Onana made two costly errors in 3-3 draw with Galatasaray; Man Utd now need to beat Bayern Munich and hope Turkish side draw at Copenhagen on final matchday; Onana has made table-topping four errors leading to shots in Champions League this term but Premier League form remains positive
Saturday 2 December 2023 20:40, UK
Andre Onana made two costly errors in the 3-3 draw with Galatasaray which could cost Manchester United a place in the Champions League knockout stages.
Onana was rooted to the spot when Hakim Ziyech smashed a direct free-kick through his wall after Alejandro Garnacho and Bruno Fernandes had carved a commanding first-half lead.
Scott McTominay restored a two-goal advantage after the break but Onana was at fault again when he failed to hold a tame shot from another Ziyech direct free-kick - before a Kerem Akturkoglu stunner ensured the spoils were shared.
United's new stopper - signed from Inter Milan for £47.2m to replace long-standing No 1 David De Gea in the summer - also committed a howler at Bayern Munich in September and made a dreadful pass which resulted in Casemiro seeing red against Galatasaray at Old Trafford a fortnight later - before falling to ground early as Mauro Icardi netted the late winner.
The Cameroon international helped guide Inter Milan to a Champions League final before his big-money move to Old Trafford but still has a statistical history of underperforming on the European stage - having made seven errors leading to goals in the competition since 2018/19 - more than any other stopper.
Onana has made four mistakes leading to shots during this European campaign alone, according to Opta's official definition of errors - more than any other 'keeper. Of those, two have resulted in goals - no stopper has shipped more.
According to expected goals (xG), United's No 1 should have conceded 11.59 goals but has shipped 14 - which is 2.41 goals more than expected. Only Antwerp goalkeeper Jean Butez has a worse ratio (-3.59), and his side have suffered five straight defeats, shipped 15 goals and been eliminated from the competition.
Onana's tally of 2.41 unnecessary goals conceded equates to shipping 0.48 goals more than expected per 90 minutes - only Butez (-0.90) and Inter Milan stopper Emil Audero (-0.79) have worse ratios, and the latter has played only one game.
But the mystery lies in the Cameroonian's polarised form between haphazard Champions League and solid Premier League performances. Domestically, question marks were raised early in the season after an untidy penalty shout against Wolves but, since then, Onana has impressed between the sticks, keeping a joint-high five clean sheets.
United have ceded more chances than they did last season, meaning Onana has been forced into making nearly four saves per game on average - only three 'keepers have averaged more. He is also faultless - not even making one single mistake leading to a shot.
"If you analyse his game well then you see he's the second-best goalkeeper in the Premier League based on stats. His expected defending goals is the second-best in the Premier League, so he's doing well,. "He knows in the Champions League he's made some mistakes but on the whole, the first five months he's doing particularly well. "You have seen how he reacts to bad performances, like he did after the Bayern Munich game - against Burnley he was outstanding (a 1-0 win on September 23). He's a strong character, a personality and he will deal with it."
Additionally, xG suggests Onana has actually prevented 3.67 goals in the Premier League - only Luton's Thomas Kaminski has prevented more. That total equates to 0.28 goals prevented per 90 minutes - only Kaminski and Neto have better ratios.
Compare that with the Champions League, where Ziyech's first free-kick goal registered a meagre five-per-cent probability of being scored, and his second merely four per cent. The polarised form across competitions appears to have seriously dented United's hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.
Speaking to TNT Sports after the game, Erik ten Hag said: "We are not defending well enough, we are leading 3-1 and you can't afford such mistakes because it makes a difference. These mistakes can't happen. In the Champions League you will get punished and we have to learn from that."
Onana is under the spotlight once again and Ten Hag will be hoping his pass-master 'keeper will snuff out table-topping mistakes on Europe's grand stage ahead of their blockbuster and fate-defining clash with Bayern at Old Trafford in two weeks' time.
United must now beat Bayern on the final matchday and hope Galatasaray draw at Copenhagen to qualify for the knockout phase.
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