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Manchester United Player Season Review 2016/17: The Goalkeepers

Manchester United did not have the best of seasons during the 2016/17 campaign which commenced in high spirits with Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal as the manager, with the Portuguese former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager bringing in Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba as his four summer signings, Pogba being the current world record signing which could be eclipsed and even surpassed this summer if reports are to be believed. Mourinho had instilled the winning mentality into his new club just weeks after be became the manager, pushing for big changes from the start of the season. United started off by beating Leicester City to win the FA Community Shield, the first of many trophies under Mourinho, which turned out the be the case only in the first season.

United started well in the league, winning their first three matches, but a three-match losing streak then turned the season upside down, losing two Premier League matches and one in the UEFA Europa League. United found their feet again, but the ups and downs kept coming. Too many draws in the Premier League, most of them at home became a problem for United, which contributed in their sixth-placed finish, a first for the club who had finished seventh (David Moyes), fourth and fifth (Louis van Gaal) post-Sir Alex Ferguson. The season had a different feeling to it though, something was being built for the future, Mourinho was bringing United back to the helm just like Ferguson did in the 1990’s.

Of course, Rome was not built in a day, but things are changing. United ended the season with two more trophies; the EFL Cup, beating Southampton 3-2 at Wembley at the end of February and the UEFA Europa League, beating Ajax 2-0 in Sweden, more importantly earning a UEFA Champions League group stage place next season, the minimum requirement for Mourinho and his team. The season reviews have been written for the Premier League, EFL Cup, Emirates FA Cup, and the UEFA Europa League now it is the player’s turn to be reviewed and rated, starting with the goalkeepers.

David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper played 45 times throughout the season, a figure which was only topped by a few players; Marcus Rashford 53, Paul Pogba 51, Ander Herrera 50 and Marouane Fellaini 47. David De Gea played well throughout the season, keeping 17 clean sheets, 14 of which were in the Premier League alone, being one of the best goalkeepers in the league, but Chelsea keeper and former Atletico Madrid shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois was the recipient of the Golden Glove. De Gea is a player who has kept United competing over the last four seasons, being named Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for three out of four seasons, with Ander Herrera winning the award for the past season, at last, a player who was not a goalkeeper, suggesting that United were ready to move in another direction under the guidance of Jose Mourinho. De Gea has been a target for Real Madrid post-Sir Alex Ferguson with the La Liga and UEFA Champions League holders failing because of a fax machine on deadline day in Spain during the summer of 2015 – two-years later falling foul of the fee United have placed on the head of their number one goalkeeper. Things may change yet this summer, but it would seem that United will keep their Spanish goalkeeper after this summer with Madrid looking to other targets, Courtois was one before he committed himself to Chelsea.

Appearances: Premier League: 35, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 5, UEFA Europa League: 3, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 45

Clean Sheets: Premier League: 14, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 2, UEFA Europa League: 1, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 17

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 2, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Sergio Romero

The Argentinian goalkeeper was signed by Louis van Gaal during his second summer managing United, a free agent coming into replace both Victor Valdes and Anders Lindegaard. Romero is the number one goalkeeper for Argentina but has not played in the same position ay his club, something which seems strange, but when he has been called on, he has done what he needed to do. Under Mourinho, Romero was thought to be surplus to requirements, but that was far from the case, as was the fact Juan Mata was thought to be the first player out of the door. Romero was trusted in the UEFA Europa League during the past season, playing in 12 of the 15 matches, doing what he needed to do and trusted to play in the final, a match United needed to win to secure UEFA Champions League football. In 18 appearances, the Argentinian kept 12 clean sheets, which is pretty good for a player not trusted to fill the position on a more permanent basis. That could well be the case if De Gea does actually leave the Old Trafford club this summer, but that is looking unlikely at this moment in time.

Appearances: Premier League: 2, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 12, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 18

Clean Sheets: Premier League: 2, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 8, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 12

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 0, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3/5

Joel Pereira

Joel Pereira started the season on loan in Portugal playing for Belenenses. He was recalled in January because of a goalkeeper injury crisis which meant he would return to U23 action in the Premier League 2 with Jose Mourinho giving him his debut in the 4-0 victory over Wigan Athletic in the Emirates FA Cup, albeit only around ten minutes of action, but the manager’s trust in the player was shown at the end of the season with Pereira making his full debut for the club, this time in the Premier League against Crystal Palace. Pereira is a wanted man this summer with Portuguese clubs looking to sign him, which could well happen unless Mourinho was able to persuade the player into staying at the club unless any move was on loan again. Pereira is a talented goalkeeper – perhaps if De Gea did leave the club this summer, he could be the number two goalkeeper, but he would need to play regularly in order to develop into a better shot-stopper.

Appearances: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 2

Clean Sheets: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 2

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 0, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 2.5/5

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