David de Gea finally ends penalty hoodoo by saving his first in FIVE years from Mark Noble in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over West Ham… breaking a record of 41 missed penalty saves
- David de Gea saved a penalty in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over West Ham
- Stopping Mark Noble was de Gea’s first open play penalty save in five years
- The Spaniard had a terrible record, having not saved his last 40 penalties
- That included all 11 penalties in the Europa League final against Villarreal
David de Gea finally put his penalty-saving curse behind him after stopping Mark Noble’s effort in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over West Ham on Sunday.
De Gea, known for being a fantastic shot-stopper when at his best, has been dogged by his penalty failures for several years.
But with United’s win on the line after Luke Shaw handled in the area in second-half stoppage time, de Gea guessed the correct way and dived low to his left to keep Noble’s effort out and secure three points for the Red Devils.
David de Gea finally ended his dreadful penalty run in Manchester United’s win over West Ham
De Gea saved from Mark Noble’s spot-kick in the final minutes to ensure United got a 2-1 win
The question marks around de Gea’s penalty-saving ability were well founded: until Noble, the Spaniard had not saved a penalty outside a shoot-out since April 2016. That was in the FA Cup semi-final against then-Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.
De Gea has to go back even further to October 2014, a whopping seven years ago, to find his last Premier League penalty save in open play from Leighton Baines, also of Everton.
Such was the concern over the 30-year-old’s penalty problem that several observers called for his United rival, Dean Henderson, to take over the No 1 jersey,
De Gea last saved a penalty in open play in 2016, from then-Everton striker Romelu Lukaku
Since the 2016 save, de Gea had missed 22 penalties from open play, whereas Henderson had saved eight.
The numbers made even more troubling reading when including penalty shoot-outs. Until saving Noble’s penalty, de Gea had failed to save 41 penalties in total – 33 for United and eight for Spain.
Those 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 infamously missed all 11 penalties against Villarreal in the Europa League final in May
His tame effort was saved and Villarreal were champions. Fans and others were adamant that had Henderson started, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men would have lifted the trophy that night.
Solskjaer, however, continues to have faith in de Gea, and having now put that litany of bad penalty numbers to bed, perhaps the Spaniard’s next 40 penalty efforts will make for better reading.