Andre Onana achieves what David de Gea couldn’t on Premier League debut

Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana impressed on his Premier League debut for the club, making a number of saves that preserved a clean sheet in the narrow 1-0 win over Wolves.

Onana, although revered for the technical side of his game that promises to revolutionise the way United play under Erik ten Hag, came under fire in pre-season for failing to keep a clean sheet. The Cameroonian stopper was also mercilessly mocked by rival fans on social media for being lobbed for the halfway line on his Old Trafford bow against Lens earlier in August.

But Monday night’s performance against Wolves was exactly what Onana needed.

The visitors tested United’s new number one (wearing 24) enough to keep him busy without ever making life extremely difficult. There were plenty of saves to make – Pedro Neto fired straight at him, while Fabio Silva had two low shots blocked with feet – but relatively routine ones.

They were saves that Onana would have expected to make and did make, contributing to the win in a significant way and serving to build his confidence following on from a mixed pre-season.


He, of course, rode his luck too. There could have been no argument had his clumsy stoppage time aerial collision with Wolves substitute Sasa Kalajdzic resulted in a penalty kick, but the officiating team waved away the appeals even after a lengthy VAR check.

It was arguably the slice of fortune his performance over the preceding 94 minutes deserved.

Back in 2011, David de Gea was also on the winning side against west midlands opposition for his Premier League debut as United travelled to West Brom. But the Spaniard didn’t preside over a clean sheet thanks to a Shane Long goal scored near the end of the first half.

Edwin van der Sar kept a clean sheet on his Premier League debut for United in 2005 – a 2-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park – but not his first ever Premier League match when he lined up for Fulham at Old Trafford in 2001 and conceded three times in a five-goal thriller.

Peter Schmeichel kept a clean sheet on his league debut for United in a 2-0 win over Notts County on the opening day of the 1991/92 season, although Sheffield United’s Brian Deane famously scored the very first goal of the newly formed Premier League era past the legendary Dane the following year.

Next up for Onana and United is a trip to Tottenham on Saturday.

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