Manchester United's goalless draw with Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday highlighted two facts we already knew: Jose Mourinho's side are unadventurous but incredibly hard to beat, and David de Gea is a genius.
The Spain goalkeeper added one more to his catalogue of best saves towards the end of the first half, producing a quite remarkable reaction stop to deny Luis Muriel's close-range header.
It was a moment that dominated plenty of the post-match talk (at least, when nobody was discussing Paul Pogba) and underlined why De Gea is widely considered the best goalkeeper in England and, perhaps, the world.
Well, the former is certainly true, if Opta's data for the 2017-18 Premier League season is anything to go by...
14 - David de Gea has conceded 19 Premier League goals this season, but based on Opta xG data for the shots on target he's faced, the average goalkeeper would have been expected to concede 33 goals. This is the biggest differential by a PL goalkeeper in 2017-18. Exceptional. pic.twitter.com/OK3RdSyQAP— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 22, 2018
HITTING NEW HEIGHTS TO KEEP UNITED ROLLING
United have only conceded 19 goals in the top flight this season, fewer than anyone else, and De Gea is quite clearly essential to that figure; according to Opta, the 'Expected Goals on Target' (xGoT) De Gea has faced stands at 33.
In other words, an average goalkeeper would have been expected to concede 33 goals, rather than just 19, from the shots on target the United number one has come up against.
The 'xGoT' metric is key; it considers where in the goal the attempt would have ended up, alongside the quality of the chance itself. It shows De Gea has not simply built up his numbers by making routine stops from the middle of his line.
The 27-year-old's differential of 14 between his goals conceded and 'xGoT' is the biggest of any goalkeeper in the Premier League this term, and by some distance.
In second is Burnley's Nick Pope, who has conceded 20 from an 'xGoT' figure of 29, meaning he could reasonably have been expected to let in another nine for his side. Next is Swansea City's Lukasz Fabianski, who has a differential of four.
The worst in the league is Ben Foster. He has let in 39 goals from an 'xGoT' of 30. That means bottom club West Brom have conceded nine more goals than they really should have done.
BEGUILING, BRILLIANT... AND BUSY
Manuel Neuer once admitted he gets bored playing behind the Bayern Munich and Germany defences, but that's not something De Gea could say.
The former Atletico Madrid man has made 87 saves in 2,430 minutes in the Premier League this season, giving him an average of 27.9 minutes per stop.
That means he has had more to do than any of United's nearest rivals in the table; Arsenal's Petr Cech has a minutes-per-save ratio of 36.5, Thibaut Courtois and Hugo Lloris are both on 45 and Simon Mignolet's is at 47.5. Way out in front, rather like Manchester City, is Ederson – he has only had to make a save every 54 minutes on average.
In fact, of every goalkeeper to have played at least 10 games in the Premier League this season, only Fabianski, Pope, Wayne Hennessey, Jack Butland, Karl Darlow and Fraser Forster have been busier than De Gea, based on this data. Five of those six keepers play for teams in the bottom eight.
To celebrate the launch of #MUFCYouTube, here's a #ThrowbackThursday classic to when @D_DeGea reached 100 clean sheets for #MUFC!— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 22, 2018
View more #DaveSaves moments on our @YouTube channel: https://t.co/cMN0q74hbq pic.twitter.com/LAWzRn1PDo
RIVALS DON'T COME CLOSE
Nobody has kept more clean sheets in the Premier League than De Gea this season (15), with Chelsea's Courtois (13) closest, just ahead of Ederson and Tottenham's Lloris on 11.
His average of 127.9 minutes per goal conceded is also the best in the division among keepers to play at least 10 games. Ederson is closest on 119.3.
When it comes to save percentage, the United man is, unsurprisingly, top again. His figure of 81.9 per cent is higher than anyone else, including Courtois (68.9), Ederson (68.3), Lloris (67.6), Cech (62.9) and Mignolet (59.3).
De Gea's total of 87 saves is matched by Stoke City's Butland, but it is not the highest in the league. That honour goes to Fabianski, with the Swansea man the only keeper to reach the 100-mark in shot-stopping.
The lowest save tally of anyone to play at least 10 times is Crystal Palace's Julian Speroni, down at 31.
