Men's Team

Given: Ederson is Pep's perfect goal-keeper

TAKING CHARGE: Ederson takes stance for City
Shay Given says Ederson is Pep Guardiola’s perfect goalkeeper.

The Brazilian joined City from Benfica in the summer and has been widely praised for his performances during the Blues’ remarkable unbeaten start.

He’s kept 10 clean sheets in 19 appearances, helping establish new-found solidity in City’s backline. 

And Given, who made 69 appearances for City between 2008-11, believes he has match-winning capabilities and an all-round game that’s ideal for Guardiola’s brand of football.

“I’m very impressed with his goalkeeping and it’s highly documented how good he is with his feet,” Given said. 

“It’s not just that, he also brings a calmness and a composure to the back and that’s exactly what Pep wanted in a goalkeeper.

“He makes big saves, too. The one that stands out for me is the Napoli one. It was 2-2 and he made a massive save.

“Had they gone ahead, they probably would have shut up shop but a few minutes later Aguero goes and gets that record goal.

“The headlines the next day were all about Aguero - and rightly so given his record - but that save was huge and sometimes big saves like that go unnoticed.

“They’re the moments that make a difference come the end of the season. There’ll be big moments in the Premier League, too, where he has to make the big saves and he’s got all the attributes to do that.”

Ederson’s passing ability has brought a new dynamic to City’s play.

He often invited forwards towards, creating space in behind that he can then exploit, both with short passes to his defenders or his incredible long ball over the top.

It’s a high-risk strategy that can often leave spectators with frayed nerves – but Given believes it creates all sorts of problems for opposition sides.

“It can be a weapon,” he said. “Obviously, City want to play out from the back and the opposition then have to press high – but City have always got that weapon that he can knock it over the top, so teams don’t know whether to press high and drop off.

“It’s clinical. He’s so precise.

“You can be good with your feet but you have to have coolness on the ball and composure, which he has.

“There’s often strikers two or three yards away and you see other goalkeepers panic and kick it into the stands but he doesn’t.

“To be fair to his teammates, they’re always looking to give him options as well but he’s still got to make the right decision and sometimes the fans watching can be a little bit nervy but he’s got it all under control and makes everything look so easy.”

City are currently eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table and already into the Champions League last 16 thanks to a 100 per cent group-stage record.

Guardiola’s side have won 19-consecutive matches and are unbeaten since April. 

Given says all the signs are there to suggest they will be in the mix for silverware come the end of the season.

The brand of football is so exciting,” he said.

“I’ve just been talking to the fans and one woman said, ‘I’ve been a season ticket holder for 40 years and this is the best team I’ve seen play’.

“This year, they’ve tightened up at the back with the signing of Kyle Walker and [Fabian] Delph deserves a mention, too. I was at Aston Villa with Delphy and he’s doing great. 

“So not only are they scoring lots of goals, they’re keeping clean sheets. That bodes well.”

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