Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Van the man for United

Manchester United man-mountain Edwin van der Sar created a double slice of Premier League history on Tuesday as United smashed West Brom 5-0.

Van der Sar set a new individual record for the most minutes without conceding a goal when he surpassed Chelsea star Petr Cech's tally of 1,025 during the demolition job at The Hawthorns.

And if that wasn't enough for van der Sar he also clocked up an 11th successive clean sheet, beating the record set by Chelsea four years ago.

It's a remarkable achievement when you consider this season's Premier League will go down as the most competitive on record. Add to that the crippling injury list at Old Trafford and Edwin certainly comes out with more than a bit of credit.

Rio Ferdinand, who returned ahead of schedule from a back complaint against the Baggies, said: "Edwin is the best keeper I've played with. It's as simple as that.

"The record, the stuff we've won together, the assuredness that he transmits from himself to the back four, is great.

"I also don't think I've seen a better keeper with his feet to be honest either. He's got an extra year in terms of his contract and I am sure he's got the capabilities to go and do it again."

Ferdinand, Wes Brown and Patrice Evra have all been out of action for United over the last few months, but it's not fazed van der Sar who has been as solid as ever.

Fabio and Rafael de Silva along with Johnny Evans have filled in admirably and fired United into pole position in the Premier League and with the bookies, with United now football odds of 1.5 to retain their crown.

Van der Sar has in fact kept 15 cleansheets in the Premier League, however Nemanja Vidic has also been a massive part of United's defensive stability with the Serbian missing just one league game this campaign.

And Sir Alex only last week paid tribute to the former Spartak Moscow man saying he was 'as hard as nails' after the 1-0 win over Wigan.

By Phil Tomlinson, a professional sports writer who blogs about football and football betting.

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