Andre Onana – Do the numbers back up the criticism?

By Sports Desk November 30, 2023

Andre Onana failed to deal with two Hakim Ziyech free-kicks as Manchester United threw away a two-goal lead against Galatasaray on Wednesday night.

It was the latest Champions League drama for the much-scrutinised goalkeeper and here, the PA news agency looks at his United record.

Champions League roller coaster

The 3-3 draw in Istanbul followed a 3-2 defeat in the first meeting with Gala and 4-3 losses to Bayern Munich and FC Copenhagen as United, top scorers in Champions League Group A, prop up the standings.

That contributes to Onana’s record of 33 goals conceded in 20 games since Erik ten Hag signed him from Inter Milan this summer to replace long-serving keeper David De Gea.

He has conceded only 16 in 13 Premier League appearances – a slight improvement on De Gea’s record under Ten Hag at the same stage of last season, when he had conceded 18 – but remarkably has topped that in only seven appearances in other competitions, which also include a 3-0 Carabao Cup loss to Newcastle.

By this date last season, United had conceded 25 goals in 21 games in all competitions – De Gea accounting for 23 in 20, albeit with his European appearances coming in the Europa League. Martin Dubravka was in goal for the 4-2 League Cup win over Aston Villa.

One extreme or the other

Onana has seven clean sheets with United, including a stoppage-time penalty save in the 1-0 home win over Copenhagen, but has conceded three or more on eight occasions – De Gea did so only six times the whole of last season, though they included losing 6-3 to Manchester City and 7-0 to Liverpool.

United have this season lost league games 3-1 to Arsenal and Brighton and 3-0 to City, in addition to the Newcastle tie and the four Champions League games.

Eight games represent 40 per cent of Onana’s United appearances to date, while De Gea conceded three or more in less than 10 per cent of games over his 12 years at Old Trafford.

That ‘one extreme or the other’ approach this season leaves only five exceptions in which United have conceded either once or twice. They have four clean sheets and have conceded three or four in their other four games since beating Sheffield United 2-1 on October 21.

How Onana compares

De Gea won last season’s Premier League Golden Glove with 17 clean sheets and conceded 43 goals in 38 games, an average of 1.13 per game.

Onana’s current rate of 1.23 would equate to 46.77 goals over the full league season – only twice have United conceded 47 or more, 54 in 2018-19 and 57 in 2021-22.

De Gea was ever-present in the league for both of those seasons, comfortably United’s worst in the Premier League era. In 2018-19 they conceded 72 in 51 games in all competitions, an average of 1.41 per game.

Last season, Ten Hag’s first in charge, United conceded 63 goals in 62 games overall – 1.02 per game. De Gea was ever-present apart from four Carabao Cup games shared between Dubravka and Tom Heaton.

In mitigation for Onana, United have allowed more shots on target this season while dealing with injuries in defence. The Cameroon international has made 51 saves in 13 league games, already halfway to De Gea’s tally of 101 in 38 last term and averaging 3.9 per game, up from 2.7.

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