Ederson redefining the goalkeeping landscape at Manchester City
Background Photo: Invincible, CC-BY-SA-3.0
As expected by many, Manchester City's Premier League dominance is continuing this season. Different Citizens players are standing up to be counted, as last campaign's top performers such as Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane have had a limited role so far. Some others, though, have been a constant influence on the team. None more so than goalkeeper Ederson Moraes.
The Brazilian's performance last season set him apart as one of the world's best keepers. His calming influence is second to none. He enables Man City to build up play from the back and dominate the ball, thereby limiting the opposition to a counter-attacking tactic.
When Pep Guardiola discarded Joe Hart after taking over at City in 2016, it seemed the Catalan coach was being too demanding. Hart had been the Citizens' number one for close to a decade. He was part of their most successful era until then. Unperturbed, Guardiola brought in Claudio Bravo from Barcelona. The Chilean soon proved unsatisfactory, however.
Forced to try again, Guardiola hit the jackpot with Ederson. The Brazil international, who had enjoyed a fruitful two years at Benfica in which he won four major trophies, was snapped up 17 months ago for what now looks like a bargain £35 million.
Ederson is the full package. He not only carries out his shot-stopping responsibilities to Guardiola's satisfaction but is also blessed with superb ball-playing skills which contribute excellently to City's build-up.
Ederson was a major factor in Man City dominating English opposition last campaign, strolling to the Premier League title. With the competition even stronger this time around, he and his teammates have found another level as well.
City lost only two league matches throughout 2017/18 - Liverpool at Anfield and at home to Manchester United. Having played against both opponents in the same grounds this season, they have picked up four out of the six points available.
Remarkably, Ederson kept a clean sheet six weeks ago at Anfield, a venue where he conceded seven times in just two games last season. As the race for the Golden Glove is going on simultaneously with that for the Premier League title, he has so far distinguished himself with outstanding contributions to Man City. Together with his countryman Alisson Becker, the 25-year-old currently leads the division's top goalkeeper standings with seven clean sheets in 12 games.
The Citizens excel in most areas. They have goalscorers spread across the frontline. In defence, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are among the top centre-backs in England. Further forward, the David and Bernardo Silva combination is backed by Fernandinho, who acts as a shield for the back four, mopping up balls that slip through the more attacking midfielders.
When all else fails, Ederson is City's last line of defence. Not only shutting out the opposition, but his passing is exceptionally accurate, helping to immediately turn deep possession into attack. Such intelligent launching of the ball has enabled him to record an assist this campaign.
Ederson is the Premier League's top keeper when it comes to having the ball at feet, giving Man City an advantage over their title rivals. A passing accuracy of 82.7% means he's one of the division's best at distribution, too. His compatriot and Liverpool's number one, Alisson averages 79.4% passing accuracy. Man United's David de Gea, meanwhile, is way behind on 54.8%.
Ederson currently plays second fiddle to Alisson in the Brazilian national team. However, that will likely change should City go on to replicate last season's heroics with him playing a key role.
Whatever happens, Ederson is blazing a trail in the goalkeeping position, one which others will do well to copy.