Men's Team

Champions in focus: Zack Steffen

The second instalment of our new series documents Zack Steffen’s contribution to our success during the 2021/22 campaign.

Pep Guardiola’s men clinched a fourth Premier League title in five seasons with a dramatic final day victory over Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium.

With City trailing 2-0 heading into the final 15 minutes, a goal for Liverpool in their clash at Wolves would have seen the Reds pip us to the post in heart-breaking fashion.

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However, an incredible three goals in five minutes at the Etihad turned the game on its head, with a clinical Rodrigo finish and Ilkay Gundogan brace sending the City faithful into raptures.

Although our last gasp victory over the Villans proved decisive, it was the contributions of the entire squad across the campaign which made it possible for us to retain the Premier League crown.

With this in mind, we will be shining a spotlight on each member of the group in our Champions in focus series, with Steffen the latest to be put under the microscope.

Season stats

Total appearances: Nine
Total clean sheets: Two

Season’s Highlight

Steffen made a fine save at an important moment in the match to help City on our way to three points against Burnley in October 2021.

Pep Guardiola’s men had battled our way to a one-goal lead to a stubborn Clarets side, but a fine through ball from Dwight McNeil released Maxwell Cornet as half-time approached.

The forward raced in on goal, shrugging off the attentions of the rapidly retreating Joao Cancelo and looked destined to draw his side level at the Etihad Stadium.

But Steffen was alert to the danger, coming off his line to make a crucial block and preserve the clean sheet.

It’s often said that the best goalkeepers step up to the plate when they have otherwise experienced a quiet afternoon , and the American demonstrated that point perfectly to help claim the three points.

Overview

Waiting patiently for an opportunity, and then stepping up to the plate when it is afforded to you, is far from an easy task for any goalkeeper.

But Steffen has established himself as a reliable alternative to first choice stopper Ederson, particularly in the cup competitions.

An important save against Burnley aside, the American once again demonstrated his value to the team with a fine stop in an FA Cup quarter-final against Southampton.

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Once again, City were one goal ahead when Che Adams took aim from close-range at St. Mary’s Stadium, but the 27-year-old pulled off a fine reaction save to thwart the forward.

City went on to win both that match and the one against Burnley at a canter but, without the American’s important contributions, both could have had a very different outcome.

What they said

“The last games he played in FA Cup and CC against Wycombe and today he’s growing incredibly fast and well as a keeper, working alongside Mancisidor and Richard Wright.

“It isn’t a guarantee, (but) he’s a much better keeper than when he arrived because we have maybe the best goalkeeper trainer in the world and we have incredible confidence with him.

“In the moments he has to save it, he saves it. I’m very happy and delighted with what he’s done.”

Pep Guardiola speaking to the press following City’s 2-0 win over Burnley in October 2021.

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