Before Manchester City – Real Madrid: Ederson, really a reference?

You can be a star, a reference, one of the best in your position according to many observers and… leave some doubts about your passage. Take the example of Ederson. The Brazilian Manchester City goalkeeper has established himself over the seasons as one of the major players in the Premier League as the tattooed City player is helping to revolutionize the goalkeeper position. But there is a small problem: by dint of going so far in the revolution, it can give the impression of forgetting the basics. And not to be unanimous.

Ball quality and numbers that speak for themselves

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Ederson has a rare style. Unique, even. His kicking game is marvelous for a keeper. Between his ability to clear the ball on the other side of the field to bring a goal opportunity to his team and his ability to participate in the construction of his formation, the Brazilian is a UFO, even in this period when the goalkeepers are more and more solicited to relaunch on the ground. His serenity when he has the ball at his feet, illustrated by his crazy action against Liverpool during the clash at the Etihad after a back pass from Kyle Walker, is a key asset. “He is crazy, summarized Pep Guardiola, his coach. From time to time, I tell myself that he doesn’t feel anything. He concedes a goal, he is calm. He stops, he is calm. Having such a zen goalkeeper is fantastic“.

The statistics also plead for him. With 18 clean sheets this season in the Premier League and 21 small goals conceded in 33 matches, Ederson, whose idol is Rogerio Ceni – the legendary Sao Paulo goalkeeper with 132 career goals -, is at the head of the best defense in the Kingdom. He has also still not conceded a single goal in the Champions League since the start of the knockout matches (in the 8th against Sporting and in the quarter against Atlético). But for its detractors, to stop at all this boils down to going a little too quickly. Ederson’s grievance? His lack of decisive saves and impact in the big posters.

Pep Guardiola and Ederson

Credit: Eurosport

Misleading statistics: he is little used and concedes more goals than expected

If Allison – his friend and rival from Liverpool – is for example regularly presented as almost impassable on his line, Ederson does not necessarily excel in this area. A concrete example ? In mid-April, a statistical study by BetVictor seeking to show who was the most difficult goalkeeper in the Premier League to score against ranked City’s last bulwark only in ninth place.

The reason ? Little exposed since Manchester City became a defending machine that offers very few opportunities to his opponents, Ederson concedes more goals than expected (-1.4 according to the PSxG ratio, or “post shot expected goals”) , far from David de Gea (+7), Edouard Mendy (1) and Alisson (3.6). And his goal conceded on Saturday against Watford (5-1) only brings grist to the mills of those who find him more limited than other great goalkeepers. “Due to City’s dominance, he’s not in much demand. For example, Allison has made more saves in the past two months than Ederson has had to make. (during the rest of the season)”, noted on Yahoo in mid-April David James, the former English goalkeeper.

Ederson

Credit: Getty Images

Above all, the goalkeeper must not become more outfield player than goalkeeper

So, too crumbly on his line? Not good enough on his fundamentals as a goalkeeper when he excels like no other in kicking? Ederson, who has 72.9% saves in the league (75% for Allison, 75.3% for Mendy), does he illustrate a drift from the position? “Above all, the goalkeeper must not become more outfield player than goalkeeperwarns Christophe Revel, LOSC goalkeeper coach. This is the risk to be avoided. Ederson at City: his game is frankly exceptional. But if you look at his last two or three major European appearances, he hasn’t been a great keeper. Unlike Keylor Navas who does not have an exceptional kicking game but who was otherwise exceptional“.

This observation may raise questions about his real place among the best goalkeepers in the world. These next few weeks, between the Champions League and the fierce race for the crown in the Kingdom with Liverpool, will in any case give Ederson new opportunities to silence the critics. Or not, for that matter. In the meantime, he remains the suitable profile for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, who did not seek him out by chance and does not regret it. Even if it’s not a reference on his line.

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