David de Gea finally puts an end to penalty hoodoo by saving his first in FIVE years from Mark Noble in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over West Ham… an end to a record of 41 spot kicks without a stop
- David de Gea saved a penalty in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over West Ham
- Quitting Mark Noble was De Gea’s first open play penalty in five years
- The Spaniard had a terrible record for failing to save his last 40 penalties
- That included all 11 penalties in the Europa League final against Villarreal
David de Gea finally put his penalty kicking curse behind him after stopping Mark Noble’s attempt in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over West Ham on Sunday.
Known as a fantastic shot stopper when he is at his best, De Gea has been dogged by his failed penalty kicks for several years now.
But with United’s win on the line after Luke Shaw acted in the area in the second half of stoppage time, De Gea guessed the right way and dove low to the left to keep Noble’s attempt out and three points for the Reds Devils safe.
David de Gea finally ended his horrible penalty run in Manchester United’s win over West Ham
De Gea saved in the final minutes of Mark Noble’s goal to ensure a 2-1 victory for United
The question marks around De Gea’s penalty-saving ability were well-founded: until Noble, the Spaniard had not saved a penalty outside of a shoot-out since April 2016. That was in the FA Cup semi-final against the then Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.
De Gea has to go back even further to October 2014, a whopping seven years ago, to save his last penalty in the Premier League in open play from Leighton Baines, also of Everton.
Concern over the 30-year-old’s penalty issue was so great 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 open play penalties, while Henderson had spared eight.
The numbers made it even more disturbing to read when penalties were included. Until saving Noble’s penalty, De Gea had failed to save a total of 41 penalties – 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. In a dizzying shoot-out, all 21 penalties were scored until De Gea had to take one against his opponent.
De Gea infamously missed all 11 penalties against Villarreal in the Europa League final in May
His tame effort was saved and Villarreal became champion. Fans and others were adamant that if Henderson had started, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men would have hoisted the trophy that night.
Solskjaer continues to have faith in De Gea, however, and now that he has calmed down that litany of bad penalty numbers, the Spaniard’s next 40 penalty attempts may provide a better reading.