David de Gea has come under fresh scrutiny following the goal United conceded against Reading yesterday.
Despite the Red Devils running out comfortable 3-1 winners of the FA Cup 4th round tie, the goal against was a reminder of the side’s defensive fragility.
Tactical analyst @StatmanCam feels the blame for the goal falls squarely on De Gea’s shoulders.
Responding to a tweet saying that the Reading corner was “the easiest claimed cross I’ve ever seen,” the analyst said:
“Generally any cross in the 6 yard box should be claimed by the GK unless it’s got ridiculous pace on it.
“Instead, we have to pack the 6yd box with extra zonal markers so we have fewer blockers. Hence we can’t follow every run and sometimes players will get free.”
Generally any cross in the 6 yard box should be claimed by the GK unless it’s got ridiculous pace on it.
Instead, we have to pack the 6yd box with extra zonal markers so we have fewer blockers. Hence we can’t follow every run and sometimes players will get free. https://t.co/29t6NgHbRL
— Cam 🔰 (@StatManCam) January 29, 2023
Watching the goal again, it is hard to argue that the Spaniard should have been able to easily pluck the ball from the air. It was, indeed, within the six yard box and arrived at a gentle pace.
The analysis of United packing the six yard box to defend corners is an interesting one. Often the centre backs, especially Maguire and Lindelof, or other outfield players, get the blame for allowing the player – in yesterday’s example, the Royals’ Amadou Salif Mbengue – to have got free.
But the idea that the problem emanates from their having to defend an area that should be handled by the keeper, leaving the rest of the area understaffed, is an interesting one.
Talks over a new contract between De Gea and United are ongoing. It is understood that the player is willing to take a salary reduction but even if the £375,000 per week deal were to be cut in half, which is unlikely, United would still have one of the world’s most expensive goalkeepers on their books.
Much has been written about the 32 year old’s poor distribution but his command of the area may also be an issue if the analyst is right.
He is undoubtedly one of the world’s best shot stoppers and has saved United points on countless occasions, but despite efforts to re-educate him to adapt better to the modern game, yesterday’s goal adds to the evidence that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and that indirectly, he may also be regularly costing points as well.