- David de Gea saves a penalty in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over West Hamu
- Stopping Mark Noble Was De Gea’s First Open Play Penalty Left in Five Years
- The Spaniard had a terrible record, not saving his last 40 penalties
- This included all 11 penalties in the Europa League final against Villarreal.
David de Gea finally let go of his penalty-saving curse after stopping a Mark Noble effort in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over West Ham on Sunday.
De Gea, known to be a prolific shot-stopper when at his best, has been troubled by his penalty failures for many years.
But with United’s victory on the line after Luke Shaw took over the field in second-half stoppage time, De Gea guessed the right way and took his chances to put out Noble’s effort and secure three points for the Red Devils. Dive low to the left.
David de Gea finally ended his terrible penalty run in Manchester United’s win over West Humoo
De Gea saved Mark Noble’s spot-kick in the final minutes to ensure United won 2-1
The question marks about de Gea’s penalty-saving ability were well established: until Noble, the Spaniard had not saved a penalty outside the shoot-out since April 2016. He was in the FA Cup semi-final against the then Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.
De Gea would have to go back even further seven years to October 2014, to save his last Premier League penalty in an open game against Everton’s also Leighton Baines.
Such was the concern over the 30-year-old’s penalty problem that many observers called on his United rival, Dean Henderson, to grab the No. 1 jersey,
De Gea last saved a penalty in 2016 in open play from then Everton striker Romelu Lukaku
Since 2016, De Gea had lost 22 penalties from open play, while Henderson had eight saves.
Including the penalty shoot-out made the numbers even more troubling. Until Noble’s penalty save, de Gea had failed to save a total of 41 penalties – 33 for United and eight for Spain.
They include all 11 in the Europa League final against Villarreal in May, which United lost on penalties. A staggering shoot-out saw all 21 penalties scored until De Gea had to take one against his opposite number.
De Gea infamous missed all 11 penalties against Villarreal in the Europa League final in May
His attempt to subdue survived and Villarreal were the champions. Fans and others were adamant that had Henderson started, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men would have lifted the trophy that night.
However, with Solskjaer continuing to believe in De Gea, and now having put to bed that litany of poor penalty numbers, perhaps the Spaniard’s next 40 penalty attempts will make for a better reading.