Goal-line technology’s hitherto unforeseen fallibility was the immediate talking point upon Wednesday’s Premier League return.
Slack host goalkeeper Orjan Nyland was the luckiest man at a deserted Villa Park when a technological error, not witnessed in more than 9,000 previous matches under Hawk-Eye’s glare, saved him from the humiliation of carrying Oliver Norwood’s 42nd-minute free-kick over his line.
This goalless draw between Aston Villa and Sheffield United, however, also bore witness to a more-enduring image; the burgeoning brilliance of Dean Henderson.
An 11th clean sheet of a meritorious campaign – equal to Liverpool’s Alisson – could be cast as applying added pressure to parent-club Manchester United. This game should, though, be viewed as a microcosm of why a third loan stint with the Blades for 2020/21 is the right call for all involved.
At the opposite end of the park, and talent spectrum, to the consistently hapless Nyland, the England prospect did his blossoming reputation no harm.
The 23-year-old’s lightning-fast reactions had not been dulled by 100 days of inactivity. His startling near-post save from the willing Keinan Davis, instead, provided another example of a shot stopper on the verge of joining the game’s elite.
Comparisons with Old Trafford’s resident No1, David De Gea, are favourable to the usurper.
The Spain international’s three errors leading to goals is two more than his understudy. This disparity also showcases a startling assuredness of the junior party, whose sterling recovery is laudable from high-profile mistakes for England at June’s European Under-21 Championship and at Liverpool in September.
Henderson also, according to official Premier League statistics, has the upper hand for; goals conceded (22/30), save-success percentage (77.6/71.7), punches (11/7), high claims (16/5) and sweeper clearances (five/three).
But it is incorrect to cast Henderson as sole saviour for the promoted upstarts. They represent a