It really has not been a good 18 months for David de Gea.
Once universally considered to be the best goalkeeper in the world, a dramatic dip in form that has coincided with his side collapsing in on themselves, and on the basis of this season, he wouldn’t even rank in the top five.
The latest in a string of high-profile mistakes from the Spanish keeper came in Sunday’s shock 2-0 defeat to Watford. He dropped the ball – literally – and allowed a tame Ismaila Sarr effort to slip through his fingers early in the second half.
Whether it’s a lack of confidence or a deeper-rooted issue is up for debate for the former Spain number one, who has lost his international starting spot to Kepa Arrizabalaga, but one thing is abundantly clear no matter how you look at it – his consistent performance levels are nowhere near what they once were.
And that’s highlighted by a recent offering by stat gurus Opta, who highlighted after the match that this was De Gea’s sixth error leading directly to a goal since the start of the 2018/19 season.
That’s more than any other player in that time.
All that being said, he is of course not the only figure at United not performing to the best of his abilities.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have been woefully inconsistent over the piece, with a double-header of victories over Tottenham and Manchester City – their only instance of successive Premier League victories this season – papering over the cracks somewhat.
Defeat to Watford followed an underwhelming 1-1 draw with Everton, and they slump into eighth in the standings at Christmas.
A Boxing Day clash with Newcastle awaits before a trip to Burnley rounds out what has been a torrid 2019, so De Gea and United will be keen to flush the bad taste out of their mouths and set themselves up well for 2020.