Pep Guardiola Finally Has A Top-Class Sweeper Keeper At Manchester City

When Pep Guardiola took over the reigns at Manchester City, he was ruthless with his assessment of his new club’s long-term number one.

Joe Hart had established himself as England’s shot stopper as well as City’s and the keeper had won two Premier League titles with the Sky Blues. Pep came in and stated that Joe wasn’t good enough with the ball at his feet and there was no time to educate him.

Hart was sent out on loan, first to Torino and now he’s at West Ham United this term.

City splashed out around £17m to bring in Claudio Bravo from FC Barcelona. The Chilean was meant to be the missing piece of the footballing jigsaw.

Pep likes his keepers to be involved with the passing style that his teams play with, rather than just save shots and punt clearances up field or into the stands.

Bravo is very clean and smart with the ball at his feet but unfortunately for Claudio and Pep the goalie wasn’t physically strong enough for the rigours of the Premier League. The veteran would make too many mistakes in his debut season, he couldn’t influence his defensive line and struggled with high balls into his box.

The Chilean’s erratic performances often provided opposition fans with much merriment, while City fans would sometimes have to watch him through their fingers.

Man City conceded more than Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur and that’s why they finished in third place last term.

Pep was once again ruthless in his thinking and decision making. Yes Claudio Bravo had cost him a lot of money but he was found wanting and the City manager felt he couldn’t wait and see if things would be different this term.

That meant that City would open up their cheque book again and this time they parted with £35m to bring in Benfica goalie Ederson.

Eye-brows were raised considering the Brazilian had only achieved one full season as a number one with the Águias. Though in that season Ederson helped his side claim the Portuguese league title and they only conceded eighteen times, losing just two top flight games.

At twenty-four years of age, Ederson is at an age where he can still learn and adapt his style to suit Pep Guardiola’s needs. Pep loves to bring in young players and make them better, just look at what he’s done with Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane during this campaign.

Even with an unsettled defence playing in front of him, mainly due to injuries, Ederson has looked strong in between the sticks and a reliable number one.

The 6ft 4inch star is always quick off the blocks to mop up any danger. having him do that has allowed the Citizens defence to push further up field and give the side a high line.

So far this season, City have only conceded seven times in the league and only Manchester United (who have a great goalkeeper in David de Gea) have a better record. Ederson has started in all of those games, as well as the four fixtures in the Champions League, and kept nine clean-sheets in total.

The keeper has a passing success average of 83.6% and that is better than any other goalie in England’s top flight. He also averages a clearance a game too. His distribution is quick as well as accurate, which gets City back on the front foot just as Pep likes it.

The young goalkeeper is quick off of his line as he is intelligent enough to read the game and snuff out any danger.

He has also shown us that he’s brave enough to go all out to win the ball. Against Liverpool earlier in the season he raced Sadio Mane for the ball, the keeper won the race but received Mane’s boot in his face for his troubles. Ederson had the battle scars as he slumped off the field but Sadio received a straight red and City won the game with a clean-sheet to their name.

Against Leicester City on Saturday, Ederson once again rushed out his goal as Demarai Gray raced towards the box. It was a timely interception as John Stones pulled up with a hamstring injury during the foot race with Gray.

The goalkeeper also prevented the Foxes from equalising with a well timed punch and straight after that moment Kevin De Bruyne gave Man City a two-nil lead!

Unlike Bravo, Ederson instils confidence to those that play ahead of him in defence and that has the fans in a happier mood too. The Brazilian is also more comfortable with the physical game that you get in England and he has a better command of his penalty area.

Fellow Brazilian international goalkeeper Julio Cesar was full of praising when discussing Ederson recently:

“He’s already a complete goalkeeper who is really strong coming off his line. People enjoy watching him.”

If Ederson can continue with these excellent displays at the Etihad, then he’ll not only justify his big price tag but he will also become yet another world-class goalkeeper to shine under Pep Guardiola!

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