The season is over, the fans are slowly preparing for the European Championship soon to start in 11 different countries, but we are still looking back towards the last campaign. Our Manchester United’s season ending review starts with a piece on David de Gea and his campaign for the Red Devils. He is the first one to kick off with these articles and his season was a peculiar one. There was not huge blunders as it was the case in some previous years, but there was also still more uncertainty than ever about his status as the first choice goalkeeper for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.
David de Gea made 36 appearances for Manchester United across all competitions. That is less than his usual tally, with 26 of them coming in the Premier League. He also made five appearances in the Europa League and Champions League, while the two domestic cup competitions were reserved for Dean Henderson. De Gea’s 26 games in the Premier League had seen him concede 32 goals, which is 1.25 goals per 90 minutes he spent in goal. The underlying metrics from FBref suggest De Gea was expected to concede around 29.8 goals on average, based on the quality of the shots he was facing, meaning he underperformed for around two to three goals across the campaign. The Spaniard had faced 85 shots on target, making 58 saves, which is a save percentage of 67.1, ultimately meaning one out of three shots on target he faced ended up as being a goal conceded. He also faced four penalties in the league, with all four of them being scored.
The Race For Number 1 Spot
This season for De Gea has not been ideal one in terms of the safety of his place in Man United’s goal. Last season, he was the clear number one choice, but with Dean Henderson returning from loan at Sheffield United, things changed. The young Englishman started pushing for the spot and he was occasionally given a chance to feature, especially in the FA Cup and League Cup. But then came the second part of the season when things became even more interesting. De Gea had left the squad on a special leave, due to becoming a father and he missed three or four games due to that, but when he returned – Henderson now became the first choice in goal. There was a run of eight Premier League games in which De Gea did not feature, spanning from the start of March until 11 May, before the 2-1 loss against Leicester in the season run-in. In the end, De Gea had spent two thirds of available minutes in the Premier League this season.
The season did not end well for De Gea. Just about before the end of it, Solskjaer decided to make the Spaniard his designated goalkeeper in Europa League, meaning he would play in a European final. However, that did not go well for him, as Man United lost to Villarreal on penalties, as De Gea conceded all 11 of his shots and also missing his crucial penalty. How much will that be taken into consideration for next season remains to be seen, but there has been a lot of uncertainty about his future and let’s see whether he stays at Old Trafford or not…