Manchester United: De Gea or Lindegaard - who should be Fergie's number one?
At Manchester United it's common to see positions shared among players in the squad. Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Nani all share the wide positions, with Ryan Giggs and Danny Welbeck also capable of playing on the wing. In the middle of the park, Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Anderson and Darren Fletcher all share the midfield positions.
Modern football has evolved from the point of best 11 against best 11 to which club can assemble the best squad to come out on top at the end of a long, grueling season. So, has the goalkeeping position finally caught up? Should the position be rotated just like most of the outfield positions? What I'm really asking is, who is the number one keeper at Manchester United - Anders Lindegaard or David De Gea?
Firstly, let's look at them individually starting with De Gea. The young Spaniard has the natural talent and skill set needed to succeed at the top level. His distribution is solid and shot stopping ability outstanding, with the stop against Juan Mata's free kick last season coming to mind.
At the end of last season, Lindegaard lost his starting spot due to injury and saw De Gea make save after save. David ended the season with 204 saves and 13 clean sheets in the Premier League alone. After making a few errors at the start of the season and, at times, being harshly criticised by the media, De Gea finished very strongly to be the number one goalkeeper. Lindegaard would have felt hard done by as he played very well before succumbing to injury.
This season, however, after two starts, 17 saves and no clean sheets, De Gea lost his starting position and has yet to return to Premier League action, with appearances only in the Champions League and Capital One cup. After replacing David De Gea following the game against in Fulham, Anders Lindegaard has performed strongly with 14 saves and 1 clean sheet so far in the Premier League.
The big Dane has stronger aerial ability, helped by his larger build. His command of the area is strong and his shot stopping is just as effective; his strong performance against Luiz Suarez at Anfield last Sunday proving as evidence.
Whichever way you look at it, both keepers have performed well despite rotation. It's true that this method has never really worked. Confidence can't be built without a string of games, but at least in this situation, the two keepers have maintained a high standard of performance.
Sir Alex Ferguson has the dilemma of having two solid goalkeepers who are yet to make real howlers or lose form dramatically. Neither keeper has performed badly enough to make the manager's decision easier. Perhaps the one big difference is the physical build of each player, where Lindegaard is bigger and more able to cope with Premier League football.
But, if you have to put me on the spot. Anders Lindegaard should continue in the league for now where his physicality is needed. But David De Gea will be the number one, if not now then, in the near future. People forget that he's only 21. Physically, he has time to become stronger. Technically, he has the potential to become greater. Where we are seeing the peak of Lindegaard's ability, David De Gea will keep getting better.
The Spaniard also has the ability to change momentum with a save or protect his side when they are vulnerable to a counter attack, such as the double save he made against Galatasaray.
It can knock the wind out the other team and give Manchester United the luxury of pushing forward in search of a goal.
Unfortunately, his weakness in the air lets him down and once this aspect of his game is sorted out, he will definitely be the number one keeper without question.
But this, of course, is just my opinion.
Should rotation continue? Does it affect the mentality of the defense and team as a whole to much? Who do think is the number one keeper at Manchester United? Whatever your view, we'd love to hear from you.
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