Jose Mourinho has labelled David de Gea as the best goalkeeper in the world following the Spaniard’s superb display during Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Arsenal.
The hosts forced De Gea into a series of relatively routine stops in the first half before Romelu Lukaku’s deflection appeared destined to bring Arsenal back into the game, only for De Gea to somehow pluck the ball off the line.
And he did it again in the second half, denying a fierce drive from Aaron Ramsey before somehow stopping a point-blanc shot from Alexis Sanchez with his feet.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho was quick to note that no keeper in the world came anywhere near the 27-year-old.
“I told him after the match, what I saw today was the best from a goalkeeper in the world,” he said.
“You need the keeper to be there for you when the team needs. All the effort from the players was magnificent.
“The game, we started in one way and they started in another, then we changed and went down to 10 men and changed again.”
Just to be clear: De Gea made 14 saves against Arsenal. Fourteen. That equals the Premier League record, and to be honest I still haven’t fully processed all of them.
How the Spaniard maintained his composure and guile in the face of persistent Arsenal onslaughts forward was nothing short of stupendous. He exudes an air of command that almost feels regal. And yet, at the same time, you only imagined that his resolve would be broken eventually at the Emirates, if only because of the very basic laws of probability. Arsenal just kept coming forward.
But just when you thought that moment was seconds away, your head buried in your hands, the pleasant sight of De Gea’s imposing figure comes into frame, and you gaze dumbfounded at the screen as the commentator ponders how, just how, has he saved that. And it happened over and over again.
This was nothing short of extraterrestrial, and a potent reminder to all out there of the importance of giving new players a chance – and not abandoning them – if they encounter a difficult start.