David De Gea's woes continue as underperforming United lose ground in top 4 race

Dave fails to Save

The post Sir Alex Ferguson era at Manchester United has been a difficult, testing and ultimately disappointing period for English footballs most successful club, but one consistent that always seemed to remain was the form of David De Gea.

The Spaniard was signed by the Scot back in 2011 and has gone on to cement himself as one of the best goalkeepers not just in the Premier League, but world football. However he hasn't had things all his own way, he endured a rocky start to life in England which saw many question his ability but it eventually shone through.

This season though has seen the first real questions asked of him since that difficult first year. He's not been helped by an absolutely dreadful and ever changing defensive line-up but the stats don't make great reading for him.

The Red Devils have conceded 51 goals in the Premier League alone this season, which is a club record. Alongside that they've kept just 2 clean sheets at Old Trafford, which shows it's a million miles away from the fortress that it used to be.

De Gea can be excused for the majority of this due to the performances of Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones et all in front of him but he has made some big mistakes. This year has seen him make the most errors leading to goals (4) in his Manchester United career, the most recent of which is arguably the biggest.

David De Gea
David De Gea's recent slump is the biggest test of his character this he arrived in England back in 2011

The inconsistency of the other sides battling for a spot in the top four meant that a win over fourth placed Chelsea on Sunday would give United a fantastic chance of bringing Champions League football to Old Trafford next season and despite a much improved performance, they were held 1-1 - with David De Gea's performance the main taking point.

The 28 year-old fumbled a long range strike Antonio Rudiger right into the path of Marcos Alonso who tucked home from 6 yards to give the Blues a crucial point. It was another low moment for De Gea and it's tough to see someone who's been so good for so many years suffer such a crisis of confidence.

The fans remain behind him and rightly so, but is it time to take him out the spotlight and give Sergio Romero some game time heading into the final two match days of the season?

Romero waiting in the wings

Manchester United are in a fortunate position when it comes to the goalkeeping situation, with the club possessing two of the best goalkeepers in the division. We know all about the talents of David De Gea but on the bench they have Sergio Romero, who's a superb deputy.

The 32 year-old has 96 caps for Argentina and he's looked very good in the limited number of appearances that he's made for the Red Devils since joining on a free transfer from Sampdoria four years ago.

In most sides he'd be no.1 and with De Gea's slump in form, it could be time to give him some minutes in the Premier League for the first time this season. The Spaniard is clearly the best goalkeeper at the club but some time out of the starting XI could provide him with the break that he needs to focus on his game and eradicate those costly errors.

Recently these mistakes have made plenty of headlines but unfortunately for the Spaniard they've been season long. He's still regarded as one of the Premier League's elite goalkeepers, but his total of 7 clean sheets (just 2 at Old Trafford) puts him down in ninth position in the standings amongst his peers - a massive 13 behind Liverpool's Alisson Becker.

For years now De Gea has been THE goalkeeper in the Premier League, we've lost count of the number of times that he's saved the Red Devils will his heroic performances. But this year has shown that he is indeed human and fans of the Red Devils will be hoping that this is just a temporary slump.

But the consistency of his inconsistency hasn't gone unnoticed and it's cost him a place in the PFA Team of the Year - with him missing out on a spot in the XI for the first time since 2014. Manchester City's Ederson made it in ahead of him and it would've been a tough piece of news for him to accept - although it isn't totally surprising given his form.

Best time to tie him down to a new deal?

It seems that every transfer window David De Gea is linked with a move away from Manchester United, but it's just something that happens with elite players. The Spaniard is without a doubt one of the clubs most prized assets but the two parties are approaching something of a crossroads.

Come this summer the 28 year-old will have just one year left to run on his deal at Old Trafford, meaning next summer he'll be able to depart on a free transfer. You'd expect him to be back to his best by then but regardless, he will have clubs queuing up to secure his signature.

But at the moment whilst his confidence is the lowest it's been since his arrival it's time to support him, which could lead to him penning a new long-term deal with the club. This is something that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has identified too, with the Norwegian insisting that he still "trusts" him along with saying that no-one should "blame him" for dropping points.

David De Gea
De Gea may have struggled this season but he's still a world class goalkeeper - as he proved on the big stage in the Champions League against PSG

"David has been unbelievable for this club. We support each other. There is no chance anyone can blame him for losing points. He knows he could have had that shot, but that is football. David likes to play games. I will have chats with him and he will respond in the right way."

De Gea has won the clubs Player of the Year award in four of the previous five seasons so if any player is capable from bouncing back from a series of mistakes, it's clearly him. But the fact he's made more errors leading directly to goals this year than the previous five combined speaks volumes.

But with just two games remaining and the top four looking unlikely, it appears that the summer break has come around just at the right time for him. He has no international commitments with Spain so he can use the break to re-charge his batteries and come back a much stronger character in what could be a very different Manchester United side come August.

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