Penalties are an interesting concept in football, mainly because absolutely everything is in the taker’s favour.
The keeper has to stay on their line so they can’t narrow the angle, the reaction times are minimal and anything stuck firmly into the corner isn’t going to be saved.
Of course it’s nowhere near as simple as that, but you do expect some of the best keepers in the world to at least save one every now and then.
That didn’t happen for Man United tonight as Villarreal scored 11 straight penalties, while there were times when de Gea had essentially lay down and invited the taker to just slot it in the other corner.
It’s so easy to second-guess every decision after a major defeat, but just let this stat sink in for a second:
? David De Gea has conceded the last ??????-??? penalties he has faced
? He hasn’t saved one since April 23rd 2016… pic.twitter.com/QSxoeGVlt3
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 26, 2021
That is a staggering level of ineptitude at the highest level, and it raises some serious questions about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his decision-making.
He had multiple subs available late in the game as he cunningly decided to avoid going for the win and keeping the pressure up by settling for penalties instead, so he brought on Alex Telles and Juan Mata who took a kick.
If he’s aware enough to make those changes he should also have the data available to say that he would have a greater chance of winning by bringing on Dean Henderson, but that is what makes the difference between a decent manager and a great one.