January 24, 2011

Edwin Van Der Sar - Super Stopper

Report by Nick Coppack - www.manutd.com                           

Goals against: 18 in 24 apps (0.74 avg)
Clean sheets: 12 in 24 apps (50%)
Any other GKGoals against: 11 in 9 apps (1.22 avg)
Clean sheets: 4 in 9 apps (44%)
Since 2008/09
EdwinGoals against: 75 in 102 apps (0.73 avg)
Clean sheets: 59 in 101 apps (58%)
Any other GKGoals against: 48 in 53 apps (0.90 avg)
Clean sheets: 22 in 53 apps (41%)

Edwin van der Sar kept his 12th clean sheet of the season against Birmingham City on Saturday.

The Dutchman, now 40, looked as nimble as ever, and the Stretford End chanted his name numerous times throughout the match. He even played a key role in Dimitar Berbatov's third goal, clearing acrobatically and accurately to Rooney before the Bulgarian finishe dthe move.

Van der Sar's performance almost made a mockery of recent rumours suggesting he's set to hang up his gloves at the end of the season. Like Ryan Giggs, he looks like he could play on for at least another year.

But whether or not Edwin does hang up his gloves at the end of this season or next, one thing’s certain: when he does he’ll be sorely missed. United may be synonymous with free-flowing, attacking football, but the Reds' success in recent years has been built as much on a bedrock of defensive solidity. And that’s where Edwin comes in.

A look at the last three seasons confirms United concede fewer goals and keep more clean sheets when the Dutchman plays.This season the difference is even more pronounced. When Edwin’s played in 2010/11 United have conceded, on average, 0.75 goals per game. When he hasn’t that figure rises to 1.22 goals per game. Read more..