Strikers may have grabbed the City headlines and column inches in recent weeks, but the Sky Blues are also blessed with a strong set of options for the back line.
This week’s List celebrates all things defensive, examining which defenders and goalkeepers have recorded the most clean sheets for City during the Premier League era.
It’s a strict marking system – players only receive a clean sheet credit if they completed the full 90 minutes.
As you might expect, the current squad feature highly, but a few old faces have crept in….
Joe Hart - 70 clean sheets
With three consecutive golden glove awards, it isn’t too much of a surprise to see Joe Hart coming out on top this week. It’s taken City and England’s no.1 just 172 appearances to chalk up 70 Premier League clean sheets, and his dominant presence between the posts has been a crucial ingredient in City’s recent success – illustrated by his inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year in the title-winning campaign.
Richard Dunne - 63
Signed from Everton in 2000, Richard Dunne recorded 63 clean sheets during his nine-year career in a Sky Blue shirt – despite being relegated with City in 2001. The Irishman’s impact at the centre of defence merited a record four consecutive club Player of the Year awards, and led to a senior international call up. With over 250 appearances for the Sky Blues, Dunne proved a valuable servant to the club.
Vincent Kompany - 57
A recognised leader both in defence and throughout the team, Vincent Kompany has been rewarded with a clean sheet on 57 occasions. During the historic 2011-12 season, the captain was part of a backline that kept a clean sheet 15 times, and his vital contribution was recognised across the country when he was awarded the Premier League Player of the Season. Since then, the Belgian has continued to marshall an impressive defence with the meanest record in the league last term.
Micah Richards and Sylvain Distin - 46
There’s nothing to separate Micah Richards and Sylvain Distin, who have both recorded 46 clean sheets in 178 league appearances, although Micah will hope to add to his tally in the coming weeks and months! Eight of the popular defender’s clean sheets to date came during the title-winning season, and while he suffered an injury-hit campaign last term, Micah’s strength in defence and eagerness to attack have proven vital at both ends of the pitch for City.
Pablo Zabaleta - 44
With 44 clean sheets in 140 appearances, Pablo Zabaleta is rapidly ascending this list. Few will need reminding of the Argentine’s dominating performances throughout the 2012-13 season, and 11 of his clean sheets were recorded last term, leading to him being included in the PFA Team of the Year and being awarded the club’s Etihad Player of the Year. Able to lead the team convincingly from right back, Pablo has often worn the captain’s armband in the absence of skipper Vincent Kompany.
Joleon Lescott - 35
With a ratio of over one clean sheet for every three appearances, Joleon Lescott has been a formidable force for City at centre back. It’s taken him just 101 appearances to reach his total of 35, and Joleon was rewarded for an excellent season in 2011-12 with a Premier League winners’ medal. The England international recorded 14 clean sheets in the title-winning campaign, and was one of the key components of the side, starting all but seven league fixtures.
Keith Curle - 33
Signed for a then club record fee in 1991, Keith Curle recorded 33 clean sheets in 131 Premier League appearances in a City shirt. The defender started his Maine Road career as he meant to continue, with a clean sheet as part of a 1-0 victory over Coventry, although as it was in the old Division One that won’t count here! His first Premier League clean sheet came against MK Dons in September 1992, while a 1-0 win against Aston Villa in April 1996 was his last in Sky Blue.
Tony Coton - 26
Arriving at City in 1990 before the Premier League began, 94 appearances in the division between the sticks yielded 26 clean sheets for Tony Coton. The Tamworth-born keeper’s shot stopping and solid presence at the back won him two City Player of the Year Awards in 1992 and 1994. His City career curtailed by injury and the arrival of Eike Immel, Tony’s last clean sheet in the league came in February 1995 in a stalemate with Leeds.
Kolo Toure - 25
Before moving down the M62 to Liverpool last summer, Kolo Toure turned out 82 times in the league for City, keeping 25 clean sheets. A mainstay in the side in the season immediately following his arrival from Arsenal in the summer of 2009, the Ivorian helped City to eight clean sheets in his first term, including one against the Gunners in April 2010.
Stats kindly provided by Opta.