Keylor Navas vs David de Gea: their seasons compared
After the non-transfer fiasco last summer, Keylor has had a generally impressive year with Real Madrid but the young Spaniard in Manchester may still threaten his place soon. [Video with Spanish commentary]
They're undoubtedly two of the most in-form goalkeepers in world football. Keylor Navas and David De Gea are currently doing their best to keep the ball from hitting the back of their nets at different clubs in different leagues...but their locations could have easily been so different. If only multi-million euro businesses like football clubs had moved on to more modern technology for communication.
And decisions about their futures need to be put to bed and neither of them are letting up with their performances to make that any simpler. Within seven days we've seen the Madrid number one prove his excellence in the league against Sevilla and the Spanish number one (in most people's minds) shine against Italy, and get high praise from the national manager, Del Bosque.
So, a direct comparative analysis could help with the possible dilemma faced by club suits come the summer, and with both players having played in the same number of minutes - over three thousand - now is as good a time as ever to have a look.
In the head to head, the Costa Rican would appear to have the edge. Keylor has conceded 11 less goals than De Gea (25 v 34) and although has made fewer saves (91 v 96) he has actually faced a lower number of shots (112 v 130). This means that the current Madrid player has a better percentage of saves to shots: 78.6% in comparison to 73.1% for De Gea. And when analysing where the goals are coming from, Navas gets another nod. He is almost unbeatable for those taking pot-shots from outside the area with 95% of them being stopped (only Claudio Bravo has a better record in LaLiga at 97%). David isn't too shabby either, however, has a slightly lower rate of 89%.
Penalties are a measure valued greatly by goalkeepers as these are more individual and here again Navas proves stronger. He has prevented three of the four faced during this period, most recently against Sevilla. If we widen this analysis to his full LaLiga resumé only seven of the fifteen penalties he's stood against have resulted in goals - five saved and three missed the target. That's a 47% success rate for the penalty takers which compares exceptionally well against the league average of 75%.
On the same topic, De Gea has saved just one of the four he has faced. Unfortunately for him, his Manchester United teammates fell asleep following that save against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, and Doumbi knocked in the rebound.
Let's not get away from the fact, however, that David De Gea is having an incredible season for Manchester United. He has just been voted player of the month by the clubs fans and has been their player of the year for the past two seasons. Many commentators agree that without him, a very much underperforming United side would have been in an even worse situation than they currently find themselves. In their recent Europa League tie against Liverpool, the Spanish stopper gave the team a fighting chance for the home second leg after keeping a potential rout at Anfield to an acceptable 2-0 defeat.
On balance it would appear that Keylor has the advantage but it is clear that the stats only give us clues to performances and in a team game, especially in leagues of different competitiveness and intensity, many other influencing factors are at play. What we do know is that these are two keepers in top form and Real Madrid will have to make up their mind if they are to make any further attempts to change their number one.