‘Van der Gea': On course to be the greatest?

  1. David de Gea and Edwin van der Sar

David de Gea looks set to commit his future to Manchester United, where he follows in the footsteps of his predecessor Edwin Van Der Sar. But does ”Van Der Gea” have what it takes to become another legendary United goalkeeper?

24-year-old De Gea, who again proved to be one of the key men in ensuring Manchester United escaped with a 1-1 draw after their Premier League visit to West Ham United, has been in superb form for Louis van Gaal’s side this season.

As one of the best goalkeepers in the world, he joined the Red Devils as a replacement for goalkeeping legend Edwin van der Sar, who retired after very successful six seasons with United. No wonder he has been often compared to his predecessor, furthered by being dubbed “Van Der Gea”.

Opta-powered fantasy football game Oulala.com have taken a closer look at both goalkeepers. The now 44 year old Dutchman who was named Europe’s best goalkeeper by Uefa in 1995 and 2009, made 186 appearances for the club and helped them to win four Premier League titles. De Gea is in his fourth season at United and has made 118 Premier League appearances for the club in that time. He has won one league title in 2012/2013 which was manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season, the man that brought him to the club. This campaign United have little chances of winning the title as they sit 12 points behind league-leaders Chelsea.

David de Gea and Edwin van der Sar

So far, de Gea has enjoyed 10.620 minutes of playing time, compared to 16.591 minutes by van der Sar. Interestingly enough, neither of them has ever received a red card in the Premier League. The Spanish goalkeeper has been shown only one yellow card (2013/2014), while the Dutchman received 10 yellow cards in total during his tenure.

On a per game basis, de Gea has conceded more goals than Van der Sar. The stats reveal he has conceded one goal on average, compared to 0,7 goals by the Dutchman who even set an outstanding record in this goalkeeper category. During the 2009/10 season, he set a new Premier League and worldwide league record by going 1.311 minutes without conceding a goal!

Van der Sar also outflanks his younger mate by keeping a clean sheet in one out of two matches played, compared to 36 percent which is the number we get if we divide de Gea’s 43 clean sheets with 118 matches.

The figures suggest that United’s No. 1 goalkeeper hasn’t yet achieved the level of his predecessor. Nevertheless, he is still young, he has a long time to grow, and can ultimately finish in the company of van der Sar and Peter Schmeichel.

Of course, that can only happen if he stays at Old Trafford. He has a little over a year remaining on his existing deal, which was signed when he joined United from Atletico Madrid in a £18million deal in 2011. According to the players agent Jorge Mendes, the talks over a new contract have started, stating his client won’t depart the Red Devils. Van Gaal has already said he wants De Gea to stay, however, he has already admitted “anything is possible” over a potential departure.

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