Newcastle’s Nick Pope closes in on Edwin van der Sar’s amazing record

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

Newcastle had kept six clean sheets by this point. That number now stands at 16 and Pope has not conceded a single goal in his last 10 games in all competitions.

After that win in Southampton, Newcastle beat Crystal Palace on penalties in the Carabao Cup and then swept away their World Cup with a 1-0 win over Chelsea.

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

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

Since domestic football resumed, they have picked up where they left off, cementing their place in the top four and working their way up to one game of the Carabao Cup final after beating Southampton 1-0 in the first leg of their semi-final on Tuesday had won.

It seems fitting that Pope produced one of his best performances of the season given that he recently conceded a goal.

In November, a brief loss of concentration in defense allowed Southampton to pull one back, but Pope had no intention of leaving the South Coast clean sheet this time.

Newcastle largely controlled the competition but Southampton had a 15-minute streak in the second half where they mounted the pressure in a quest for an opening goal. Pope stood firm.

When Che Adams rushed on goal, he stayed tall and parried with his foot outstretched. Nathan Jones’ men looked dangerous from set pieces from James Ward-Prowse but Pope was there when needed. It was a truly commanding performance that full-time midfielder Bruno Guimaraes was happy to praise.

Pope has consistently excelled for Newcastle and kept them in the hunt for a top four result

Pope has consistently excelled for Newcastle and kept them in the hunt for a top four result

“I’d like to thank Nick Pope – he’s been brilliant for us. He’s the best goalkeeper in the world,” Guimaraes told Sky Sports as Pope accepted the Man of the Match award.

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

With Jordan Pickford injured, Pope received the gloves for England’s Nations League games against Italy and Germany.

The latter game is sure to bring back painful memories for the 30-year-old, who dropped the ball in a routine save against Serge Gnabry in the closing stages, allowing Kai Havertz to poke home to salvage a point for Germany.

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

Pope made a disappointing mistake for England in September but responded brilliantly

Pope made a disappointing mistake for England in September but responded brilliantly

Burnley’s £12million summer signing has proven to be worth every penny.

He’s been used a number of times against Southampton and has proven himself every time, but there have been other games where he’s hardly been used.

In Newcastle’s recent away games at Arsenal and Palace, the Magpies defended well and limited their opponents to just one big chance. Here Pope has shown his value, staying on to fend off Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah with a sharp stop to his left, then reaching into the top corner to ward off Jean Philippe-Mateta’s fierce attack at Selhurst Park.

Pope has shown remarkable consistency over a period of time and is now on the sidelines of history.

Edwin van der Sar kept 12 consecutive clean sheets in all competitions for Manchester United in the 2008/09 season. Pope is just two games away from level with the great Dutchman.

It seemed unlikely Van Der Sar’s record would ever be beaten and it has stood for 14 years, but Pope now has a real shot at surpassing it.

In Newcastle’s next game, they play Southampton again to secure their place in the Carabao Cup final.

Pope is just two games away from matching Edwin van der Sar's record clean sheet record

Pope is just two games away from matching Edwin van der Sar’s record clean sheet record

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

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

Pope leads their charge to a top-four finish and has more than fulfilled his role in their cup run.

Van Der Sar’s record run saw United win silverware under Sir Alex Ferguson as they won their 11th Premier League title.

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

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11675391/Newcastles-Nick-Pope-closing-Edwin-van-der-Sars-astonishing-record.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Newcastle’s Nick Pope closes in on Edwin van der Sar’s amazing record

Maureen Mackey

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