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Yet another De Gea disasterclass leaves Man Utd needing a top-four miracle

1:40 AM MYT 29/04/2019
David de Gea Manchester United 2018-19
The under-fire Spanish goalkeeper made yet another costly error to gift Chelsea a point and a significant advantage in the race for the top four

From invincible to atrocious, Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea currently finds himself in his worst form since his debut season at the club eight years ago.

The Spanish goalkeeper made another barely believable error in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Sunday, with his mistake all but ensuring the Red Devils will not play Champions League football next season.

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side hitting their stride for the first time in several weeks, leading an aimless Chelsea and dominating the game, De Gea dropped a clanger which gifted the visitors a point.

The draw leaves United sixth, three points behind Chelsea in fourth - and with a far inferior goal difference - with just two games to go. A string of errors in recent matches from the goalkeeper has buried their hopes of staying in Europe’s elite competition.

This was, per Opta, De Gea’s third error leading to a goal in his last four games, across all competitions - as many as in the 123 matches he played previously. His form has fallen off a cliff, taking United’s ambitions with it.

This season’s Champions League dream was also dashed against the rocks at Camp Nou when De Gea allowed Lionel Messi’s tame low drive to go through him and dribble in, an outrageous and inexplicable handling error.

His mistake two minutes before half-time against Chelsea was almost as bad, spilling Antonio Rudiger’s hopeful long-range drive, with Marcos Alonso gleefully pouncing on the loose ball to level.

Manchester United fans by the tunnel vocally backed De Gea as he walked in at the interval, but the Spaniard’s mortified expression betrayed his current level of self-confidence.

The goalkeeper, included in the PFA team of the year in each of the four seasons before this one, has blundered against Arsenal, Barcelona, Everton and Manchester City over the past few weeks.

After a dismal World Cup with Spain in which he was criticised after making just one save in the entire tournament, letting in six goals from seven shots on target, De Gea has not recovered.

What to do with his goalkeeper is a huge problem for Solskjaer to solve ahead of next season, but far from the only one.

This draw with Chelsea doesn’t make the future of Romelu Lukaku any easier.

While some at Old Trafford would be happy to see the back of the Belgian striker, his sublime pass to Luke Shaw helped United break the deadlock.

The defender crossed for Juan Mata to net against his former side - with the Spanish playmaker also poised to leave this summer on a free transfer.

Lukaku, who has openly courted interest from Serie A with both Inter and AC Milan linked, put himself in the shop window with an eye-catching display.

There will be plenty of comings and goings this summer and with just one year left on his deal, De Gea poses a perplexing puzzle.

Can United resurrect him after this harrowing end to the season? Will he want to stay at the club? Who could possibly afford him?

“Yes,” said Solskjaer confidently before the game, asked if Manchester United would finish in the top four if they beat Chelsea, but he didn't bank on another De Gea giveaway.

The coach was ebullient regarding De Gea before the game, showing his faith in the club’s four-time player of the season. It didn’t pay off.