Neil Humphreys: Man United goalkeeper David de Gea’s legs have gone
Manchester United goalkeeper's slowing reflexes have shattered confidence
In the rush to prove that David de Gea is no longer the right goalkeeper for Manchester United, there is too much emphasis on the wrong goal.
The clownish howler is always the easy one to pick out.
When de Gea inexplicably allowed Mason Mount's tame effort to creep through his crumpled body, the criticism was immediate and visceral.
But Chelsea's other two goals maybe said more about the Spaniard's sad decline, as they highlighted the demise of his greatest asset.
De Gea's legs have gone.
One of football's oldest cliches has never been more relevant and literal in the case of United's beleaguered goalkeeper.
In his prime, de Gea became the world's greatest in the only position that allows the use of one's hands by dominating with legs and feet.
Just search "de Gea" and "leg saves" to find YouTube montages that demonstrate how the supple Spaniard made the most of his bendy limbs to become the best shotstopper below the waist.
Two years ago, United's YouTube channel produced 10 of the best "Dave Saves". Three were made with his feet.
An independent YouTube compilation of his twinkle toes in action highlight stunning leg stops against Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Chelsea over the years.
Standout saves from Sergio Aguero and Didier Drogba practically defy the dexterity of human anatomy.
If a devoted United supporter conjured an image of de Gea in action, it might well be a snapshot of the custodian spread-eagled, legs split across the pitch, his groin against the turf and his ankles in different postcodes.
How much nicks, deflections and parries found a big toe or a protruding stud to spin the ball away from goal? And not one of them was a fluke.
Traditionally, the idea of a goalkeeper making saves with his feet seemed almost scruffy and desperate, the kind of uncoordinated flapping typically associated with park football.
But de Gea maximised, stretched and utilised every body part, making the most of his slender frame and average height (for a goalkeeper) to get down to areas that were beyond other shotstoppers.
With his legs apart, he was able to shift his weight faster to make lightning-quick, reflex saves from either foot at close range. His fast, feet-first style also allowed him to stay near his goal-line.
Being a smaller goalie, de Gea doesn't typically come charging out to meet crosses. He prefers to pull back and wait, confident in his ability to make those remarkable, close-range saves.
But he appears to have lost that confidence. And he no longer makes those close-range saves with the same consistency and authority.
He didn't make them in the FA Cup semi-final. The first and third goals were not obvious cock-ups like the second. But they were near-post efforts that had previously built de Gea's career.
Former United player Phil Neville made the most incisive point when he insisted that a younger de Gea would've saved all three of Chelsea's goals.
While others fixated on the Mount error, Neville quietly hinted at a deeper truth.
All goalkeepers drop the odd clanger, but only de Gea made those stretchy, cat-like leg blocks on his goal-line regularly. He doesn't make them as much any more.
Last month, Opta reported that de Gea had made seven errors leading to a goal in the English Premier League - the joint-highest (his save percentage is down, too).
How did United's three-time Players' Player of the Year become the brittle goalkeeper who made unforced errors against Watford, Everton, Tottenham, Bournemouth and now Chelsea?
Ever since Cristiano Ronaldo's routine strike squirmed out of de Gea's hands in Spain and Portugal's 3-3 draw at Russia 2018, the goalkeeper's aura of invincibility has slowly dissipated.
United's interminable transitional period would arguably mess with any goalkeeper's head. There may also be an element of complacency after de Gea effectively became the Gareth Bale of Old Trafford.
Past glories earned him the most lucrative goalkeeping contract in the world. His £375,000 (S$659,000) per week deal gives him unrivalled job security.
No other club will pay those wages and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can't leave that much money on the bench.
Or, more plausibly, age simply caught up with those miraculous reflexes. Being 29 isn't old in goalkeeper years, but it's ancient for a cat.
De Gea's close-range game depends on those nifty, feline-like feet to reach the parts that other goalkeepers cannot reach.
As the Wembley debacle sadly proved, the quickest cat of his generation can't quite reach those sweet spots any more either.
And if de Gea has lost that inch, then he has lost his edge for United.