Home » Is David De Gea’s poor Champions League performance a cause for concern?

Is David De Gea’s poor Champions League performance a cause for concern?

by Harry Henshaw

Having signed Raphael Varane in the summer many Manchester United fans felt like the club had one of the strongest defences in the league.

Slotting into a back four including Euro 2020 heroes Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire as well as Aaron Wan-Bissaka, things looked good from a defensive standpoint.

One major talking point was who should start in goal as David De Gea’s form had deteriorated massively over recent years and Dean Henderson had looked promising in his outings towards the back end of the last campaign.

But as the season has unfolded, United have been shambolic defensively and it has often been De Gea, given the number one jersey due to Henderson’s untimely battle with Covid, who has saved them.

Given an A grade by the Manchester Evening News for his performances so far this campaign, there had even been rumours of a move away for Henderson, such was the Spaniard’s form.

But in last night’s 2-2 Champions League draw with Atalanta, we saw the worst of the four-time Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year.

De Gea let Josep Ilicic’s weak shot squirm under him and failed on a number of occasions to come off his line and sweep up behind United’s back four.

This prompted BBC Radio 5 Live’s Leon Osman to say:

“This is a shocker from David De Gea, it comes from a bit of misfortune.”

“It’s a quick shot, it’s tame – it’s a side foot which should be straight to the body of De Gea, he half dives past it and puts his arms where his feet would be.”

Of course, we shouldn’t read too much into one bad game, but De Gea does seem like the kind of player that if his confidence is knocked, we could see a significant slide in his performances.

Rather than being a major red flag, it should probably just act as a reminder to United fans that even though he’s been in brilliant form this campaign, this isn’t the De Gea of a few years ago when he was arguably the best keeper in the world.

With a quality backup waiting in the wings should his form turn sour, the goalkeeping position is probably the least of United’s defensive problems right now.

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