David De Gea’s Goalkeeping Masterclass Against Everton

As I Tweeted on Sunday, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea was absolutely incredible in his team’s 2-1 victory over Everton.

It was the kind of goalkeeping performance you only see once ever few years: The variety of saves, many late in the game, combined with the importance of securing all three points at home as Manchester United, a team in transition, struggle to succeed.

As the Vine below illustrates, there was the Spaniard’s fantastic penalty save — De Gea guessed correctly, diving to his right and parrying the shot well away from danger. And then there was the instinctive save late in the game, sprawling to his right again, followed by the last minute wonder-save, to his left, which is drawing most of the plaudits.

Here’s another look at that last one:

The final save, as I also Tweeted, was reminiscent of this classic stop by Fabien Barthez for the Red Devils years ago:

But there was another save that appeared to be routine that also stood out to me because of the agility it took for De Gea to get down quickly to his right and catch the ball just outside his right foot. Always difficult, and he did it perfectly:

As Eric Steele — the goalkeeping coach when Man U bought De Gea — noted on the BBC yesterday, De Gea not only has all the physical tools, but he’s also extremely even-keeled.

All in all, not bad for a 23-year-old — much less one who many pundits and fans said, after he’d made several errors after his debut, wouldn’t be good enough.

Just think where he’ll be in a a decade, when he’s in his prime.

Sports Thailand

Off Topic: Watch Manchester United’s Michael Carrick and Javier Hernandez Speak Thai

Here’s a follow up to my December post about Man U players and Malaysian potato chips.

The Man U-Southeast Asian advertising synergy continues!

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, I’d really love to watch a debit card advertisement featuring the Red Devils’ midfielder Michael Carrick and fox-in-the-box striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez saying “hello” and “thank you” in Thai, today’s your lucky day.

The video is embedded above and on YouTube here.


Off topic: Did You Say You’d Like to See an Advertisement Featuring Life-Sized Cutouts of Manchester United Players Hawking Malaysian Mister Potato Brand Potato Chips?

Well, then, today’s your lucky day:

2011 12 07 man u mr potato

Spotted this afternoon at Bangkok’s Chidlom BTS Sky Train stop. Thanks to A for the tip.

Yes, that’s the Red Devils’ Park Ji-Sung holding a can of Mister Potato brand chips, flanked by a wai-ing Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney. (More details on the promotion, in case you’re curious, are here.)

Considering my enduring love for both soccer and snack foods, I simply couldn’t resist snapping a photo of this ad.

Regular programming will resume shortly.


More on Man U and AIG

Quick note: remember how I mentioned recently that Manchester United is now, in an odd twist, effectively sponsored by the US government (since the Fed has bailed out AIG)? Well, no more.

The AP says that AIG won’t be renewing the deal. No surprise there.

(Via the New York Times‘s soccer blog, Goal.) ((And thanks to Jon for the heads-up comment on my original post.))


Man U: Now sponsored by the US Fed

There was a time when it bothered me that most Americans don’t appreciate football (soccer). I love the game. I always have. Why, I wondered, doesn’t everyone in the US think it’s the Best Sport Ever Created?

These days, though, I’m not hung up on the issue. As Dave Eggers wrote in his contribution to the excellent book The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup, the game is doing just fine without America. Soccer doesn’t need the United States.

In an interesting twist, however, the US government has now effectively become the official sponsor of Manchester United, perhaps the world’s biggest and most successful soccer club.

How is that, you ask?

Well, in September, 2008, insurance behemoth AIG was given a US$85 billion bailout by the US federal reserve. AIG is Manchester United’s “principal sponsor,” and the AIG logo is emblazoned on the Man U shirt (see above). It’s a four-year deal in which AIG pays Manchester United US$102.9 million in total, or roughly US$25 million per year.

So, here’s some back of the envelope math: Man U pays Cristiano Ronaldo, 2008’s FIFA world player of the year, approximately US$9 million per year in wages as part of a five-year contract. So the AIG money — which now comes from what could be argued is essentially a nationalized US asset — represents almost three times Ronaldo’s yearly salary.

Who’d have seen that coming?

I might have to switch my allegiance from Arsenal to Man U. It would be the patriotic thing to do.