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Friday, April 19, 2024

Andre Onana leads the Premier League as number one, David de Gea does not compare

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Manchester United made the decision last summer to make a change goalkeeper, with Erik ten Hag wanting a new direction.

David de Gea’s performance in the FA Cup final last season was the final straw for manager Erik ten Hag. Manchester United promptly made the decision to move on from the Spaniard.

Andre Onana was chosen as De Gea’s replacement, which was almost a separate decision entirely.

On one hand you have ‘Decision A’ to release De Gea, which was correct, and then ‘Decision B’, the choice of replacement, which Andre Onana is now also proving to be a shrewd one.

  • READ MORE: Who is Andre Onana? Delve into the life of Manchester United’s Cameroonian shot-stopper

Manchester United v Liverpool - Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Andre Onana kicking on

Let’s get the ugliness out of the way first. Andre Onana struggled to settle early on, playing a big part in Manchester United’s Champions League exit, with a series of high-profile mistakes in the competition, as well as one match-winning penalty save.

Onana has now silenced his critics, showing a consistent improvement. He was the one starter to emerge with credit from United’s draw at Brentford at the weekend, voted man of the match by supporters.

The Cameroon stopper was also named in the BBC team of the week, following on from praise from his manager earlier in the month.

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Erik ten Hag told club media: “I think he’s doing very well. If I assess his season so far where I think he’s adapted to the Premier League, I think he has very good performances in the Premier League.

“What you see is he’s progressing and I think he’s doing very well lately, very good performances. So, he has to see this as a base and step up from here.”

How Andre Onana compares to David de Gea

Andre Onana has kept eight clean sheets in the Premier League, which places him second in the Golden Glove race.

His performances have been particularly notable because of the way Manchester United have been leaking shots against this season, ranking alongside Sheffield United and Burnley.

Onana has played his part in keeping United competitive, with his save percentage of 73 per cent second in the Premier League.

When it comes to ‘Goals Prevented’, a statistic measuring ‘save expectancy’ on the same xG model as scoring opportunities, Onana is number one.

  1. Andre Onana: 5.0
  2. Guglielmo Vicario: 4.1
  3. Jose Sa: 3.6
  4. Neto: 3.5
  5. Emiliano Martinez: 3.4

These numbers are even more impressive considering this is an area where David de Gea‘s numbers were actually a consistent negative for the team in the three preceding seasons where data was measured.

  • 2022/23: -1.5
  • 2021/22: -0.2
  • 2020/21: -3.5

David de Gea’s deficiencies in this area was part of the reason there was a mounting case to move on from him last summer.

The Spaniard was notably poor with his distribution, and also reluctant to claim crosses, doing so just 15 times last season. Andre Onana has made 32 high claims in 2023/24 already.

The one area where De Gea was anecdotally viewed as excelling was his shot-stopping, yet the underlying numbers suggest he was not a net positive for the team. Onana is currently the best in the Premier League.

Onana is just getting started at Old Trafford, and there is increasing reason for United supporters to feel confident with his contribution.

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