The role of a goalkeeper is vital. None more so than standing between the sticks at one of the biggest clubs in the world of which has seen a recent dip in form stand in the way of their ambitions of securing a top four spot.
Despite beating rivals Liverpool 1-0 at the weekend, Louis van Gaal’s side were second best for the majority of the game. Chances mounted from the home side which saw the United midfield and defence beaten when Liverpool posed an attack.
The only aspect United possessed that didn’t see them down and out before Wayne Rooney netted the winner was the Red Devil’s ‘keeper. David de Gea’s positioning and acrobatic techniques overlooked the shoddy defending and lack of attacking threat from the rest of the United players.
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Following a star-stunning display which saw him produce four saves, most crucially from Emre Can in the second half, the Spaniard soaked up substantial plaudits and earned himself a well-deserved man of the match award. His incredible form seems to have galvanised his defence; reducing pressure on the back four to clear their lines.
Had Liverpool been facing anyone less gifted than de Gea, they would have accumulated an effortless three points. An early intervention which saw United’s number one quick off his line to deny Adam Lallana set the tone for an excellent display.
His sublime goalkeeping agility showed the United faithful why the club were so reluctant to let the shot-stopper leave in the summer.
It doesn’t come any bigger than a clash with Liverpool and albeit the Red Devils weren’t on top gear, the Spaniard put on an admirable fight against a tough attacking opposition.
Nothing less than an eye-catching display would deny the likes of Roberto Firmino adding to his goal tally from Wednesday night and that’s exactly what De Gea provided.
As a result, the ‘keeper may just have proven to be the main aspect for United’s push for a Champions League spot.
In the Spaniard, Van Gaal possesses the man to play a vital part in taking the Manchester side back to where they belong. His relentless efforts can inspire United to claim victory in vital fixtures and climb up the Premier League table, returning to the superiority they showed under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Sitting only two points adrift of top four, Van Gaal can’t afford to rely on De Gea alone, however, his presence can help resurrect United’s top class ability. If his agility is matched by the forwards and defenders stepping up to the plate, the side will start to provide a more reasonable threat to the teams placed at the peak of the table.
If the Spaniard continues his inspirational form, ruling United out of a top four finish or even a 21st league title would be injudicious.
The club are in dire need of points and De Gea may be the man to help instigate a positive finish to a complicated and turbulent campaign.