Football

David de Gea v Thibaut Courtois: Head-to-head

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Manchester United and Chelsea might have concerns about their defence, midfield or attack over the forthcoming years - but neither need worry about their goalkeeper situation.

Well, that is as long as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois are content to stay put at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, respectively.

Both are still in their early twenties, but should be considered among the world's elite goalkeepers already.

But who is the best? And who will go on to become the best?

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There's little to separate De Gea and Courtois in this department. Both have proven that they possess outstanding reflexes - and this innate ability will not leave either of them as the seasons go by.

Verdict: Draw

Dealing with set-pieces

De Gea has improved markedly in this area over the past 12 months, but the Spaniard remains a little susceptible to corners and free-kicks on occasions.

Courtois, on the other hand, rarely gives Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone anything to worry about when the opposing team take a set-piece.

Verdict: Thibaut Courtois

Distribution

De Gea's distribution is often fantastic. The 23-year-old can throw the ball half the length of the pitch, or pick a pass with his feet.

Courtois' throwing and kicking ability is strong, certainly, but he perhaps isn't as assured with the ball at his feet as the Manchester United No. 1.

Verdict: David de Gea

Concentration

The ability to remain switched on is essential for a top-level goalkeeper. Because they play for top clubs there are matches in which they become virtual spectators. But they must always stay alert, because the opposition will inevitably get at least one clear-cut chance per match.

It's fair to say that both De Gea and Courtois are focused individuals. It would be a little unfair to suggest that one has better concentration than the other.

Verdict: Draw

One-on-ones

There's only a two-inch height difference between Courtois and De Gea, but that can make a big difference when it comes to saving one-on-ones.

As well as being taller, Courtois is also bulkier, which makes him harder to beat in one-on-one situations.

Verdict: Thibaut Courtois

Bravery

De Gea appeared a little timid when he first arrived in England, sure, but he's much braver these days. Thanks to the coaching at Manchester United, combined with his Premier League experience, the Spaniard no longer allows himself to be bullied by opponents.

However, Courtois is also a brave goalkeeper, and will put his body on the line to save shots.

Again, it would be harsh to put one above the other: they're both fearless goalkeepers.

Verdict: Draw

Overall verdict

Clearly, there's almost nothing to separate the two goalkeepers. They're both world-class and will continue to improve over the coming months and years.

However, as Courtois has not even celebrated his 22nd birthday yet, there's every chance that he could become the world's very best goalkeeper in the not-too-distant future.

De Gea could too, but Courtois appears to have slightly more of a chance at this early stage in his career.

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Topics:
Football
Manchester United
David de Gea
Chelsea

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