So Manchester United beat Liverpool at Anfield despite not playing well, both sets of fans behave dignified, Robin van Persie bags the winner from the spot and Manchester City drop points at home to Arsenal. You could say it was almost the perfect day.
Aside from Jonjo Shelvey’s sending-off, United finally putting a penalty away and Steven Gerrard putting in one of his best performances in the last 2-3 years, one of the main talking-points at the start of the game – Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to start Andres Lindegaard – has almost been forgotten.
Despite David De Gea’s impressive performance on Wednesday at home to Galatasaray in the Champions League, Sir Alex opted to keep Lindegaard behind the sticks. Maybe the Spaniard’s poor performance at Anfield in last season’s FA Cup tie between the sides influenced his decision. Either way the Dane started and didn’t let the side down.
Yes he failed to parry out Luis Suarez’s cross in the first-half, forcing first Rafael and then Jonny Evans to clear the ball away from goal, but in his 16 appearances for the club Lindegaard has done what he has needed to do and has come across as a safe and reliable goalkeeper. Has he ever looked nervous? Nope.
Whilst it is far from ideal that the club doesn’t have a first-choice goalkeeper, there is no harm in having two top goalkeepers compete for the jersey. They both want to play and there’s no doubt that the challenge is helping them to bring out the best in each other and that’s not a bad thing by any means.
Of course going forward in the season, there will come a time sooner rather than later when a decision will have to be made. The odds are that probably De Gea will solidify his place in the team and hold onto the jersey.
Lindegaard appears to be the type of character who won’t be happy on the bench long-term; he has ambitions and will push De Gea all the way in training.
What he has to continue to do is impress when he plays or he will fade away in the background and just be known as ‘that Danish keeper at United’ and for someone who has the talent to be Denmark’s first-choice goalkeeper for the next 6-8 years, being just that simply wouldn’t be good enough for someone with such high standards. After all he hasn’t come here to just pick his nose has he?
By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87