Undoubtedly, the biggest game in English football this weekend will be kicking off at The Emirates at 16:30 at The Emirates, and as is the case with all huge games, the men between the sticks will be key. Both Bernd Leno and David de Gea lead the way as two of the Premier League’s best shot-stoppers, but just who is better?
Whilst Arsenal’s defensive record going into this game, as you might imagine, is worse than Manchester United’s, the difference between the sides at the back isn’t quite as vast as you might have thought. The Gunners have shipped 39 league goals to Manchester United’s 38 and this weekend could see that change if Unai Emery can one-up Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, either way, though, the men between the sticks will be crucial.
Bernd Leno truly has been a revelation at The Emirates, and the Gunners will be the first to tell you that. They’d have been left in a real mess had the German not been on hand to deny Tottenham last Saturday as they played out a 1-1 draw, with the pick of his stops coming right on the stroke of half-time as he denied both Christian Eriksen and Moussa Sissoko with a stunning double stop.
During Leno’s days at Bayer Leverkusen, he made a name for himself as one of the best young goalkeepers in Europe and has only seen his reputation grow in England. The shot-stopper, who’s now 27-years-old, has kept four Premier League clean sheets and will be desperate to make that five after the crunch match against the Red Devils at The Emirates later today.
TT GRADE: B
DAVID DE GEA
It’s impossible to talk about the world’s best goalkeepers without mentioning the name ‘David de Gea’. The Spaniard has is Manchester United’s best player and when he’s on form he’s the most likely candidate to win a big game for the Old Trafford faithful. The Spaniard has forced his way into the argument over who the famous club’s best ever shot-stopper is, despite competing with Edwin van der Sar and Peter Schmeichel.
This weekend could well be one of those games where De Gea just steps up and has a performance leaving both the home and the away support gasping. He did it last season at The Emirates and he’s managed this campaign at Wembley against Tottenham, so it’s not out of the picture. It seems criminal that Spain’s number one only had seven Premier League clean sheets, yet another majestic display could see that rise to eight with another top display.
TT GRADE A++
Whilst there is no doubting that Bernd Leno has been a quality addition to The Emirates, it is just impossible to think that any other Premier League shot-stopper has it in them to compete with the best goalkeeper in the world David De Gea. Don’t be surprised if the 28-year-old earns his side one or even three points later on, in a game that could shape the race for the top four.