David de Gea played a crucial part in Manchester United’s triumph in the Premier League this season. Pulling off saves that were thought to be sure-shot goals. United have two games left to play this season, if you won’t be around to watch the games, you can follow football live on talkSPORT.
Although David de Gea was thought to be frail and not-capable of filling the huge shoes of Edwin van der Sar at Old Trafford but the Spaniard is only 22 years old and already he has made it into the PFA Team of the Year – only in his second season in England.
The inclusion of some in the Team of the Year raised some eyebrows but de Gea has shown glimpses of excellence this season that can not be ignored. His career at Manchester United has been far from a disappointment.
He has kept 27 clean sheets in his career at the Manchester club. De Gea went 678 minutes without conceding a goal in the Premier League – from 30th January till 8th April 2013 when United conceded two goals against Manchester City at home.
During the time David de Gea has spent under Alex Ferguson, he has been voted Player of the Month four times by the Manchester United fans – that is more than anybody else over the same period.
Ferguson has not yet given De Gea the chance to completely settle with his defenders. He has deployed a total of 36 different back-four combinations. The most common of which has been Rafael, Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra but Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Nemanja Vidic have also been thrown into the mix on occasions.
Manchester United’s official weekly United Uncovered has listed the parts of his body de Gea has used to make saves. Goalkeepers are usually praised for the use of their hands but this future Spain international has used whatever part of the body he could get behind the ball: shoulders, knees, feet, etc.
Here’s a list of the best saves David de Gea has made from each of his body part:
In August 2012, Everton’s Leighton Baines hit a roaring free-kick that was pawed away from the top corner. In the League Cup, Fernando Torres’ directed a header towards the United goal and de Gea managed to parry it away.
In February, John Arne Riise’s shot would have gone in if it wasn’t for de Gea’s right hand. In the game against Aston Villa, where United clinched the title, Karim El Ahmadi’s long-range effort was also deflected away.
January 2013 saw David de Gea scramble to his left to keep out Rickie Lambert’s (Southampton) free kick.
Later in March when United headed over to Bernabeu, de Gea’s form for excellent in goal. Although, he could not reach Cristiano Ronaldo’s header but his left hand kept Real Madrid out by tipping Fabio Coentrao’s shot onto the post.
De Gea has made numerous right-footed saves, so many that most United fans will probably have a different set of favourite right-footed saves.
Two that stand out are an acrobatic chest-high clearance from Fabio Coentrao in the Bernabeu and the one from Juan Mata at the end of the FA Cup match at Old Trafford. Mata later commented on the save by saying:
“I could almost see the ball inside the goal, but David stopped it. What a save!”
In January’s game against Tottenham at the White Hart Lane, de Gea was deceived by Gareth Bale’s deflected first-half shot but stuck out his left foot to clear the ball.
Also in that game at the Lane, USA international Clint Dempsey was through on goal late in the game. The former Atletico Madrid shot-stopper produced a magnificent last-ditch stop with his knee to keep out the shot from just ten yards.
In the Manchester derby at the Etihad, David Vila tried to beat de Gea from a tight angle at his near post. Silva had almost succeeded in doing so but a flick of the shoulder from the keeper kept Manchester City at bay.
This stop is worth a mention but this is something that a goalkeeper is bound to face at least once in his career no matter at what level he is playing.
In October 2011, Jack Rodwell was still playing for Everton. David de Gea made full use of his face to stop Rodwell’s shot from going in. Although, experts believe that it was not deliberate.