What is happening to David de Gea? Is he still the best in the world?
Manchester United have been torrid for most of the season, and it has been highlighted with even one of the most consistent performers in the squad under-performing, David de Gea.
During Manchester United's crucial 1-1 draw against Chelsea, de Gea was once again to blame for the goal that United conceded, after he spilled what was a fairly easy shot from Antonio Rudiger, with Marcos Alonso immediately pouncing on to score the rebound, much to a distraught de Gea.
In recent games, de Gea has been conceding more than he has actually saved, and has been making countless basic goalkeeping errors, such as leaving his near post open, and not handling weak shots from outside the area. It seems as if the Spaniard is back to his early days at Manchester United, where he lacked confidence completely, yet at the time, he had the excuse of still being very young for a goalkeeper.
During the World Cup last summer, we saw a similar side of David de Gea to the one that we are seeing last season, with him barely making any saves, as Spain crashed out of the competition very early on.
However, has David de Gea really been that awful, or has he just been mediocre compared to the brilliance of past seasons? To put this into perspective, de Gea has made four errors which led to goals in the Premier League this season, which is a massive number considering that he had only made six errors leading to goals in the Premier League before this season.
In his past eight seasons as a Manchester United player, the Spaniard has been named as the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year on four occasions, more than any other player. His consistent performances throughout the years have managed to keep the fans faithful that he will turn this rough patch of form around, with the home fans chanting his name at the end of the first half against Chelsea on Sunday.
Gary Neville, who has admired the Spaniard for a long time, mainly for his vast improvement ever since his debut for the club, way back in 2011, said that "It's so difficult for him at the moment." He also added that "de Gea needs the summer to clear his head, get away from football and reset."
Romelu Lukaku, who has also praised de Gea in the past, has defended him once again, "I don’t think we should discredit him like that and suddenly say he is a bad goalkeeper, He has saved us so many times. It happens to strikers, it happens to midfielders and now it is happening to him. He has to learn from it. Goalkeepers always have a spell when it might be difficult."
During such a rough patch, a goalkeeper has to somehow play through, as benching him will just lower his confidence even more than before. As Neville said, he badly needs the summer, and maybe next season we will see the great David de Gea once again.