Manchester United are back in Champions League action this week and are in dire need of points after losing their opening group game against Young Boys in Switzerland.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side went into the encounter with Young Boys full of confidence but after two losses in their next three games, the mood is not as upbeat two weeks later.
Villarreal make the trip to Old Trafford on Wednesday – a replay of that agonising Europa League final in May. Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea was at the forefront of criticism that night but the 30-year-old has a golden shot at redemption this week.
De Gea endured a troubling evening in Gdansk, failing to stop Gerard Moreno’s tame opening goal before seeing all 11 of Villarreal’s penalties hit the back of the net. His woes were compounded when his poor penalty was saved by Rulli and the Europa League was subsequently lost.
His indifferent two-season slump resulted in a drop from the Spain national team, with Athletic Club goalkeeper Unai Simon taking his place. De Gea sat on the bench for all six of Spain’s Euro 2020 games but insisted on cutting his holiday short to take part in Manchester United’s pre-season preparations.
That extra dedication seems to have paid off as he has started the 2021/22 season in sparkling form. De Gea was United’s ‘man of the match’ in their third game of the season after pulling off an incredible double save against Wolves.
Three weeks later, he was once again back to his brilliant best as he saved Manchester United’s blushes with a 93rd-minute penalty stop to deny Mark Noble and West Ham a point at the death.
Now, in arguably his best form since 2018, he has the chance to prove his worth when Villarreal come to town. The defeat against Young Boys leaves his side in a precarious situation and what a fairytale it would be for the Spaniard to avenge that horrendous night in Gdansk.