19 de septiembre 2018
|Excited Povetkin arrives in England for Joshua showdown|
|Kovac patience with Sanches set to reap rewards|
|Kovac: Madrid strong without Ronaldo, Messi is the best|
|ATP suspends umpire Lahyani over Kyrgios ´pep talk´ at US Open|
|North and South Korea seek to co-host 2032 Olympics|
|Ampadu signs long-term Chelsea contract|
|Don´t blame Neymar, PSG players all guilty - Thiago Silva|
|Real Madrid seek to plug Ronaldo scoring gap – Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Brewers allow Cardinals to inch closer with loss to Reds|
|Manchester is still red – Depay ahead of Lyon´s clash with City|
|Orioles become first pro team to wear braille jerseys|
|Klopp hails ´brilliant´ Henderson|
|PSG attack lacked aggression, says Tuchel|
|Atletico Tucuman 0 Gremio 2: Libertadores holders draw first blood in QFs|
|Thomas plays down wrist worry|
|Rakitic wants more from Barcelona hat-trick hero Messi|
|My players aren´t s*** – Pochettino defends Spurs squad|
|Cubs reliever Morrow won´t return this season|
|Tebow expected to be back in Mets organisation next season|
|Inter can compete against anyone – Icardi revels in Champions League victory|
|Tuchel: PSG loss to Liverpool not logical or correct|
|Sturridge in best shape I´ve seen – Klopp|
|Milojevic celebrates ´fantastic´ occasion after Red Star´s 26-year wait|
|Rodrigo and Simeone salute Griezmann display|
|Seahawks DE Clark on Bears QB Trubisky: He´s nothing special|
|Carroll says Wilson has been ´over-trying a little bit´|
|Judge returns to Yankees´ starting lineup|
|Napoli boss Ancelotti takes aim at Red Star time wasting|
|Favre admits young Dortmund stars struggled in Bruges|
|Otavio would trade goal for Porto victory as he bemoans Schalke draw|
|Championship Review: Pacesetters Leeds crush Preston, Villa end five-game winless run|
|Neymar world-class but not a defender - Klopp says Liverpool targeted PSG star|
|Waiters injury update: Heat guard unlikely to be ready for start of season|
18 de septiembre 2018
|Gojowczyk eliminates returning Tsonga in Metz|
|Liverpool enjoying best start in 57 years after PSG win|
|Galatasaray 3 Lokomotiv Moscow 0: Terim´s side make light work of Russians|
|Club Brugge 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Super sub Pulisic scores late winner|
|Schalke 1 Porto 1: Fahrmann saves one penalty, but Otavio scores another|
|Red Star Belgrade 0 Napoli 0: Points shared as Italians fail to make possession pay|
|Liverpool 3 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Firmino strikes late as Reds edge five-goal thriller|
|Monaco 1 Atletico Madrid 2: Costa and Gimenez seal comfortable win|
|Chaos reigns in Serie B as league denies suspension claim|
|India secure Asia Cup victory despite valiant Hong Kong effort|
|Messi makes "extraordinary routine", says Valverde after Barca star surpasses Ronaldo|
|Spalletti´s Inter to take heart from Tottenham turnaround|
|Casillas features in landmark 20th Champions League campaign|
|Spurs deserved more from best performance of the season - Pochettino|
|Brown absent from Steelers facility on Monday due to ´personal matter´|
|Toronto´s Bussey given eight-match biting ban|
|Barcelona 4 PSV 0: Marvellous Messi lights up Camp Nou|
|Inter 2 Tottenham 1: Icardi, Vecino complete dramatic late turnaround|
|Allegri, Chiellini defend Costa over spitting ban|
|Firmino only fit enough for bench duty|
|Kovac applauds Sanches ahead of Benfica homecoming|
|Tomlin confirms Steelers WR Brown was absent from facility on Monday|
|Mourinho tells United to follow Federer´s lead amid Young Boys pitch concerns|
|Costa banned for four Serie A matches for spitting|
|PGA Tour announces changes to FedEx Cup Playoffs format|
|Rashford to start against Young Boys, Mourinho confirms|
|Ryder Cup heading to Congressional in 2036|
|I never listen to stupid things - De Gea unconcerned by criticism|
|Aguero trains as Mendy sits out Man City session|
|Lampard fined after accepting improper conduct charge|
|Serie B suspended after Pro Vercelli win appeal|
|Mitchell returns to England as defence coach|
|Brady completes Cornet upset in Guangzhou|
|Lopetegui giving no guarantees to ´fighter´ Navas|
|Di Francesco denies racially abusing Costa|
|Saunders apologises for ´sickening´ online video|
|Tianjin Quanjian 0 Kashima Antlers 3 (0-5 agg): Semi-final spot booked in resounding fashion|