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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Van der Sar, one of the best players for Ferguson

Manchester United's veteran Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has been attracting a plethora of snowballing plaudits due to his role in keeping opposition attacks frustrated, stifled, and kept at bay every Saturday.

By keeping his sheet clean during the 5-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion on January 27 - United's 11th successive shut-out (1032 minutes) - the 38-year old had ensured the club smashed Chelsea's previous Premier League record of ten straight clean sheets (1027 minutes).

The following 1-0 victory over Everton then broke a further record, eclipsing Reading's Steve Death's notable feat of going 1,104 minutes unbeaten.

One has to sift back through 12 league fixtures to find at the time Edwin van der Sar was last beaten and, just like London buses, two goals came at once as Frenchman Samir Nasri bagged a brace during the 2-1 victory in early November at Arsenal's north London Emirates Stadium.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson hailed the Edwin effect in his Everton clash programme notes.

"The record has left Edwin revelling in a personal achievement that seems to be giving him as much pleasure as all the many honours he has won with Ajax and Juventus, as well as earning 123 caps with Holland," the passage read.

He continued, "It’s his great experience, allied to youthful enthusiasm, that marks him out as a very special goalkeeper."

Sir Alex though was quick to attribute the feat equally to the rearguard that sits in front and helps protect van der Sar's net, even though injuries have meant that Ferguson has had to field alternative defences with almost every match-day.

"The defensive record is remarkable because this is the part of the side that has been most affected in recent weeks by injury," Ferguson stated.

He finally said: "Everyone has rallied round."

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