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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

De Gea sensational saves not enough for MOTM award

Five things we learned from the weekend

David De Gea was sensational for Manchester United
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1 Man of the match betting is fraught with pitfalls

David de Gea put forward his strong claims to be the best goalkeeper in the world with a sensational performance for Manchester United in their win at Arsenal but his 14 saves were not enough to collect the man of the match award from BT Sport's Steve McManaman.

Instead, the pundit went for Jesse Lingard, scorer of two United goals in the 3-1 success. But his first was laid on thanks to a beautiful assist from Anthony Martial while the second was all about the brilliance of Paul Pogba before his red card.

De Gea kept Arsenal down to one goal despite Opta's expected goals rating for the hosts of 4.92, while even more conservative goal maps still had the Gunners at over 4.5 goals.

It was a one-man masterclass at times from De Gea, who somehow saw Lingard walk away with the MOTM award in one of the worst pieces of sports TV since Ortis Deley's disastrously brief stint as the athletics anchor for Channel 4.

All it needed was for McManaman, when announcing his decision, to say: Jesse Lingard... goodnight! 

2 Clement feeling the heat
Swansea hit rock-bottom in the Premier League after their defeat at Stoke and Premier League sack-race favourite Paul Clement does not look as if he is able to turn things around.

Clement was downbeat following the game and his statements of "we deserve to be bottom" and "we are not playing well enough" paint a picture of a man who may well have given up.

Saturday's home game with West Brom is massive and if Swansea don't win there could well be another top-flight managerial change.

3 Blunt Blades missing Coutts
For the second match running Sheffield United managed only two shots on target and their 3-1 loss to Millwall suggests Chris Wilder's men are beginning to fill the pinch in the Sky Bet Championship promotion race.

Billy Sharp was dropped to the bench on Saturday but the bigger issue could be in midfield where a recent serious injury to Paul Coutts has had a major impact on the balance of the side.

It is perhaps interesting to note that the Blades won ten of their last 11 matches of last season and the one they failed - a 1-1 draw at Oldham - was the only time Coutts missed out on a starting berth.

4 No magic wand for Edinburgh
A new manager and new hope for National League strugglers Leyton Orient but Justin Edinburgh will have seen first hand the job he has taken after the east London outfit lost 1-0 at Solihull Moors despite having nearly half the crowd in attendance.

The travelling fans turned on the team at the full-time whistle with chants of "You're not fit to wear the shirt" as Orient's winless league run stretched to 15 matches.

Edinburgh has spoken of Orient being the biggest club in the league but reports suggest they were once again outplayed on Saturday.

5 Beautiful game is alive and well
Europe's worst ever side in a top league finally got their first point on the board and such were the circumstances with their equaliser it was almost worth the wait as Benevento drew 2-2 with Milan in their 15th Serie A game of the campaign thanks to an injury-time leveller.

Their goalscoring hero was none other than keeper Alberto Brignoli, whose flying header sparked wild scenes of jubilation to prove the beautiful game of football is alive and well.

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if Swansea don't win there could well be another top-flight managerial change
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