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David De Gea in action for United

De Gea's quest for the Golden Glove

In any discussion about who is the best goalkeeper in the world right now, David De Gea is always among the first names that spring to mind.

The imperious Spaniard has long established himself as Manchester United’s no.1 between the sticks and has firmly cemented his place as his country’s first-choice keeper ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Russia.

Even those who aren’t of a United persuasion would struggle to argue against the statement that De Gea is currently the best in the business and the stopper has been in supreme form once again this season, making some remarkable world-class saves.

We are running out of superlatives to describe De Gea, who has set his sights on adding to his Player of the Month prize at United for February with the ultimate accolade for a Premier League goalkeeper – the Golden Glove, awarded for the most clean sheets in a single season.

De Gea = SuperhumanVideo

The Reds' custodian recently spoke of his desire to land the prize, which has only been running since the 2004/05 season but has surprisingly eluded the 27-year-old so far in his United career since arriving at Old Trafford in the summer of 2011.

De Gea is currently leading the way but it’s a close-run thing and could go down to the final game of the season. As we approach the business end of the campaign, we assess the current state of play featuring the top six contenders in the battle to claim the coveted award…

1. DAVID DE GEA (Manchester United)
PL appearances this season: 30
PL clean sheets: 15

Remaining PL fixtures:
31 March: v Swansea City H
7 April: v Manchester City A
15 April: v West Bromwich Albion H
18 April: v Bournemouth A
29 April: v Arsenal H
5 May (TBC): v Brighton A
13 May: v Watford H
TBC: v West Ham United A

2. EDERSON (Manchester City)
PL appearances this season: 30
PL clean sheets: 14

Remaining PL fixtures:
31 March: v Everton A
7 April: v Manchester United H
14 April: v Tottenham Hotspur A
22 April: v Swansea City H
29 April: v West Ham United A
5 May (TBC): v Huddersfield Town H
13 May: v Southampton A

3. THIBAUT COURTOIS (Chelsea)
PL appearances this season: 29
PL clean sheets: 13

Remaining PL fixtures:
1 April: v Tottenham Hotspur H
8 April: v West Ham United H
14 April: v Southampton A
19 April: v Burnley A
28 April: v Swansea City A
5 May (TBC): v Liverpool H
13 May: v Newcastle United A
TBC: v Huddersfield Town H

3. HUGO LLORIS (Tottenham Hotspur)
PL appearances this season: 28
PL clean sheets: 13

Remaining PL fixtures:
1 April: v Chelsea A
7 April: v Stoke City A
14 April: v Manchester City H
17 April: v Brighton A
30 April: v Watford H
5 May (TBC): v West Bromwich Albion A
13 May: v Leicester City H
TBC: v Newcastle United H

Antonio Valencia scores past Petr Cech in United's 3-1 win over Arsenal in December 2017.
Cech had no chance of keeping a clean sheet when United beat Arsenal 3-1 back in December

5 = PETR CECH (Arsenal)
PL appearances this season: 30
PL clean sheets: 10

Remaining PL fixtures:
1 April: v Stoke City H
8 April: v Southampton H
15 April: v Newcastle United A
22 April: v West Ham United H
29 April: v Manchester United A
5 May (TBC): v Burnley H
13 May: v Huddersfield Town A

5 = NICK POPE (Burnley)
PL appearances this season: 27
PL clean sheets: 10

Remaining PL fixtures:
31 March: v West Bromwich Albion A
7 April: v Watford A
14 April: v Leicester City H
19 April: v Chelsea H
22 April: v Stoke City A
28 April: v Brighton H
5 May (TBC): v Arsenal A
13 May: v Bournemouth H

Ten saves that made David world no.1Video

RECENT GOLDEN GLOVE WINNERS:
2016/17 - Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea - 16 clean sheets)
2015/16 - Petr Cech (Arsenal - 16)
2014/15 - Joe Hart (Manchester City - 14)
2013/14 - Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal - 16) and Petr Cech (Chelsea - 16)
2012/13 - Joe Hart (Manchester City - 18)

Edwin van der Sar makes a save during a United game in 2009.
De Gea is looking to follow in the footsteps of his United predecessor Edwin van der Sar, who won the Golden Glove in 2008/09

De Gea will be aiming for his 16th Premier League shut-out of this season when the Reds return to action following the international break, in Saturday's game against Swansea City at Old Trafford.