Damning Stats Illuminate Manchester United Star David De Gea’s Glaring Weakness
It may have been Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first domestic defeat since taking charge of Manchester United, but one particular issue was brought to the fore once again in the Red Devils 2-0 loss to Arsenal.
The Gunners sealed the three points thanks to a Granit Xhaka strike and a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty, after Alexandre Lacazette dived from minimal contact from Fred in the box.
But it was the performance of world-beating goalkeeper David De Gea that should raise considerable concerns.
The 28-year-old is undeniably one of the best in his position on the planet; there’s a reason he’s been awarded the club’s Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year a record four times, as well as featuring in the PFA Team of the Year in five seasons.
Once mocked on his initial arrival in England from Atletico Madrid back in 2011 for a then-extravagant £18.9million, he’s now made Manchester United the source of envy for many a team of the European elite clamouring for a five-star goalkeeper.
However, his failure to keep out Aubameyang’s spot-kick in the latest gameweek highlights the glaring issue: De Gea is simply terrible at saving penalties.
Dave has only saved 11 in his career, and the last coming almost three years ago.
As the Manchester Evening News correctly stated in their player ratings in the Arsenal autopsy, he always looks beaten at penalties before they are taken.
He’s only saved five penalties in a near eight-year career with Manchester United. 26 spot-kicks have gone past him in that same time with the same team, a poor career return of 38 penalties sailing into the back of the net for club(s) and country.
The last time he managed to save a penalty, was to the detriment of a now-teammate.
Romelu Lukaku’s spot-kick in the FA Cup Semi-Final in 2016 was stopped superbly by the Spaniard and allowed United to see out a 2-1 win over Everton and reach the Final. That season Utd would end their 12-year-wait for the trophy in the world’s oldest football competition.
In the time since, De Gea has had to walk 11 different opponents step up on 12 different occasions and slot past the keeper.
To find a saved spot-kick from the Spaniard in the Premier League you have to go back even further than that Semi-Finals - almost 18 months - to October 2014, again with Everton the opponent but Leighton Baines on duty.
David De Gea’s quality is undoubtedly without question though it seems this particular attribute is especially lacking. It’s certainly a good job Dave makes it up in other ways.