Is David De Gea’s Legacy At Manchester United In Jeopardy?
Manchester United’s loss to Pep Guardiola’s City at Old Trafford raised further questions about the state of the current Red Devils set-up.
David De Gea once again took his fair share of the scathing spotlight as goals by Cityzens Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane sailed past him, propelling the Blues back up to the top of the Premier League table.
As a consequence of that result and the previous weekend’s defeat to Everton, De Gea has now conceded the highest amount of goals in a single league season at Manchester United, surpassing the poor tally in the beleaguered David Moyes 2013/14 season, and two goals that looked avoidable. The first, beaten at the near post by Bernardo Silva, and the second failing to parry a fairly direct shot.
During his time in Manchester, De Gea has won the Premier League title, the FA Cup, and the League Cup, as well as being part of the squad that ran to Europa League victory in 2017 though it was his deputy Sergio Romero who was granted the starting berth throughout that particular tournament, and featured in the PFA Team of the Year more than any other Premier League goalkeeper. He’s 14 behind Pepe Reina, formerly of Liverpool, for most clean sheets by a Spanish goalkeeper in the English top tier.
At Manchester United, he’s also collected the most Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year awards in the club’s history. For clean sheets by a goalkeeper in the Premier League, De Gea currently rests on a nice round century and is fifth overall, with only the aforementioned Reina, Tim Howard, Joe Hart, and Petr Cech ahead of him.
Interestingly, this could be the first time De Gea has participated in all 38-games of a single league campaign for Manchester United. However it is the perceived drop in performance that is gaining the most attention. Last season he won the first and so far only Golden Glove award of his eight-year career in England. This season he’s joint in ninth alongside former Manchester United keeper Ben Foster, now of Watford, with a rotating backline leaking goals. With three games of the season remaining, he will fail to make the podium for the first time in four seasons, and record the lowest position in his time in England. He’s also one goal away from the conceding his highest tally from outside the penalty area, the capitulation to Everton in Gameweek 34 sending him up to eight.
Recently the 28-year-old came in for some criticism as United crashed out of the Champions League at the hands of a Lionel Messi-led Barcelona, the Argentinian’s strike comfortably finding the back of the net as it snuggled shockingly underneath De Gea’s body.
On two occasions his errors have led to goals in the league - a joint personal high (or low). However, Alisson, a much-heralded £65million purchase for Liverpool last summer has so far amassed three, one more than De Gea. The Brazilian nevertheless does top the ranking for most clean sheets kept this season, ahead of compatriot Ederson of Manchester City who recently took De Gea’s spot in being electing into the PFA Team of the Year.
De Gea's save rate remains high, as does his potential to stun with truly world-class efforts, but a poor record of 1.34 goals every 90minutes this season speaks volumes about United’s current predicament and with the potential of him moving on in the near future increasing, it would be a sorry way for arguably the Red Devils’ best keeper of the Premier League era to bow out.