Every Premier League back-up goalkeeper ranked from worst to best | OneFootball

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·24 August 2023

Every Premier League back-up goalkeeper ranked from worst to best

Article image:Every Premier League back-up goalkeeper ranked from worst to best
  • Having a reliable back-up goalkeeper is crucial for a successful season, as seen with Emiliano Martinez replacing Bernd Leno for Arsenal.
  • Some second-choice goalkeepers in the Premier League lack the quality to play regularly at that level, like James Shea and Tim Krul for Luton Town.
  • David Raya of Arsenal stands out as one of the best shot-stoppers in the league, with impressive save percentages and clean sheets, making him a top-tier back-up option.


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Having a good back-up goalkeeper can make or break a season. Think of Emiliano Martinez replacing Bernd Leno when the German was stretchered off against Brighton in 2020 for Arsenal.

From shot-stoppers who are too good to be on the bench, to 'keepers who make you think how their agent landed them a role at a Premier League club. Here’s GIVEMESPORT’s ranking of all 20 second-choice goalkeepers in the Premier League.

20 James Shea/Tim Krul (Luton Town)

Luton’s miraculous promotion to the Premier League was helped by on-loan USMNT international Ethan Horvath who has since returned to Nottingham Forest. Luton have two options as back-ups for Thomas Kaminski in the form of James Shea and Tim Krul, who both look like they aren't cut-out to play regular football in the Premier League.

19 Adam Davies (Sheffield United)

The Blades haven't really had a Premier League-level goalkeeper since Dean Henderson returned to Manchester United after his loan deal expired. Sheffield United’s limited budget means they can’t upgrade drastically across the first-team, so instead they’ve invested in positions which their board feel is vital if they are to avoid the drop this year. So Wes Foderingham and Davies will be sticking around for a little bit longer.

18 Remi Matthews (Crystal Palace)

Vicente Guaita was expected to be the number two at Crystal Palace, however, he “refused to play” for the south London club during pre-season and has yet to be named in a squad since. Speaking to Scandinavian broadcaster Viaplay, Roy Hodgson said: “He [Sam Johnstone] is the only choice at the moment because Guaita is disenchanted with the club and has said he would like to move on. “He’s refused to play in our games so far.” This leaves Matthews as the only option for cover for Johnstone which may not fill Palace fans with optimism.

17 Joao Virginia (Everton)

Since joining Everton from Arsenal in 2018, Virginia has played just once for the Toffees in the Premier League. Virginia made his Premier League debut on the 13th of March 2021 in a 2-1 defeat to Burnley as he replaced an injured Jordan Pickford in the 47th minute. Virginia’s time at Everton has mostly been spent on loan at Reading, Sporting, and SC Cambuur.

Everton have enough problems to fix before they think about bringing in a more experienced number two.

16 Lucas Bergstrom (Chelsea)

Chelsea could have quite easily ranked in the top two in the list if it was not for Kepa Arrizabalaga joining Real Madrid on loan as cover for Thibaut Courtois who has suffered an ACL injury. Chelsea had the goalkeeper pair of Robert Sánchez and Arrizabalaga before the Spaniard joined Los Blancos. Lucas Bergström looks to be Chelsea’s second-choice in goal with the Finnish 20-year-old having been on the bench for The Blues' first two Premier League games. It would be no surprise if Chelsea use their bank account again to buy a more experienced goalkeeper to keep Sánchez on his toes.

15 Robin Olsen (Aston Villa)

Robin Olsen is a solid goalkeeper representing Sweden on 66 occasions, and he looked like one of the better goalkeepers at the 2018 FIFA World Cup which earned him a move to Roma. However, Olsen is nowhere near the ability of Aston Villa teammate and World Cup winner Martínez, so he won’t be getting a chance to impress anytime soon.

14 Fraser Forster (Tottenham)

Fraser Forster has been selected as Spurs’ new back-up goalkeeper as Hugo Lloris recovers from a thigh injury meaning Guglielmo Vicario will be the first person on the team sheet. The 6ft 7 giant was once a very good goalkeeper. After all, Forster was capped on six occasions for England and was a part of the Three Lions squad that went to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 UEFA European Football Championships. However, Forster looks like his best years are behind him as he comes to terms with being a number two. Forster has looked awkward on the ball which may be why he’s rarely trusted in goal.

13 Ionut Radu (Bournemouth)

Romanian international Radu has been at Inter Milan for the majority of his career. However, his competition for a place in goal was against Samir Handanović and André Onana last season, meaning he was loaned out for a sixth time in his career.

