Manchester City are a side currently drenched in riches. From their free-scoring attackers and countless mercurial midfielders, to their shrewd combination of quick-footed full-backs and staunch centre-defenders – Guardiola is seemingly spoiled for choice at the Etihad this season.
One position in which the Citizens have struggled to fulfil in recent campaigns, however, must nonetheless arrive in the form of that ever present reliable force between the sticks; the much needed and often underappreciated goal-keeper.
I have never seen a GK with the passing ability of Ederson. His range and accuracy is amazing.
— AO (@AdinOsmanbasic) December 16, 2017
Joe Hart’s recent decline upon the international scene with England has coincided with Guardiola’s decision to cut him loose at the Etihad. Add in the 30-year-old’s surprise inability to assert himself at the London Stadium this season, and Hart’s top-flight future remains far from secure.
The subsequent arrival of Claudio Bravo at Manchester City hardly played out any better. Whilst the highly rated Chilean international seemingly served himself well at the Nou Camp, Bravo was no more exceptional than Hart when it came to keeping things tight at the back for City.
To think it was just a six months ago that Stones was a mockery, Otamendi a shaky center back, Sterling a flop, Walker a 50m right back that can’t cross, and Ederson the most expensive goalkeeper no one knew about. Who would’ve thought that coaching works ?
— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) December 15, 2017
But now, after securing the £35 million transfer of Brazil’s Ederson at the Etihad last summer, Pep Guardiola seems to have finally addressed the ongoing keeper issue at Manchester City.
The 24-year-old shot-stopper had impressed many a surprised onlooker whilst plying his trade for Benfica in recent top-flight campaigns. Although he remained young and somewhat inexperienced on the surface, big things were nonetheless expected of Ederson among the Premier League.
Ederson has got a better passing range than some Premier League midfielders.
— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) December 16, 2017
In becoming the world’s most expensive ever keeper when signing for City in the summer, Ederson was actively embracing a great deal of pressure and intense scrutiny that would soon come his way.
Fans of the Portuguese top-flight immediately cast clouds of doubt over the Brazilian’s ability to make the grade in England. He was seen as something of a promising asset of course, just one that remained a little rough around the edges despite his growing potential.
Guardiola bombed Hart out as he wasn't good enough. Brought in Bravo, didn't perform, bombed him out too. Spent big on Ederson to fix the problem and it's paying off big time. Klopp could do with adopting that kind of ruthless policy.
— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) December 23, 2017
And at first, many among the English footballing community initially turned against the incoming shot-stopper. Ederson was portrayed as a brash and reckless individual, someone who couldn’t be relied upon to fulfill the momentous task that Guardiola was expecting of him.
His decision-making when marauding out of his box was questioned in its entirety, as was his defensive leadership, positioning and all-round shot-stopping power in one-on-one situations. £35 million certainly seemed like something of a wasted venture.
Ederson is better than De Gea at everything except shot stopping.
— 13 Points Clear & Bristol City (@MendyMadness) December 24, 2017
Yet now, with Manchester City currently thirteen points clear at the top of the table, few have seemingly found a bad word to say about Ederson. The Brazilian has been improving on a week-to-week basis, throwing in a few world class saves for good measure whilst impressing us all with his wild distribution skills.
Manchester City look a far better team with the 24-year-old on board. He is capable of playing possession calmly out from the back with his defenders, something Guardiola likes to see from his first-choice keepers, and isn’t scared to put his body on the line when the going gets tough out there.
He has effectively stopped the rot at the back for City this season, for whilst Guardiola’s back-line also warrant their fair share of credit, much of this recent defensive transformation has arguably come as a direct result of Ederson’s newfound presence.
Ederson is world class. Don’t care what anyone else thinks.
— Jake (@Everything_City) December 13, 2017
Perhaps the 24-year-old is just a few tweaks shy of representing an out-in-out world class goal-keeper. He needs to be more dependable when rushing out of his box as already mentioned, but aside from that, the Brazilian is well on course to continue taking the Premier League by storm.
Is it only a matter of time before he makes one mistake too many and loses the faith of his manager and the fans? Maybe…but for now at least, Ederson seemingly represents one of the most highly rated goal-keepers across the English top-flight. For that, both he and his employers deserve a great deal of acknowledgment.