Last night, Manchester United lost 3-0 at Newcastle. Man United played uninspired football, and Newcastle were able to capitalize with two well-taken goals and an own goal that was a product of defensive inefficiency.
On both goals by Newcastle, Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye's goals were absolutely fantastic strikes that very few goalkeepers could have stopped.
Of course, United's defense did not put in a strong performance and there was very little creativity in the attack.
This could prove to be the most important match of the season for the Red Devils. A failure to win would mean that United will have lost three consecutive matches.
If United were to lose, it would also be another loss to Man City, who demolished United 6-1 at Old Trafford back in October. Last April, City defeated United at Wembley in the FA Cup semifinal, putting the Citizens one step closer to their first trophy in 35 years.
To put it simply, this is a matchup that Manchester United cannot afford to lose. However, with no true No. 1 keeper and a team that needs a win, this is going to be a difficult decision to say the least.
Both of the team's keepers, David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard, lost their last starts, and each has major problems that they will need to fix soon.
There are also reasons why each of the keepers should start.
In the case of de Gea, he was signed in an expensive transfer over the summer and came here to start matches just like this one.
Within the next few years, he will be the No. 1 keeper at Old Trafford and is destined for greatness.
Also, de Gea has faced City already. Even though he did give up a humiliating six goals, he has at least faced Man City before and understands their shooters more than Lindegaard does.
The last three of the goals that de Gea conceded were due to his team quitting on him, and de Gea did not quit despite the disappointing result.
Despite being billed as overmatched, de Gea still has 56 saves in the Premier League this season (the ninth most in the EPL) and has five clean sheets (tied for eighth in the league).
Meanwhile, Lindegaard has been a little more consistent then de Gea. Lindegaard had five straight clean sheets to start the year before losing last night at Newcastle.
In each of his previous five matches, Lindegaard was fairly consistent and had a strong grip of the defense.
Even though it appeared when he was first signed that Lindegaard would be a backup keeper, the Dane has played well and is worthy of playing at the top level.
Now Lindegaard did not play his best against Newcastle, but the first two goals were shots that very few keepers would have gotten, and the third was just an awful goal that was a result of a horrible miscommunication.
Who should start at Man City?
Now, both of these keepers provide Sir Alex Ferguson with a very difficult decision. Both keepers have provided subpar performances during their previous matches, and now United will face the toughest club in England.
No matter who the keeper is, this could easily be his defining moment with Manchester United. If the keeper puts together a phenomenal performance, he will always be remembered and cherished for his work.
But if the keeper lets in a weak goal or has a subpar performance, he might find himself out of favor for a while.
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