He might have signed a lucrative new contract with Manchester United this week, but David de Gea’s difficulties from free-kicks continued in Manchester United’s sorry 2-0 defeat to West Ham on Sunday.
The Hammers were already a goal to the good when Aaron Cresswell stepped up to take a 20-yard free-kick six minutes from time.
The Spain international got a hand to the left-back’s effort but was unable to keep it out, meaning he has conceded 12 goals from direct free-kicks since the start of the 2011-12 Premier League season – more than any other goalkeeper in the division.
Former United defender Gary Neville was less than impressed with De Gea’s attempted save, describing him as having a “poppadom hand” during his co-commentary on Sky Sports.
12 – Since the start of the 2011-12 season, David de Gea has conceded more Premier League goals from direct free-kicks than any other goalkeeper (12). Weakness. pic.twitter.com/tDsOUjTl2c
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 22, 2019
Speaking in the Sky Sports studio before the game, former United boss Jose Mourinho described De Gea as “lucky” to have been given a new four-year deal by the Red Devils.
He said: “I think the moment he signed his huge contract is a moment that I don’t think Manchester United need to pay as much as they have.
“One or two years ago the world was after him. At the moment, the majority of the big doors are closed. Real Madrid are closed. Barcelona are closed. Paris Saint-Germain are closed.
“I don’t think United were under pressure because David was going to disappear. So, he gets a phenomenal contract in a moment when he’s a bit lucky to get it.”
After the match, Mourinho suggested De Gea’s approach to organising his defensive walls and where he places players within them might be a factor in his free-kick woes.
“I think, from a left-footed player [such as Cresswell], the two least important players in the wall are the first and the fourth,” he said.
“The first, where Ashley Young is, because if the ball goes over him with the left foot the ball goes out. And the last one, the fourth, because if the ball goes over him it goes in the middle of the goal and you give a chance to the keeper.
“The two most important ones are where [Victor] Lindelof and [Scott] McTominay are. I don’t think [Harry] Maguire should be the fourth man in the wall. He should be the second with McTominay and try to [block] it.
“I’m not saying they would do it because it’s a very good shot from Cresswell.”
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