Illan Meslier makes declaration about his Leeds United saves as 'keeper sits top of the charts

Illan Meslier has made the most saves in the division - and Leeds United’s young French keeper doesn’t care how he saves them.

By Lee Sobot
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 8:28 am

Meslier has continually been towards the top of the charts this season when it comes to the Premier League goalkeepers to have made the most stops.

Manchester United custodian David de Gea briefly took over in pole position last month but Meslier made another three saves in Sunday's hugely important 2-1 victory against Norwich City - including a crucial stop in very unsual fashion in the eighth minute of added time.

Leeds looked to have had a precious victory snatched away from them in the 91st minute as Meslier was beaten by Kenny McLean who converted Teemu Pukki's cross to cancel out Rodrigo's 14th-minute opener.

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TOP STOPPER: Leeds United's 22-year-old French 'keeper Illan Meslier who has made the most saves in the division. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.

Incredibly, just three minutes later, United went back in front, Joe Gelhardt sending Elland Road wild when smashing home from Raphinha's pull back.

Yet without an even later intervention from Meslier, the Canaries would have drawn level again in the 96th minute only for the French stopper to keep out a rising Teemu Pukki effort - with his face.

Norwich even had Meslier's opposite number Tim Krul up in the box as they looked to net from a late free kick but whilst Krul managed to set up Pukki's chance, Meslier was not for passing.

His save was hardly the most conventional stop - but does not bother United's 21-year-old custodian who says the most important thing is purely continuing to keep shots.

Pressed not just on Gelhardt's winner but then his own match winning intervention two minutes later, Meslier smiled: "It's true.

"In one of the last balls there was a flick on from the keeper in the box and a difficult ball and finally I stayed big.

"No 22 - Pukki - shot and I saved it with my face.

"I don't care if it's the hands, the face, the chest, it's a save, this is what's important!"

The stop proved Meslier's 111th save of the season, six more than Red Devils keeper De Gea.

Wolves stopper Jose Sa is next on 97 saves, even ahead of Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel.

Meslier and Sa will come face to face on Friday night in United's next assignment away at Wolves but the only ranking that ultimately matters is United's place in the Premier League table which was given a huge boost via Sunday's epic victory.

"It was an unbelievable game," said Meslier.

"Honestly, it was crazy because we scored in the first half but after they equalised and at the end you think oh no this is not possible but at the end when Joffy scored it was just unbelievable.

"It was like a volcano eruption. It was fantastic."

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