Newcastle's Pope closing in on Van Der Sar's astonishing record

Nick Pope has kept TEN consecutive clean sheets having not conceded a goal in almost THREE MONTHS… the Newcastle goalkeeper is leading his side’s push for a top-four finish, and is now just two games away from Edwin van der Sar’s astonishing record

  • Newcastle’s Nick Pope has not conceded a goal in any of his last 10 appearances
  • Edwin van der Sar went 12 games without conceding a goal back in 2008-09 
  • Pope has been a rock for Newcastle, and is closing in on making history 

When Southampton scored an 89th-minute consolation goal against Newcastle at St Mary’s on November 6, Nick Pope could not hide his disappointment. There was no danger of the Saints getting back into the game, but his clean sheet had gone.

Newcastle had kept six clean sheets at that point. That figure now stands at 16, and Pope has not conceded a single goal in his last 10 appearances across all competitions.

Following that win at Southampton, Newcastle edged past Crystal Palace on penalties in the Carabao Cup, and then signed off for the World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Chelsea.

Nick Pope kept a clean sheet against Southampton on Tuesday and has now not conceded a goal in any of his last 10 appearances in all competitions

Since domestic football resumed, they have continued where they left off, cementing their place in the top four and moving to within a game of the Carabao Cup final after winning the first leg of their semi-final against Southampton 1-0 on Tuesday.

It seems fitting that Pope produced one of his best performances of the campaign at the ground that he last conceded a goal.

Back in November, a brief lapse in concentration in defence allowed Southampton to pull one back, but Pope had no intention of leaving the south coast without a clean sheet this time around.

Newcastle largely controlled the contest, but Southampton had a 15-minute spell in the second half where they piled the pressure on in search of an opening goal. Pope stood firm.

When Che Adams raced through on goal, he stayed big and made the save with his outstretched foot. Nathan Jones’s men looked dangerous from James Ward-Prowse’s set-pieces, but Pope was there when needed, getting down low to pull off another save, and coming to claim high balls to give his team-mates a breather. It was a truly commanding display, and one that midfielder Bruno Guimaraes was keen to praise at full-time.

Pope has consistently excelled for Newcastle, keeping them in the hunt for a top-four finish

‘I’d like to say thank you to Nick Pope – he has been brilliant for us. He is the best goalkeeper in the world,’ Guimaraes told Sky Sports as Pope picked up the man of the match award.

Pope’s form in recent months has been even more impressive following the setback he suffered on international duty with England in September.

With Jordan Pickford injured, Pope was handed the gloves for England’s Nations League matches against Italy and Germany.

The latter fixture is bound to bring back painful memories for the 30-year-old who dropped the ball when making a routine save from Serge Gnabry in the closing stages, allowing Kai Havertz to poke home to rescue a point for Germany. 

That error effectively ended his chances of ousting Pickford as England’s No 1 for the World Cup, and would have haunted some goalkeepers, but Pope has returned to club football stronger than ever.

Pope made a disappointing error for England in September, but has responded brilliantly

The £12m summer signing from Burnley has proved to be worth every penny.

Against Southampton, he was called into action on multiple occasions and stood up to the test every time, but there have been other matches where he has hardly been needed.

Newcastle’s recent away matches at Arsenal and Palace saw the Magpies defend well, limiting their opponents to just one big chance. This is where Pope has shown his value, remaining switched on to deny Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah with a sharp stop down to his left, and then reaching up into the top corner to keep out Jean Philippe-Mateta’s fierce drive at Selhurst Park. 

Pope has shown remarkable consistency over a sustained period of time, and he is now on the brink of history.

Back in the 2008-09 season, Edwin van der Sar kept 12 successive clean sheets in all competitions for Manchester United. Pope is just two matches away from drawing level with the great Dutchman.

Van Der Sar’s record looked unlikely to ever be beaten, and has stood for 14 years, but Pope now has a genuine chance of going past it.

Newcastle’s next match sees them play Southampton once more as they look to book their place in the Carabao Cup final.

Pope is just two games away from equalling Edwin van der Sar’s record number of clean sheets

They then host a struggling West Ham side in their next league outing, before travelling to 18th-placed Bournemouth the following week. Should Pope keep these three opponents out, he would overtake Van Der Sar and set his own record.

Hopes were high for Newcastle heading into the season after the club spent big in the summer, but they are already exceeding all expectations, and have Champions League qualification in their own hands.

Pope is leading their charge for a top-four finish, and has more than played his part in their cup run.

Van Der Sar’s record-breaking run led to United picking up silverware as they won their 11th Premier League title under Sir Alex Ferguson.

With Pope in between the sticks, and proving almost impossible to beat at the moment, Newcastle fans have every reason to believe that a trophy could be on its way to St James’ Park soon.

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