By 90Min
April 29, 2019

Another day. Another massive game. Another David De Gea mistake in the Manchester United goal.

Unfortunately for the Spanish 'keeper, what was once almost unseen throughout entire seasons is now becoming a regular occurrence.

The man who has kept United in so many games and won them so many points in the wilderness years post-Sir Alex Ferguson is now suffering the malaise which has plagued most of his teammates for the last six years.

OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

Recent mistakes against Barcelona and Everton were added to against Manchester City and Chelsea this week, and the key question for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is what has caused the dramatic loss in form of the world's best goalkeeper?

Is it the constant speculation regarding his future? Is it a loss of confidence stemming from his mistake against Portugal in last summer's World Cup?

Could it possibly be that the two Brazilian 'keepers at the two best clubs in the country, Liverpool's Alisson and City's Ederson, have changed the art of the position to the extent that De Gea is now doubting himself?

The first issue to look at is clearly his self-belief.

Everything about his body language and the mistakes he is making suggests he is not confident in his abilities to keep the ball out of the back of the net.

There is no longer any conviction in his performances. Routine saves are completed with a sigh of relief where before they would have been met with an indifference, such was the ease with which he was able to make even the most remarkable of saves.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

That has all changed since a scuffed effort from Cristiano Ronaldo in Spain's opening game of last year's World Cup slipped through his hands and trickled into the goal.

De Gea has always been treated harshly by the Spanish press. Even when at his best he never seemed to really have them on his side. That error only compounded the belief in his home country that he is not as good as the rest of the world believe and perhaps De Gea has started to listen to those in Spain.

The rumours every few months of a transfer to Real Madrid cannot be helping the performances of the 28-year-old either.

Whatever players and managers say about focusing on the team and the next match, it is clear that when there is speculation about a player, it can hinder their performances.

Look at De Gea's teammate Paul Pogba.

Jan Kruger/GettyImages

With rumours rife about an imminent move to Real throughout the summer, Pogba started this season poorly under Jose Mourinho.

When the Special One left and Solskjaer came in, talk of a move to Madrid had died down and Pogba was reinvigorated, playing the best football of his United career.

When Zinedine Zidane rejoined Los Blancos in March, the flirting began and the Frenchman's head was turned. Once again he wants to leave United and once again his performances have been awful ever since.

OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

Perhaps that is what is happening to De Gea now.

Or could it be that, just as United as a club have been overtaken by Liverpool and City, De Gea has also been overtaken by their goalkeepers?


Alisson and Ederson have revolutionised the art of goalkeeping in England.

Their ability with the ball at their feet makes them an outlet for their side offensively as well as defensively.

The belief instilled in them by their managers, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, that they should always pass the ball out from the back, has filtered into their general shot-stopping and decision-making.

Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Ederson in particular does everything with absolute conviction, something which was once said of De Gea but can be no more.

Perhaps De Gea is concerned he cannot compete with the two 'keepers with which he is most often compared to.

While Ederson excelled in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford, De Gea seemed cowed by the occasion, looking almost forlornly at his rival in the opposite goal.

David De Gea

When he is at his best, De Gea is the one truly world class player United have got and it is vital that, if they want to challenge for trophies next year, they keep him at the club and get him back to top form.

They must work out what the problem is and fix it soon though, if Solskjaer's first full season in charge is to be a success.

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