City’s Ederson leading the way in the clean sheet charts. Both sides have been pushing each other in the race for Premier League glory and a huge part of their strength has been their defensive solidity.

Chelsea’s Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga – who signed from Athletic Club for a world record £72 million ($90m) fee – follows closely behind the Brazilian duo in terms of favourites, but his cause has not been helped by the Blues’ badly timed dip in form.

Tottenham are also firmly in the race for the title and their World Cup-winning goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has been a key component in that push.

It doesn’t seem likely that De Gea will win successive Golden Gloves after a poor start to the campaign. The Spain number one is currently around the same level as the likes of Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel, Neil Etheridge of Cardiff City and Watford’s Ben Foster in the clean sheet charts.

The Premier League Golden Glove is not the only such award in the game and it was actually pre-dated by the World Cup Golden Glove, which was introduced at the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

Previously known as the Yashin Award – in homage to the USSR goalkeeper Lev Yashin – it is given to the goalkeeper who is deemed to have performed the best throughout the tournament, which is different to the stats-led award of the Premier League.

World Cup Winner Country
USA 1994 Michel Preud’homme Belgium
France 1998 Fabien Barthez France
Japan & Korea 2002 Oliver Kahn Germany
Germany 2006 Gianluigi Buffon Italy
South Africa 2010 Iker Casillas Spain
Brazil 2014 Manuel Neuer Germany
Russia 2018 Thibaut Courtois Belgium

Belgium’s Michel Preud’homme won the inaugural award in 1994, despite the fact that his side were knocked out in the last 16 of the competition.

Fabien Barthez won in 1998 as France swept to victory on home soil and Germany’s Oliver Kahn was awarded the trophy in 2002 – scant solace for losing the final to Brazil.

Italy won the World Cup in 2006 and Gianluigi Buffon was fittingly awarded the Golden Glove and Spain’s Iker Casillas was recognised in 2010 as Spain won their first world title.

Manuel Neuer was the winner in Brazil 2014 as he played a role in Germany’s tournament triumph and Thibaut Courtois was awarded the accolade in Russia 2018, with Belgium finishing third.

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