Written by Ronan Lee. Check out his blog.
Manchester United’s signing of Robin Van Persie will add to an already formidable strike force at Old Trafford and my hope is a historically impressive pairing with Wayne Rooney. I’m impressed too with Fergie’s summer signing of Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund and feeling more optimistic than last year about our team’s prospects for a super season.
The League is getting more competitive by the year and average goals per match and per season increase annually. United’s record 19th title came courtesy of fewer points than their second place in 2011/12. This makes Fergie’s purchase of extra fire power upfront a shrewd investment and it is also good news we have players like Vidic returning from long-term injury, we really missed him last season.
But there is more to the goal difference equation than goals scored. Equally important is goals conceded.
I like David De Gea as a player, his enthusiasm reminds me of Schmeichel, and in fairness to his performance the statistics for United on goals conceded were the second best in the league just as we were second best too for goals scored last season. But unlike the latter part of the 2011/12 Premier League season where there was significant critique of both de Gea’s performance and United’s defence, Fergie’s summer signings have taken a good deal of attention away from this aspect of the team’s performance last season.
The boss has faith in De Gea and he does make some super saves but certainly during the 2011/12 season he struggled with the physicality required in the Premier League particularly inside a crowded penalty box. Fergie did suggest De Gea needed to gain some bulk to address this and no doubt this was a priority over the summer.
The importance of goal difference to last year’s Premier League outcome means that David De Gea is as important to United’s plans as any of the strikers on the books. A fantastic performance at Goodison Park yesterday should prove the perfect riposte to his critics, who he continues to defy, and will hopefully provide the platform for another season of improvement.