David de Gea finally ends 40-game hoodoo in Man Utd last-gasp win over West Ham
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea managed to end a 40-game hoodoo in Sunday’s 2-1 victory against West Ham United by saving his first penalty since 2016.
The Spanish stopper stepped up to face Hammers midfielder Mark Noble with the rot of 40 successive penalties conceded for both club and country hanging on his shoulders, but the United keeper kept his cool and swatted the ball away.
The last time De Gea had successfully denied a goal from a penalty came in April 2016 against the brute force of then Everton striker Romelu Lukaku in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
The Spaniard is no stranger to slings and arrows from critics who have taken aim at his penalty saving ability, especially after the crushing defeat to Villareal in the Europa League last season in which de Gea conceded the final penalty in an 11-10 loss.
But United have regained faith in De Gea and he has reclaimed his Premier League place with Dean Henderson ruled out due to injury and the victory over West Ham ought to further solidify his place in the team.
It was initially expected that international midfielder Declan Rice would be taking the penalty, but Hammers boss David Moyes called on Mark Noble from the bench for the duties, despite not having played a minute of the game.
Talking to Sky Sports after the game, de Gea was delighted to end his torturous spell and was elated to have contributed to the team victory.
“I saw Rice with the ball and I was expecting him to take the penalty, but then I see Noble with the ball in the last minute of the game and I made the save.
Has David de Gea cemented his place back in the Man Utd team now ahead of Dean Henderson? Let us know in the comments section
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“It was a great goal from Jesse [Lingard] and a massive three points for us. It’s always difficult to play here so I’m really happy.”
Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was full of praise for the Spanish stopper and the rest of his side in a hard-fought victory at the London Stadium.
“He’s a different man!” he said, speaking on de Gea. “Of course, he asked to come back early from pre-season. He wanted to show how good he is.
“He’s so focused and of course he saved two points for us today.”
There was some questioning over the legitimacy of the penalty decision, but Solskjaer admitted that the decision was the correct call.
He toldSky Sports: “It probably is [a penalty], it’s from a very short distance but probably Luke makes himself a little bit bigger.
“So, if you want to make yourself bigger, get outside the box.”
Manchester United will be back in action against West Ham on Wednesday, this time hosting the Hammers in an EFL cup game at Old Trafford.
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