Top of the stoppers | Premier League No.1

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Name any successful team in world football, and you will find that their success begins with a capable, dependable goalkeeper between the sticks.

The Premier League currently boasts an array of talented stoppers from all four corners of the globe, whether it's youngsters just starting out in the game, or seasoned campaigners with years of experience under their belt.

It's often a misguided view that a great goalkeeper is just about making fine saves, but in modern day football there is so much more that is required.

Marshalling their defence through key communication and calm control of their area are attributes that give defenders confidence in their relationship on the pitch with their goalkeeper. The best stoppers are always in the right place at the right time and defenders learn to rely on that.

Distribution and the reading of situations that occur during a game are increasingly important, but the single most important skill is a goalkeeper's ability to make decisions.

Whether it's the choice between taking a catch or making a punch, staying on your line or going for the ball, making a dive or block, and remaining on your feet, goalkeeping decisions can win or lose you games - you have to get them right or else it could cost your team.

Despite the instrumental role that a goalkeeper plays in a team's success, they tend to find themselves much less appreciated and unheralded in comparison to their outfield teammates.

Whether it's a goalscoring striker, creative midfielder, or defensive maestro, it doesn't matter - goalkeepers get the rough end of the bargain - as it's only high profile errors that seem to write their names into the headlines.

But, with the standard of goalkeeping in England's top-flight arguably the best it has ever been, GiveMeFootball goes against the grain and celebrates the role of the goalkeeper and attempts to separate the best from the rest, in the Premier League.

Michel Vorm (5)

Age: 28
Nationality: Dutch
Current club: Swansea

In his debut season in the Premier League the 'penalty killer' as he is nicknamed has made a sensational start to life in English football having arrived in South Wales from relative obscurity.

A ball-playing goalkeeper which is fundamental to Swansea's easy on the eye style of play, his impressive performances for Brendan Rodgers' side has already linked him with moves to a bigger club this summer.

Petr Cech (4)
Age: 29
Nationality: Czech
Current club: Chelsea

Since arriving at Chelsea from Rennes in 2004, Cech has been a model of consistency, rarely making errors and helping the club to three Premier League titles.

After recovering from a fractured skull in 2006, the Blues stalwart instils confidence in what has traditionally been a solid defence, despite its more recent vulnerability.

Brad Friedel (3)
Age: 40
Nationality: American
Current club: Tottenham

The Spurs veteran is in the twilight of his career, despite only arriving at White Hart Lane last summer. Friedel is another model of consistency and boasts the record for most consecutive Premier League appearances (304) having last missed a league game in May 2004.

Harry Redknapp said it was an easy decision to bring him to north London, and how Tottenham have profited from the experience he has brought to their defence this season.

Pepe Reina (2)
Age: 29
Nationality: Spanish
Current club: Liverpool

The Spanish stopper has been a victim of Iker Casillas' phenomenal performances on the international stage, but at club level, Liverpool know his true worth.

Reina signed a new contract at Anfield in 2010, and despite admitting his frustrations about a lack of silverware on Merseyside, has remained one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League.

Joe Hart (1)
Age: 24
Nationality: English
Current club: Manchester City

His excellent form on loan at Birmingham City in 2009-10 led to Shay Given losing his place in the Citizens side, as Roberto Mancini made the bold decision to install England's No.1 as his first-choice goalkeeper.

A superb shot-stopper possessed with calmness and authority, the youngster still has years ahead of him and is already rated as one of the best stoppers in the world.

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Joe Hart
Premier League

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