Dave saves: is David de Gea the best goalkeeper in the world? 


United have had three outstanding keepers in the Premier League era. Peter Schmeichel, Edwin van de Sar and now David de Gea were probably all the best in England, with Schmeichel and de Gea both in with a good shout of being the world’s number 1.

After the Spaniard’s performance at Arsenal on Saturday, surely De Gea must be regarded as the best in the world? There are other contenders of course. Thibaut Courtois, Gianluigi Buffon, and Manuel Neuer all have claims on being out in front, but at the moment it’s difficult to look past de Gea.

He claimed the record for number of saves in a Premier League game at the Emirates. But it was the manner he did it that stunned the home crowd.

His double save in the second half, first from Alexandre Lacazette and then the follow up from Alexis Sanchez was sublime. There was silence around the stadium as if no one could truly believe what had happened. It’s up there with the best saves I’ve ever seen.

Without him, what was a clinical performance from United in the end could have been a mauling. His value to this team is difficult to measure, but while Paul Pogba’s absence against City will undoubtedly be a huge loss, if de Gea was missing most United fans would probably be prepping the white flag.

The way he played against Arsenal, enabling his side to record their second difficult away win of the week, felt like a turning point in United’s season. It kept us in touch with City but banished the tired performances of the autumn and creates a platform to kick on for the busy Christmas period.

De Gea’s role in the Arsenal game felt like Schmeichel’s memorable performance up at St. James Park in 1996. Hopefully all the team’s good work won’t be undone in the derby and the title race really starts here.

We all love Dave the Save and have voted him Fans Player of the Year every season since Fergie left bar one. But it seems he’s not getting the recognition from elsewhere in the football world.

When FIFA’s team of the season was announced at the end of October, de Gea wasn’t even among the 15 nominees of best keeper. Buffon won with over 40% of the vote and Neuer was second with around 30%.

To put this into context, Claudio Bravo was one of the nominees. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t get any votes.

Iran’s national team keeper was in there too, as well as City new boy Ederson – who is a decent goalie. But no de Gea.

It’s astonishing that FIFA and their panel of experts – which includes former keepers – don’t even see him as amongst the top 15 in the world.

A big worry is that Real Madrid do rate him as one of the best in the world and will no doubt try to test his resolve again this summer. Each year it’s an agonising wait to see if finally he will go.

Other than winning the FA Cup, losing the paper work on transfer deadline day in 2015 and securing the Spaniard with a new deal was undoubtedly Louis van Gaal’s finest work.

Hopefully Courtois at Chelsea will continue to dally over his contract and keep making eyes at the Bernabeu, paving the way for de Gea to stay at Old Trafford.

If Dave stays, we’ll always be OK. Without you Dave, we’d be a much poorer side.


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