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David de Gea and Peter Schmeichel Man Utd clean sheet records compared

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David De Gea earned himself a slice of Manchester United history at Elland Road, as he kept his 178th clean sheet for the Red Devils.

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That is a remarkable number in itself, but it also puts him level with club legend Peter Schmeichel at the top of the club’s all-time list.

Few probably would have predicted it given his shaky start at the club in 2011, but Sir Alex Ferguson always had total faith in the Spaniard and that has now been fully justified – if it hadn’t already been.

David De Gea had the unenviable task of replacing Edwin van der Sar at Man Utd. The dutchman had given Man Utd plenty of warning and speculation had rumbled on all season about who would take over between the sticks.

De Gea had earned the nickname ‘Van der Gea’ for Atletico Madrid due to his similarity to Man Utd’s outgoing goalkeeper, and he duly signed in June 2011 for a fee of £18.9m, which was a British record for a goalkeeper at the time.

His early days at Man Utd were blighted by criticisms of his ability to deal with aerial balls, and after an October defeat to Blackburn, those doubts were widespread. He was not concerned though, saying at the time: “All keepers make mistakes once in a while and none of us like it when we do.

“I have every intention of spending many years here at Manchester United. I want to become a great United keeper and I want to earn and deserve the respect I hope to get.

“Hopefully, I will equal or even surpass the performance and contribution Edwin van der Sar made to the club.”

De Gea was good to his word on both counts, with Van der Sar keeping 129 clean sheets for Man Utd, albeit in a more trophy-laden time and from fewer appearances.

He won a Premier League title in 2012/13 and a year later he had put almost all the previous doubts to bed, although former Man Utd captain Roy Keane has remained a stanch critic over his consistency.

De Gea has not enjoyed the same trophy count as his predecessors, but he has an FA Cup, a League Cup and a Europa League to his name too.

Peter Schmeichel is a tough bar to reach, in all fairness. He was the first real goalkeeping superstar of the Premier League era and his contribution to Man Utd is legendary.

The Dane won five Premier League titles, three FA Cups, a League Cup and a Champions league with Man Utd. He was a crucial part of the treble-winning side in 1998/99 as well as the team that won two domestic doubles before that.

Schmeichel played a total of 398 games for Man Utd before leaving for Sporting CP, which really highlights how well he did to reach his 178 clean sheets.

De Gea has had more longevity and reached 178 clean sheets in his 520th appearance for the Red Devils.

That number of games puts him in the top ten for most appearances for Man Utd too, which is incredible in itself.

The list of most clean sheets for Man Utd is certainly an exclusive one and, as you would expect it is dominated by players from the Premier League era.

Man Utd legend Alex Stepney is also on there, as is Gary Bailey, who played for the Red Devils in the late 70s and early 80s.

Man Utd clean sheets (All competitions)

Peter Schmeichel

178

David de Gea

178

Alex Stepney

174

Gary Bailey

161

Edwin van der Sar

129

Correct as of 12 February, 2023

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