David de Gea is the top flight’s most overworked goalkeeper, and one of the main reasons Manchester United is second place in the the Premier League.
He has the third most saves in the League, behind only Jordan Pickford and Łukasz Fabiański. The other goalkeepers on the top five teams face far fewer shots, which is what you’d expect from elite teams.
Is that down to the boring, defence-first system Jose Mourinho employs on a weekly basis?
de Gea deserves all the credit in the world for keeping United within striking distance of Man City, though they would need a miracle to overhaul the runaway leaders. Could Alexis Sanchez be the miracle United are searching for?
At the very least, Sanchez’s presence in the attacking third should help increase United’s possession statistics, which could correlate into a lighter workload for de Gea.
So, where would the Red Devils be positioned devoid of their world-class goalkeeper? Rather than sitting pretty in second place, I wager to guess they’d be on the outside of the top four looking in.
It’s not a particularly farfetched presumption, especially considering de Gea’s consistent heroics. One match that springs immediately to mind is United’s 3-1 away win at Arsenal: de Gea was magisterial, making a number of otherworldly saves to secure all three points.
Premier League match day 25 predictions
The Wingman gives Everton one more chance to redeem themselves after drawing West Brom at home, with the Toffees looking to win their first in six against Leicester at Goodison.
Elsewhere, West Ham host Crystal Palace in a crucial London derby. Separated by a single point in the standings, neither team can afford to lose this match. Back the draw in this one, and expect a low-scoring, somewhat cagey affair.