David de Gea has made Manchester United history
While many Manchester United fans were anxious about the team’s failure to score, David de Gea was quietly breaking records at the other end of the field.
Watford only managed a handful of easy save shots in the 0-0 draw on Saturday, and United will feel like they dropped two points rather than one.
De Gea, on the other hand, eclipsed Peter Schmeichel’s league record of 129 clean sheets and moved into 10th place in the Premier League’s all-time list.
De Gea has been outstanding in goal for United, making 98 saves in a club that is constantly making mistakes. His 98 saves have kept United’s top-four chances alive.
But, while he is surpassing United’s historical goalkeeping greats, he will face his polar opposite and the keeper who appears to be defining the position’s future – City and Brazil’s Ederson – in the Manchester derby.
The flaws in De Gea’s game are well-known. His distribution is terrible, and he frequently gives opponents control back with misplaced long kicks. His short passes are uninteresting, and they frequently come after a long delay that kills any potential attack momentum.
He also avoids leaving his line to sweep up attackers that go over his defensive line while they are pressing high or to claim balls that come into his box, preferring to wait for the situation to settle itself before putting himself up for the shot if it does not.
However, the league’s most effective keepers this season, such as Jose Sa and Allison, are extremely proactive and seek to avoid fires rather than putting them out. This is where Ederson generally falls.
When a goalie like Ederson makes a mistake in this manner, it always falls on his shoulders, and there aren’t many places to hide.
When United makes a mistake, though, the burden usually rests on the defense, despite De Gea’s lack of assistance in resolving the perilous situation.
Ederson is the goalkeeper of the future, and United should consider him when considering whether to extend De Gea’s contract.
He has etched his name into the history of both the club and the Premier League. But, unless he can modify his game, he needs to be moved on to create room for the future rather than the club remaining stuck in the past.