Michael Owen has labelled David de Gea as the best goalkeeper in the world following his performance during Manchester United’s 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.
The Spaniard, who claimed his sixth clean sheet of the season against Southampton last week, produced a vital save low to his right to keep out Alan Dzagoev’s drive soon after Man United took the lead.
He later came up with another superb instinctive stop from Fyodor Chalov’s powerful strike after 34 minutes but would have been disappointed to see Konstantin Kuchayev place a shot through his legs during the dying stages of the game.
That said, Owen, speaking on BT Sport, was adamant that De Gea was the best keeper in the world at this given time.
Jose Mourinho could not have seen his side make a better start in Moscow. Two necessary staples of their challenge for silverware this season were brought to the fore after just five minutes: Romelu Lukaku scoring and De Gea pulling out an astonishing save.
United never looked in trouble after that. Seeing De Gea bat away a fierce, seemingly goal-bound drive to preserve the advantage sends a wave of confidence – and a compulsion to refocus – through the entire side. The deflationary impact on CSKA, having opened up United, was telling as well. What can you do when, even after bypassing the entire defence, finding the net still feels like an uphill struggle?
Indeed, that is what the truly elite goalkeepers do. They don’t just make saves; they actively change the mood of the game.