12 Dan Bentley (Wolves)

Bentley is known as a reliable keeper in the Championship having played a total of 260 games in the competition between 2016 and 2023 for Brentford and Bristol City. He’s not a bad shout in goal if Gary O'Neil ever decides to drop José Sá.

11 Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest)

After having an amazing season on loan at Luton where he proved he was Premier League ready, Horvath was expected to walk into Forest team starting XI. However, Forest decided to sign Matt Turner from Arsenal for £7million who will be starting throughout the majority of the 2023/24 season.

10 Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United)

Not much was known about Dubravka before he joined the Tyneside club on loan from Sparta Prague in 2018, two-and-a-half years later, the 6ft 3 Slovak was adored by the Newcastle faithful as he picked up the club’s Player of the Year award in 2020. Dubravka now finds himself on the bench at St. James' Park after being replaced by Nick Pope.

9 Thomas Strakosha (Brentford)

Strakosha was Lazio’s number one choice at goalkeeper before he moved to Brentford, so you would think he would have played more than just the two appearances he has made so far for the Bees. David Raya may have left Brentford, but Strakosha is still struggling to find minutes since Mark Flekken has now joined the club.

8 Arijanet Muric (Burnley)

The Kosovo international was part of the Burnley team that stormed the Championship last season earning them a place back in the Premier League. It looked certain that Muric would retain his spot as first-choice goalkeeper, but instead, Vincent Kompany decided to look elsewhere and recruited 20-year-old James Trafford after being one of the players of the tournament at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

7 Marek Rodak (Fulham)

Rodak has been at the Cottagers since he was 16 and has achieved two promotions from the Championship with Fulham during his time there. Rodak would quite easily be one of the best goalkeepers in the Championship, but he’s quite not at the level to be a great Premier League goalkeeper, therefore, Leno has taken the reins as the undisputed number one.

6 Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool)

As most Liverpool fans know, Kelleher is a very good goalkeeper. Sadly, he has made more appearances at international level than he has in the Premier League. The 24-year-old Liverpool academy graduate may soon have to find first-team football, or he could find himself second-choice to Gavin Bazunu at international level for the next decade. It looks like Kelleher has been kept around to fill quotas needed for the Premier League and European competitions. Liverpool also have Adrián under contract, so they could try and find a loan move for Kelleher if they want to give him more minutes.

5 Bart Verbruggen (Brighton)

There was uncertainty whether Jason Steele or recent signing Verbruggen would go into the season as the starting goalkeeper at Brighton. Steele has started the first two Premier League games for Brighton, however, it looks like the two goalkeepers will both have their chance between the sticks. Verbruggen was signed this season from Anderlecht for a reported fee of €19million (£16.3m). Last season, 21-year-old Verbruggen was Anderlecht’s Player of the Season, so we will have to see how he makes the step-up to the Premier League.

4 Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham)

Fabianski was the Irons’ first-choice 'keeper last season, making 36 appearances in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup. Fabianski was a great mid-table goalkeeper last year, ranking 10th in the Premier League for save percentage with 69.2% (according to FotMob), which is higher than the likes of Aaron Ramsdale (68.8%), Robert Sánchez (61.5%) and Ederon (59%).

3 Dean Henderson (Manchester United)

It’s surprising that Henderson is still at Man United considering the 26-year-old has only played 13 times for the Red Devils in the Premier League. It looks more likely that Henderson will finally leave Old Trafford once and for all as Manchester United look at possible candidates to be Erik ten Hag’s new number two. Henderson is too good to be playing second fiddle, and it’s unlikely that he will be sent out for a seventh time in his career.

2 Stefan Ortega (Manchester CIty)

It was a close battle for second between Henderson and Ortega, but the German slightly edges as he hasn't put a foot wrong over his 14 appearances last season. City’s scouting department need another pat on the back as they picked Ortega up on a free transfer from Arminia Bielefeld. Ortega featured in all competitions last season for the Citizens including their 2-1 win against Manchester United in the FA Cup.

1 David Raya - Arsenal

Arsenal have had a few great back-ups in the goalkeeper department over the last couple of years, including Bernd Leno, Martínez, David Ospina, and now Raya. We think it’s fair to say that Raya is one of the best shot-stoppers in the entire Premier League, never mind second-choice goalkeepers. Last season in the Premier League, Raya ranked first for save percentage (77%) and saves per 90 (4.1) according to FotMob. The Spaniard recorded 12 clean sheets last season (fifth-best last season), and now a part of a better defensive system, if Mikel Arteta decides to give more responsibility to Raya, he will undoubtedly shine.

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