Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has proclaimed that Andre Onana is the second-best goalkeeper in the Premier League. The coach’s comments came after the keeper was once again under fire for a poor performance for the club. Onana has endured a tough freshman season with the Red Devils after completing a $54 million move from Inter Milan in the summer.
The latest blunders by the Cameroon international came during a thrilling 3-3 draw against Galatasaray Wednesday night. United seemed in control after scoring two early goals, but the Turkish hosts eventually roared back to level the game. Onana was at fault for the first two Galatasaray goals in the game. Both incidents involved free kicks by former Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech.
Ten Hag believes his keeper will rebound once again from errors
Despite the series of mistakes, Ten Hag still rates his goalkeeper very highly. The Dutchman still believes that Onana is one of the best shot-stoppers in the English top flight. “If you analyze it well then you see he is the second-best goalkeeper in the Premier League based on stats,” Ten Hag stated during a press conference on Friday.
“He’s doing well but he knows that in the Champions League, he has made some mistakes but all over in the first five months he has done well.”
The United manager also backed Onana to rebound from the terrible performance midweek. “You have seen how he is reacting to a bad performance like in Munich and at Burnley [in the next game] he was outstanding,” continued the coach. “He is a strong character. He’s a personality and he will deal with it.”
The goalkeeper previously made an error leading to a vital goal in Bayern Munich’s 4-3 victory against United in September. However, Onana then kept a clean sheet against Burnley while making four saves just three days later.
Statistics show Onana shines, falls flat
Ten Hag does have a point when looking at certain numbers. According to the statistics website FBref, Onana currently co-leads the Premier League in save percentage and is second in total saves. The Cameroonian keeper’s 79% save rate is currently tied with Liverpool standout Alisson. His 51 top-flight saves are only behind Sheffield United’s Wes Foderingham.
Onana also performs well in post-shot expected goals versus goals allowed in the league. This statistic compares how likely a goalkeeper is expected to make a save in contrast to how many goals the player allows. Onana currently has the second-best figure in this category during Premier League play.
Nevertheless, there are still a few key areas where the United keeper does not excel. For instance, passing has not exactly been Onana’s strong suit so far. The former Inter star was brought in to help the club play out of the back better than David de Gea. However, Onana currently ranks in the bottom 10 of the league in inaccurate short and long passes. He also only posts a 4.6% crosses-stopped rate, which is near the bottom of the league.
Ten Hag and United fans will hope that Onana can put the recent blunders behind them and put in a top performance at the weekend. The Red Devils are set to face Newcastle on Saturday, Dec. 2 in northeast England.
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