Man United stars praise David De Gea -- but is he the club's best ever keeper?
Manchester United's record-breaking winning streak under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer survived its first tough test as the resurgent Red Devils scored just before half-time and then clung on to register a 1-0 win over Tottenham on Sunday.
Spurs failed to lodge a single shot on target in the first half but the second was an entirely different story as the home side attacked in relentless waves, peppering United's goal again and again in search of an equaliser.
However, Mauricio Pochettino's side had the misfortune of coming up against David De Gea in full "none shall pass" mode, with the Spain goalkeeper making no less than 11 exemplary saves over the course of the evening to deny Harry Kane and co.
Indeed, Kane alone rattled off seven shots during the match. The last time he attempted more without finding the back of the net (8) was against United last January.
It subsequently proved to be only the second back-to-back clean sheet that United have kept so far this campaign, having only managed to do so twice in their first 20 matches.
Only once has De Gea made more saves in a single Premier League match, when thwarting Arsenal 14 times -- thus equalling the league record -- in a memorably defiant performance at the Emirates in December 2017.
11 - David de Gea made 11 saves for Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur today; the most saves he's made in a top-flight league match without conceding a goal. Unbeatable. #TOTMUN pic.twitter.com/r7xYnHzalv— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) 13 January 2019
"There's maybe one or two fantastic saves and the rest was about concentration and being in the right position," Solskjaer said after the match.
"We've had some great keepers at this club and I think he's challenging Edwin [van der Sar] and Peter [Schmeichel] for the No. 1 spot historically."
High, high praise indeed. De Gea is ranked at No. 1 among the world's goalkeepers in the ESPN FC 100 -- but is he Manchester United's greatest ever goalkeeper?
United's other players were suitably thankful for his superb stonewall performance -- which was enough to earn De Gea a flawless 10/10 in ESPN FC's player ratings -- against Tottenham, with several teammates expressing their gratitude on social media after the match.
Luke Shaw kicked off by sharing a cartoon of De Gea pulling down the shutters in front of his goal while declaring it "closed on Sunday."
After De Gea himself had celebrated a "perfect night" at Wembley on Twitter, compatriot Juan Mata piped up to joke that it was actually a fairly standard shift for such a phenomenal 'keeper.
Nah... average. 🙄 https://t.co/eKyibcUBkn— Juan Mata García (@juanmata8) 13 January 2019
Ander Herrera quite literally tipped his hat to De Gea by adding the requisite emoji to an Instagram story.
Marcus Rashford, who scored the decisive goal in United's narrow win, was also lost for words and had to allow his emojis to do the talking.
✋🏻🤚🏻🔥 @D_DeGea— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) 13 January 2019
United youngster Andreas Pereira was quick to salute United's "GOAT" between the sticks, but held deference for Emilio Alvarez, the club's goalkeeping coach.
Paul Pogba celebrated with a photo of himself but made sure to pay tribute to De Gea in his accompanying caption by tagging him and quipping that he "didn't really know what to say".
This being professional football, of course there were grumbling critics and naysayers out there unable to simply enjoy the sight of a goalkeeper keeping an entire attack at bay on his lonesome again and again.
Thankfully, Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster was on hand to pipe up in defence of his contemporary.
I see a lot of people saying all De Gea saves were straight at him, please factor in that the guy has some mad sense to know where to be at just the right time, you can't teach that. Proper goally 👏— Ben Foster (@BenFoster) 13 January 2019
Elsewhere, we were also treated to a fine new addition to the grand pantheon of #DaveSaves memes.
Is there anything this guy can't save?