With each passing game, there is less and less doubt that David De Gea is the best goalkeeper on the planet at the moment. Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois is probably a close second so far in the EPL this season but he won’t be surpassing David anytime soon.
That sounds all good for Manchester United fans but have you ever wondered why De Gea is as good as he is now?
The answer is simple. That’s because his defence sucks. Pardon my language but having a centre back pairing of Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof does not help any goalkeeper in the Premier League.
In my opinion, Chris Smalling is not a United player and will never be. He has been given time and space to improve and flourish since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson but he has failed to live up to expectations. His lack of confidence strikes fear and anxiety into whoever partners him in central defence.
Which leads me to Victor Lindelof. The newly-acquired centre back is still feeling his way around the team after recently joining and his case hasn’t been helped by the injuries to Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly. Due to the circumstances, he had to be thrust into the spotlight with Smalling, thus depriving him of the time to slowly adjust to the league and state his case. A positive note though would be the fact that he is gradually showing signs of growing into his role.
Besides the lack of a world class centre back pairing ahead of him, David De Gea also suffers from not having a consistent back four in front of him. Communication between the goalkeeper and the defenders is crucial during games and the constant shuffling of the back four doesn’t help matters. The left back position is especially problematic with Ashely Young, Daley Blind and Luke Shaw all deployed there at various stages of the season.
As demonstrated at the recent game away to Crystal Palace, a team that is struggling near the bottom of the table, the current United defence is extremely vulnerable, depending once again on David De Gea to rescue them with a stupendous save with the score at 2-2. That eventually set the platform for Matic to score the winner late in the game. This resulted in the perfect performance leading up to this Saturday’s blockbuster – Manchester United vs Liverpool, and then on to the Champions League 2nd leg next week against Sevilla.
So there you have it, David De Gea is so brilliant because of the poor defence and if he had world class defenders ahead of him, we probably won’t realise just how good he is (just saying).
Gary Yang is a myActiveSG Editor and Presenter. Gary started his career as a suit cum copywriter at an advertising agency, followed by a successful stint in Corporate Communications with Singapore Press Holdings and Asia Pacific Breweries, before eventually joining the editorial team at Sport Singapore. He now turns his attention to fitness and wellness headlines and sniffing out news angles in the sporting arena.