Opta: Carroll v Van der Sar

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Manchester United's proposed signing of Edwin van der Sar has raised eyebrows in some quarters but gives Sir Alex Ferguson's side some much-needed stability in goal.

Last season saw Ferguson chop and change between Roy Carroll and Tim Howard, at times seeming willing to bring the axe down whenever one of his keepers made a glaring error.

Howard has signed fresh terms at Old Trafford but his manager has hinted that the American may need time to prove himself as the club's number one.

With Roy Carroll released after failing to agree a new contract, Fulham veteran van der Sar is being introduced to act between the sticks next season as United look to bounce back from a trophyless season.

Comparing the Dutchman to Carroll last season shows that the Northern Ireland man kept more clean sheets and had a superior minutes per goal conceded record. These statistics are predictable due to United's higher standing in the table and relatively miserly defensive work.

A little surprisingly, Carroll also enjoyed a better save-to-shot ratio (some 14 points higher than van der Sar) and the duo had the same percentage for their catch success rate.

Van der Sar was also guilty of dropping three catches compared to Carroll's one - the high-profile clanger in the goalless draw against Tottenham.

Of course, another of Carroll's mistakes was the costly slip in the UEFA Champions League defeat to Milan, but these records only concern The Premiership.

It will be interesting to view van der Sar's statistics at Manchester United once he dons the jersey that has not truly been filled convincingly since Peter Schmeichel's retirement.

Premiership 2004/05Roy CarrollEdwin Van der Sar
TeamManchester UnitedFulham
Minutes On Pitch23402987
Goals Conceded1653
Minutes per Goal Conceded14656
Clean Sheets157
Saves from Inside Box2963
Saves from Outside Box2731
Saves to Shots ratio78%64%
Dropped Catches13
Catch Success Rate %95%95%